About Laura

Laura Schreiner, LCPC, NCC
Laura has a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology (Benedictine University), is a Nationally Certified Licensed Professional Counselor, and holds certification in Neurodiverse Couples Therapy with the Asperger/Autism Network (AANE).

Her additional Certifications include:

  • (Couples Therapy) The Gottman Method Level 1 Clinical Training
  • (Hypnosis Therapy) Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT) Level 2
  • Advanced Master Program on the Treatment of Trauma
  • Advanced Nutritional and Integrative Medicine for Mental Health Professionals.

Due to Illinois Professional Licensing laws, Laura is limited to counseling those who reside in Illinois.  If you do not reside in Illinois, please continue your search for a licensed mental health professional in your state/country who does specialize in neurodiverse adult relationships.  Additionally, specifically trained  (non-licensed or inactive licensed) “coaches and/or experts” with neurodiverse backgrounds can still be extremely helpful.  While they are limited in providing mental health and emotional healing components of traditional therapy, they may be qualified to teach couples and individuals skills and goal based guidance for this specialty which are useful components toward positive change.

Neurodiverse relationships are complex and unique

Reciprocal Communication is the lifeblood of EVERY relationship.

When things are going right, you feel:

  • Heard
  • Validated
  • Understood
  • Accepted
  • Loved

I improve outcomes for your quality of life.

I help couples get “un-stuck” from years of misinformation and miscommunication.

I support individuals in redefining their needs and identities while transcribing, translating, and teaching couples to tailor their communication skills to what works for them.

I work with all combinations of couples and individuals, diagnosed or not, who struggle with communication, intimacy, resentment, confusion, and their own brain wiring challenges that we uncover on the way.  Symptoms of anxiety and depression tend to accompany most neurodiverse issues.  You are not alone here!

Additionally, I facilitate a monthly online Neurotypical Women’s Educational Support group entitled “WAM: What About Me?”

The catch is that you need to be willing and ready to work.  I don’t fix or change people.  I don’t take sides, but I’ll empathize.  I work with you and your partner to create increased awareness of the self.  When you are aware of your thoughts, moods, personality traits, and how your body physically feels, you can then choose to work on your challenges and accentuate your strengths.  When you change your thoughts, you change where your energy is focused.  Apply your energy toward positive behavioral change and eventually you aren’t the same person anymore.  It’s an equation that can be solved.

Think about what could go right


I’ve been counseling since 2006.  The concept along with advocacy for neurodivergent adults was hardly on the radar for counselors, as autism in children and ADHD (primarily targeted toward young males) was on a continued trend into the early 2000’s.  For older individuals and couples, there was even less information about “what to do,” or “how to assess” autism or ADHD to even acknowledge how much neurodiversity affects our relationships and well-being.  Whether it’s Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), ADHD, sensory processing disorders, or the growing list of neurodivergent diagnoses, I hold credence to autism activist Steven Shore’s “If you’ve met one individual with autism, you’ve met one individual with autism.”  Same principle holds with all neurodivergent individuals.  The uniqueness and complexity of the brain and body connection is a never ending evolution, perhaps even a revolution.

Neurodiverse couples are complex territory in the world of counseling that well-intended therapists may have missed along the way.  I know this because I was one of those “well-intended therapists.”  To add to the complexity, neurodivergent individuals often suffer with co-morbidities such as anxiety, depression, and OCD, (among other struggles) which are issues I most frequently experience with my clients.

The person who’s not on the autism spectrum (termed Neurotypical) has equal work to do, sometimes more, depending on their history and health status.  Neurotypicals most often face the same issues as their partner:  anxiety, depression, and OCD, and PTSD. They frequently suffer from long term physical illnesses as a consequence of their body being in a stressed state for too long.  Loneliness, anger, low-confidence, and loss of identity are top on the list of problems experienced.

The few professionals who have training and skills in this specialty are better at recognizing and understanding differences, and aren’t in this niche to “fix” or blame either partner.  Instead, they strive to create common ground between a couple, their families, and those who matter most to them.  I serve as a gifted “bridge maker” between neurotypical and neurodivergent minds.

Brain wiring differences matter more than we realize!


      (non-autistic / typical neurological development / functioning)

“You’re not crazy!”

But you may be wondering:

Should I stay or should I go?

