1 in 68 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). While ASD shows its earliest signs in childhood it continues throughout adolescence and adulthood. Some adults or adolescents may have never been diagnosed as a child but may still show signs of ASD. Autism Counseling can be very helpful, individually, family, and groups.
Common characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Social Impairment
- Difficulty with Eye Contact
- Communication Difficulties
- Perspective Taking Difficulties
- Repetitive Behaviors
- Fixed Interests
- Difficulties Understanding Nonverbal Cues
- Difficulties Understanding Tone of Voice, Indications or Sarcasm
- Difficulties with Changes in Routine
- Emotional Regulation Difficulties
Therapy for ASD:
Adolescents in middle and high school face different difficulties and situations then children or adults with ASD. Adolescents may struggle with age appropriate methods of obtaining and maintaining friendships at school. Adolescents are also facing a new obstacle of making plans with friends independently rather than parent assisted play dates. In this world of technology teens are also facing the pressure of social appropriateness with social media as well as understanding hidden contexts behind text messages or posts.
Therapy at this age can help adolescents on the Spectrum with:
- Age Appropriate Social Skills
- Making Plans
- Maintaining Focus while in school
- Flirting and Dating
- Using Social Media and forms of Technological Communication
- Emotional Regulation
Often times services for those with Autism ends in the early 20s. However, life is still changing and bringing about new challenges.
Therapy for adults with ASD is beneficial in helping:
- Navigate Work Settings
- Interview Skills
- Dating, Relationships, & Marriage
- Making and Maintaining Friendships outside of a school setting.
For young children with ASD it is recommended to seek out an ABA specialist (Applied Behavioral Analysist). It’s encouraging at a young age to begin interventions that use highly structured and intensive skill-orientated training sessions. These sessions from an ABA specialist will help with developing social and language skills.
Therapy can be done individually to allow a client the time and individual attention to work on difficulties specific to them. Group therapy is also beneficial in focusing on social skills while engaging with peers.
Topics for Social Skills groups include but are not limited to:
- Active Listening
- Appropriate Topics
- Boundaries and Personal Space
- Confidentiality, Over Sharing, and White Lies (shared truth)
- Showing Interest in others
- Correcting others
- Filtering thoughts
- Making Plans
- Appropriate Phone Usages
- Reading between the lines
- Assertiveness Skills