If you feel that your life purpose lies in helping people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), autism life coaching can be your golden ticket to this career. Working with clients with unique needs and their families demands a particular skill set and ASD proficiency, and an autism life coach certification program is the best way to develop your skills.
To save you the trouble of tiring research, we have picked out the best programs in this field and included an overview of what they offer.
- Training, Education, and Resource Institute (TERI) – Best Overall
- Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) – Best for Intensive Training
- Creative, Resourceful, and Whole (CReW) – Best for Neurodiversity Family Coach Training
Table of Contents
What Is an Autism Life Coach?
Autism life coaching is a life coaching niche that specializes in working with clients with autism to help them and their families manage the social, educational, and economic challenges they face. The goal of autism life coaching is to provide support and guidance to clients with the purpose of creating a more fulfilled and independent life.
Clients can be children, adolescents, and adults with autism, as well as their family members. The sessions can be one-on-one or with the whole family. Coaches help with identifying goals, emotional difficulties, skills development, tackling behavior issues, preparing an action plan, and more.
Difference Between Autism Coach, Therapist, and Counselor
Therapists and counselors focus on the past and present, while coaches focus on the present to improve the future. Coaches encourage clients to self-reflect, set goals, develop skills, and create plans to achieve them, with a practical emphasis on improving quality of life. Unlike therapists, coaches do not address mental conditions or trauma.
There are similarities among these roles as well. Therapists, counselors, and coaches all use psychological principles and work one-on-one with clients in ongoing relationships. Clients often begin with therapy and progress to coaching after the healing has begun.
How To Become an Autism Life Coach
While therapists and counselors working in the field of neurodiversity need a degree in a relevant field, to become a special needs life coach or autism life coach, you need to obtain a certification. Background knowledge or educational experience in psychology or a similar field can be beneficial, but it is not required.
Through the certification program, you will gain a deep understanding of neurodiversity and how to work with clients with autism and their families. You will also get equipped with proven tools and techniques for autism coaching.
Besides the special needs coaching proficiency, certification will give you credibility and ensure the safety of your neurodivergent clients.
An autism coach should also embody certain traits, such as:
- Communication skills
- Active listening
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Autism Life Coach Training Program
Enrolling in a certification program is an important decision. Ensure that you make the right choice that’s tailored to your goals by considering the courses’ cost, duration, and accreditation.
The fee for an autism life coach certification is typically a couple of thousand dollars. These programs are comprehensive and have a big responsibility to prepare you for this challenging career which explains the higher cost.
One of the difficulties when searching for a program is finding the one that will suit your availability and your coaching goals. There are intensive courses that will prepare you within a few days and those that last for weeks. Self-paced courses can be a good match for coaches who need maximum flexibility.
Coaching certification programs don’t need to be accredited, but with accredited certification comes more recognition. If you want accreditation, the most recognized accrediting entity is the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
Best Autism Coaching Certifications
Top Pick: Training, Education, and Resource Institute (TERI)
Special Needs Life Quality Coach Course is the first specialization program in this industry designed to train individuals who want to become special needs life coaches. The hours are flexible, which works perfectly for working professionals. We also like that the training is experiential, so you will get the support and tools to dive into private practice right after you complete the course.
They will prepare you to work with families and individuals and provide them with the resources and encouragement for improving their quality of life. You will learn to identify goals, set objectives, monitor action plans, and offer support. The program will cover working with families of both children and adults on the spectrum.
A part of the course will also lead you into the business aspect of coaching. They’ll teach you about starting a business, advertising, choosing the best location, and much more.
- Course Length: 16 weeks
- Program Cost: $3,499
- Accreditation: None
- Mode of Delivery: Online
Intensive Training Option: Asperger/Autism Network (AANE)
Intensive Autism Coach Training by AANE is a fast-paced course that sets you up with knowledge and resources for autism life coaching within 4 days. However, the course is accompanied by 2 years of clinical support and complimentary membership in the Autism Professional Coaching Association (APCA), so you’ll get plenty of practice. This program is for coaches who want to work with older teens and adults with Asperger/autism.
The training is composed of lessons, workshops, case studies, and hands-on activities. You will get the latest insight into Asperger’s/autism and similar profiles, learn how to evaluate an individual’s strengths and challenges, employ innovative coaching techniques, and gain coaching skills.
The 2-year consultation and support consists of monthly clinical hour sessions, skill-building workshops, individual phone consultations with experienced instructors, and inclusion in an online coaching Google group.
- Course Length: 4 days
- Program Cost: $3,500
- Accreditation: Autism Professional Coaching Association (APCA)
- Mode of Delivery: In-person, once a year (AANE, Watertown, MA)
Neurodiversity Family Coach Option: Creative, Resourceful, and Whole (CReW)
CReW’s Neurodiversity Family Coach Training is a coach-specific course accredited by ICF. It focuses on the best neurodiversity coaching practices and helps you develop coaching competencies. The course envelops the whole neurodevelopmental (ND) lifecycle from early childhood to adolescence to adulthood and aging.
You’ll work on establishing a coaching mindset, cultivating safety, active listening, and facilitating client growth. The neurodiversity content is regularly updated to stay on top of the latest research. It delves into the needs of newly-diagnosed families, managing strong emotions and ND trauma, transition planning for youth, the ND employment experience, and more.
- Course Length: Self-paced
- Program Cost: $2,300
- Accreditation: ICF
- Mode of Delivery: Online
In addition to a specialty in autism coaching, other life coaching niches like happiness coaching and relationship coaching can help you in your work with autistic individuals and their families. Therefore, if you want further professional development, you can consider life coaching certification programs.
For exploring life coaching training, our recommendations are Transformation Academy and Coach Training Alliance. They offer numerous coaching courses, and their prices are for everyone’s budget (with our link, you’ll even get 80% off on TA courses). Find out why we chose these two programs over many others in our in-depth TA review and CTA review
- How much does an autism life coach make?
The average autism life coach’s salary ranges between $65,000 and $85,000 a year, according to SimplyHired.
- Do you need a certification to be an autism life coach?
Yes, you need a certification to become an autism life coach, as this type of coaching demands specific knowledge and psychological insight to assist people on the spectrum and their families.
- How much does an autism life coach certification cost?
The general cost of an autism life coach certification is around $3,000.
- Does accreditation matter in an autism life coach certification program?
Accreditation matters if you want to boost recognition; however, non-accredited certification can be just as comprehensive and valuable.
- What is the most recognized coaching certification?
Staying on top of all programs can be difficult, so clients and coaches can’t be familiar with all of the autism coaching certifications. The best way to gain recognition is to enroll in an accredited program since institutions such as ICF are well-known in the coaching industry.
Autism coaching is a growing field, and there are not enough quality coaches to fulfill the gap. If you decide to go in this direction, you can develop a thriving career that is also incredibly rewarding.
If you have the desire, the only thing missing is the right certification program. We hope that our list will help you check that box as well. For expanding your specialty and gaining more coaching skills, you can always turn to Transformation Academy and Coach Training Alliance.
Take the Certification QuizWant help choosing a coaching certification or training program? We created a short quiz to help you find the best program for you. Take the quiz to find out!
This article was written by the Life Coach Magazine staff. We cover everything from personal development, to coaching tips, to how to grow your coaching business.
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