Why can’t my partner understand my needs?

Why doesn’t he/she accept that they are on the spectrum?  Will they ever admit it?

How can I try to make us work again?


      (you have traits on the Autism spectrum or another a-typical brain type, but may not be aware of it)

“You’re not “broken” or always wrong.”

But you may be wondering:

If I am on the Spectrum (or similar), what does that mean? Why is that such a big deal?

I don’t understand the what the problem is.

I have no clue how to start fixing this relationship.

I don’t want to change, I’m fine. Counseling isn’t for me.

My path toward Neurodiverse Counseling

My neurodiverse counseling specialty began on a personal level in 2017.

I learned that my husband of nearly 20 years was on the Autism spectrum.  I am considered neurotypical.  Many of my immediate family members are also neurodivergent, some diagnosed, some not.  I love them all, but it changed my perspective on absolutely everything about our life together.    “Wish we would have known this earlier” was the understatement that echoed this discovery.

As Maya Angelou said, “You do better when you know better.”

It was then that I furthered my education through the Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) to learn the nuances of neurodiverse couples, namely in communication and understanding brain wiring differences that science is well able to prove.  The result is that my personal life experiences combined with my 15+ years of clinical knowledge yields both creative and research-based solutions, customized to your specific issues.

I know “know better” and cannot “unsee” from a neurodiverse lens.  As I continue my personal journey, I remain equally as passionate professionally to assist others in their relationships because I live in my neurodiverse world 24/7.

Whom do I work with?

I predominately work with adult couples and individuals where one person is on the Autism spectrum, diagnosed or suspected.  Often, other combinations in couples present themselves, such as a spouse with ADHD, or when both partners learn they are neurodivergent.  Females on the spectrum often present differently than males, but the issues they contend with are similar to males on the spectrum in terms of how the world receives them.  Usually I work with one or both parties individually, and then together as a couple as needed.  I often work with individuals when their spouse is unwilling to attend counseling.    Gender and sexual identity in relationships matter not to me.   It is common for couples to have individual counselors or coaches to work with simultaneously,  for which I’m pleased to refer and consult with as needed for a true continuum of care.

To diagnose, or not to diagnose, that is the question....

Sometimes it’s therapeutic to receive a formal, clinical diagnosis, but other times it’s not direly or worthwhile.  That said, it’s important to remember that undiagnosed or misdiagnosed individuals can suffer unnecessarily as well.  Co-morbid (co-existing) mental health issues will also largely effect successful outcomes.  I do not perform formal spectrum diagnosis and testing, but I screen, assess, and educate on all topics related to neurodiverse co-existence,  and will tell you (and your partner) if you are NOT on the spectrum.  I am qualified to diagnose mental health disorders from the DSM if it is relevant to our work together. I will also serve as your compass for further resources as needed.

More Thoughts

“There is no standard brain.”   -Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D.

The world is more neurodiverse than we think, and we are slowly awakening toward one size doesn’t fit all, or most.   Understanding our brain wiring differences takes specific communication skills, time, and a mountain of energy.  It is possible.  Hope isn’t dead.  This unique journey you’re on cannot be compared to couples or individuals who are not in neurodiverse relationships.

Sometimes, sadly but for the better in the long run for some, neurodiverse relationships don’t workout.  I can take you through the decision process to “stay or go” as well.  There’s a difference process and path we take for discernment counseling, and I serve as your educated guide, on one or both sides of the relationship.

Have I mentioned children yet?  Many clients discover their own neurodivergent selves after their children receive a formal diagnosis. Sibling and parenting issues often arise as well.   Moreover, one of you may have had numerous “a-ha” moments gleaned from social media or TV shows featuring autistic individuals that made you think about your relationships.  Your intuition may have guided your research to confirm suspicions of your loved one being on the spectrum, but you may have continued doubts.  I work with families on occasion when neurodiversity needs introduction and as changes occur in the household.

Common Themes

Over time I’ve gathered a compilation of quotations from clients and the neurodiverse community.  I’ve amended them in order to shorten the massive list and scope of issues partners face to give you an idea of how partners in relationships feel and experience their perspective when living as a neurodiverse couple. I use the pronoun “he” in many examples but I’m aware and honor that neurodiverse relationships include both sexes and all gender identities. If any of this resonates with you, you are in the right place.

