Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) can struggle to understand the perspective of others, to engage in the social back-and-forth required in conversations, and can be very literal. These folks also have tremendous strengths that would ideally be incorporated into educational, vocational, and social treatment plans.
While we once had the option of diagnosing Asperger’s Disorder, an Autism Spectrum Disorder, new diagnostic guidelines now allow a simple diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD now includes Autism, Asperger’s, PDD-NOS, and other diagnoses. For some, the diagnostic label is imperative; others care less about diagnostics, and care more about functional strategies for success.
Many treatments exist to help alleviate symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders, though there is no known “cure.” For those who live on the “high end” of the spectrum, there is sometimes a debate about the treatment of symptoms. Some argue that treatment is not necessary, and removes the “uniqueness” of the person. Others, however, feel that teaching coping skills, social skills, and emotional identification and emotional sharing skills enhances life experiences. For example, many individuals with ASD make limited eye contact, which can be misconstrued as dishonesty, or a lack of motivation – such as during an interview. In these circumstances, it makes sense to know when and how to make eye contact, how long to maintain the eye contact, and how to ask clarifying questions and connect with others.
Treatment for ASD generally involves social skills training, learning to identify and share feelings, and learning/applying the “rules of engagement.” Increasingly, adults, including married individuals who have struggled for years, are presenting for treatment. Sometimes couples therapy is appropriate, with the goal of improved communication in the relationship.
Parents of Individuals with Autism
Parents often have questions about the best way to support their children (both young and grown). Parents are always welcome, with or without their children. We can discuss how best to support their loved ones, and how to help young adults find jobs, housing, and supportive relationships.