Help for People on the Autism Spectrum
There is a special place in my heart for working with families like yours. Before becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist, in the Fall of 2006 I worked as a Para-educator for five years at Sligo Creek Elementary’s HFA (High Functioning Autism) program. Throughout that time, I worked closely with and helped 30+ kids within varying levels on the spectrum progress to a more positive and more functional state.
After my first year, a mom in the class asked me if I was interested in working in home with her son. To this day, I am very close to him and his whole family. I’ve learned a great deal about what it takes to work successfully with kids and young adults on the spectrum.
Today, as a licensed therapist, I meet with families and individuals in my private practice setting. We work together to identify what exactly is causing problems, and explore where we can begin to re-tool and develop structures in place that lead to stronger family relationships, and a happier healthier life managing the challenges that come with being on the spectrum.
The family environment is an important target for interventions not only to reduce family stress but also to improve the behavioral functioning of children, adolescents or adults with ASD.
High Functioning Autism or Aspergers
People on the spectrum vary greatly in their degree of competence and difficulty which is why we refer to it as a spectrum. However, people with high functioning autism share some common experiences such as:
Difficulty in initiating or maintaining close relationships
Problems reading or understanding non-verbal social cues
Difficulty in understanding and using social rules
Missing the “bigger picture” due to being focused on the details
Being rigid, inflexible and having difficulty deviating from “the rules”
Difficulty with transitions and a lack of structure
Repetitive movements and speech
Being unaware of others’ thoughts, feelings, and perceptions and therefore being seen as inadvertently rude or inconsiderate
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