  1. I’ve been angry for years,  but also extremely lonely.
  2. I’ve done and tried everything to help us, he reverts to his old ways within a few days.  I’ve done the research, but he refuses to acknowledge that he’s part of the problem.
  3. I self-doubt myself constantly and I know it, but how do you believe in yourself when he’s been cutting me down for decades.
  4. He says “it’s all my fault” but how can it be when I literally do EVERYTHING to keep our family together, including raising the kids and keeping the household.
  5. He works at home but I don’t see him.  He dives into his interest/hobby after work and I might get a “goodnight” if he remembers.  Do I even exist?  He never asks about my day, or my interests.
  6. I was his special interest when we dated.  That changed the day after we married.  I’m a robot spouse.  I actually like it when he’s out of town or at work.  I can never tell him as he takes immediate offense from any comments about us.
  7. I don’t know who I am anymore.  I lost myself years ago.  I wouldn’t know where to start.
  8. I am physically ill.  I have _________  (fill in the blank, but it’s often GI, reproductive, or immune system problems).  They’ve been getting worse with time.  I‘ve been to (fill in number here) doctors and specialists.  Stress is a factor that makes it worse.  My body doesn’t know how to relax anymore.
  9. My friends and family don’t understand.  They think he’s great, but they don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.  He’s a genius in his profession, he’s talented, he’s handsome, but they don’t understand how I have to communicate with him.  He avoids anything he perceives as conflict, so I can’t even get answers to decisions that we have to make like bills, invites, kids’ needs, and house projects.  Plus, the house is a tornado so I don’t even bother anymore.
  10. Counseling hasn’t worked for us.  My therapist told me to back off, that I’m expecting too much.  Our couples therapist was empathic somewhat at first, but didn’t know how to help us.  And my spouse will either complain about me the whole time or stare off as I try my repeatedly to get him to respond with more than a few words.  Do you know how much time, money, and hours I’ve put into “us” over the years? He’s says it’s a waste, but won’t do a thing to change his behavior.
  11. He just doesn’t show up for the big moments in life.  He’s late or lost, or leaves early, or starts an argument on the way there and sometimes on the way home too.  Weddings, funerals, hospitalizations, births, illness, graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I’m so empty and exhausted from putting on this happy face to make it all work.  I’ve not enjoyed myself but I need these events to feel human again!
  12. I’ve thought about leaving, but I just can’t yet.  I’m hoping things will change for the better.  I still love him.  He’s said he loves me and wouldn’t leave because he’d miss me, and, that he’s just fine, so why change things?
  13. He’s the “fun Dad” and I’m the bad cop with the kids.  He’s their friend and acts just as childish.  He forgets to feed them, or gets distracted and overwhelmed.  Also, my kids are on the spectrum so I never get a break.
  14. When something bad happens, he runs away and leaves me to fix his messes.  I fix his mishaps daily.  It’s easier to do things by myself, but everyone accuses me of being controlling and a victim.  Am I?  I wasn’t this way before we married.  I’m a positive person.  I feel like I’m going crazy too.  Do I have ADD/ADHD?
  15. Sex?  What sex?  He hasn’t touched me in years since our honeymoon.  We sleep in separate rooms.  We have opposite schedules.  Of course I miss it, but, how many times can I be rejected?
  16. Sex? He wants it all the time.  It’s the last thing on my mind.  I’m not attracted to him when I’m playing his caregiver all the time.  I’m so tired and I’ve gained a ton of weight, I eat and watch a lot of TV to numb out.  Or I have to initiate and plan everything.  It’s mechanical and awkward at best when we do get together.  I don’t tell anyone these things.  I live this other fantasy life in my head to survive.  He’s too loyal and preoccupied to cheat.  And I don’t have the time even if I wanted to.
  17. No one else acknowledges that Autism is a major issue with his anxiety, depression, OCD, and social phobias.  He’s on some medications, but they don’t seem to help much.  His doctor believes his autistic traits are irrelevant, as does his counselor who coddles him.  Does anyone else in the world get it?  The support groups online seem like negative venting sessions.  I can relate and join the “fight,” but it doesn’t move me ahead, I just feel worse.
  18. He refused to get diagnosed.  Until I divorced him.  Then, he got tested.  Sure enough, he’s on the spectrum.  Now he’s relieved, happy to learn about himself, and will be moving on with his new relationship after I gave him the best years of my life.  How is that fair?
  19. I would have to be on fire for him to notice me.  Except for correcting me.  It’s his favor to help me “improve myself” since he’s the perfectionist.  He can complete some tasks for me if I write a list, but for me micromanaging his tasks takes longer than doing it myself.
  20. It’s living with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  There’s me, reviewing in my head what I said or did wrong to trigger him…(sometimes it’s nothing) but he misconstrued my tone of voice and then there’s a meltdown or shut down that lasts for days.  Back to silence, and meanwhile, he sees that as everything as being ok again.  OMG!
  21. I’ve noticed that if I cater to his needs, I get glimpses of hope.  A compliment here (particularly if it’s a logic based problem I solved) or a moment of re-kindling.  I have been in therapy for (x) years now, and I am just starting to see how my life was shaped around his needs.  No more.  I’ve been taking the bull by the horns and he notices the changes in me, and still fights them, but I no longer put up with his demands.  Realizing that it wasn’t me to blame this whole time makes me feel alive again.
  22. It’s been (x) years since we’ve broken up, and, I’m still grieving the loss of us.  I can’t get past the damage it’s done to me.  It’s PTSD and trauma, and guilt all wrapped up into a giant middle finger that I see in my mind every morning when I wake up.  He’s moved on, and here I am, alone again.
  23. Where the heck is our tribe?  Lone ranger here.  Holding up a white flag.  It’s nice to finally be seen and heard.
  24. So I think other people in my family history are on the spectrum.  I can’t believe I didn’t see it earlier.  Also, his Mom might be, and I know one of his siblings has depression.  They say my spouse is bi-polar, or schizophrenic or something.  No one talks about it though.  Always secrets.  They’re living in a world of denial.  He can do no wrong in his family.  I’m the witch.
  25. Best thing I ever did was to repeat the Serenity Prayer to myself each morning.  I won’t change him.  But I can change me.
  26. Am I worthy?  Deserving?  Maybe.  But he’s a gaslighting narcissist with ASD who shoots me down, and that cuts deep.  Every time I’m brave enough to leave, I chicken out.  What are my children thinking about me?
  27. He tries.  But he’s overwhelmed so easily.  So am I.  It’s two steps ahead, five steps behind.  Some things are better and it’s been (x) number of years so far.  But I’m still trying, it helps that he cares.  I’m better than a year ago.  And, today is a better day.  A better month.  I’ve realized how much I’ve accomplished, and I’m a superwoman.  He’s finally sort of realizing that.
  28. NO more neurodiverse relationships for me, lol.  Then, I dated this new guy.  Guess what?  I’m attracted to the same thing.  What’s that all about?
  29. I met one other woman from this support group.  We are so similar, as our spouses are too.  We are getting together for a mini-trip and yoga retreat.  I am nervous ’cause I never do this but also so excited.  I just have to prepare everything for him before I leave.  So much to do!
  30. The kids don’t understand what I go through with him.  I can’t explain it.  I hate yelling, I hate parenting alone, and I hate that I have to prompt him to do anything around the house.
  31. I have found myself more patient with him since learning about Autism.  I still find it hard to accept his lack of capacity with me compared to others.
  32. I know I have to forgive and start from present moment, but I have a lot of healing to do from the past.
  33. It’s confusing to know when he’s truthful because he speaks fro both sides of his mouth.  It’s from one extreme to the other.
  34. I’m starting to realize that it doesn’t matter if I do _____, he won’t notice anyway.  He’s the king of avoidance.
  35. I am loving doing new things for myself, finally.  Regular outings and a break from him helps me re-set my mood.
  36. It’s hard to explain my issues to anyone else.  My family won’t hear of it, and I’m starting to tell my close friends but it’s hard.
  37. I have a better understanding of how he is wired.  I realized I have a lot of work to do for myself!

  1. I don’t like that I can’t understand her emotions.  There’s too many feelings and it’s too intense.
  2. She’s crazy, controlling, and this is all bologna.  I don’t think Asperger’s (now termed Autism Spectrum Disorder) is the issue here.  We don’t talk.  We have nothing in common.  If I told you how I really feel about her, you wouldn’t think of me very well.
  3. I have no idea what it means to be on the spectrum, and I don’t know what to do first.
  4. I’m very good at my job and I have no other issues with people that I deal with every day.  Why can’t she relax and understand that I need a break when I get home?  I provide all our income, and nothing I do makes her happy.
  5. I tend to create scenarios in my head that might not be realistic.  But I believe them, and then it stops me from acting otherwise.
  6. My anxiety is off the roof when I’m near her.  I pick my fingers and bite my nails.
  7. Talking about finances is never good.  It always turns into a battle.
  8. My memory is bad at recalling things that she says happened.  There’s no way I would say/do those things she claims.
  9. I did put effort into us in the beginning, but I can’t find the time or motivation to keep doing it now, especially because she’s always mad at me for something.
  10. I avoid confrontation.  I prefer lists or instructions. She tells me I assume too much.  I simply use my logic.
  11. Is there an equation to solving these issues?  Just tell me what I must do.  I dislike our tension.
  12. The few times we do work together, it has gone well.
  13. The more I learn about Autism, the more frustrated I am with myself.  But sometimes it’s a relief too.  It’s difficult to conclude anything concrete here.
  14. I don’t like medications, but I smoke pot and drink to relax.  It’s the only thing that works.
  15. I tend to take criticism harshly.  I’ve always been that way.  Childhood was brutal.
  16. She says I think of my own needs first.  That is true.  But what other way is there?
  17. I have trouble sustaining my promises regarding changing my behavior.  I can do it for a few days, and then I get tired of it because things seem better by then.
  18. The world is not kind.  I’ve never fit in quite right.  I do not understand all the need for socialization and small talk.
  19. I don’t talk to my few friends anymore.  I feel bad but I resent her for not going out.
  20. I’m not around much.  She does most of the work with the kids.  But I will play with them and show them my hobbies.
  21. Sometimes I see red and can’t stop the angry thoughts.
  22. People have told me I am too intense, that I share too much.
  23. When I’m in real trouble, that’s when I have to pay attention to changing.
  24. I don’t know how others see me.  It would be nice to know for sure.
  25. It’s hard to accept compliments, but I like them when I hear them.
  26. I did put effort into our relationship in the beginning, but not anymore. It’s too overwhelming.  Especially when it comes to s-e-x.  That’s a tough topic to talk about.
  27. My so-called “connections” are transactional.  There’s an equal exchange and then we are done.  No need for further discussion.
  28. I certainly don’t take others emotions into consideration when making a decision.  Why should I?  My ideas are usually right anyway.
  29. I loose track of time often.  I’m not very organized.
  30. I do love her very much.  I suppose I don’t say it because I already know it.
  31. I show I care by doing things for others.
  32. I have no idea what to do with the kids when they act up.  She would like me to parent more, but it’s very hard to reach her standards.
  33. I like the ideas I’ve heard to communicate better, but when I try it and it doesn’t work, I’ve failed again.
  34. I’ve learned more about myself in this last year that I have in my lifetime.  It helps to know about Neurodiversity, but also to figure myself out too.
  35. The past is always brought up and we still don’t have resolutions to many issues.  Going deeper doesn’t seem to help any.  She says I jump to conclusions, but I just connect the dots of reason.
  36. I can tell that when I do little gestures for her she is nicer.  But it’s hard for me to do because I overthink it.
  37. I just wish it could all be better.  I never realized all of these things until we went to counseling.  My folks were pretty hands off.  It’s different today though, with our kids.


Although Laura provides Telehealth (online only) counseling to her established clients, her counseling services for new clients and couples at this time are not available. 

Please check back, as this website will be updated when new clients will have an opportunity to work with Laura.

If you interested in joining Laura’s monthly Neurotypical Women’s Educational Support Group (WAM), please inquire below for more information.

Self-pay from clients are due at the time of service.  One hour individual sessions start at $180 paid upfront.  Initial paperwork and assessments add additional fees (one time only) for the start of counseling and will be outlined specifically in the paperwork once a schedule has been mutually established.   Laura is out of network with all insurance providers but will provide a Superbill for possible reimbursement incumbent with your specific healthcare plan.

I currently have a waiting list for new clients.