Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism Spectrum disorders were once classified as mental disorders because the child disregarded and did not fully participate in the relationship with the parent. This child is viewed as subject to an early life psychosis and being split from reality. We now recognize that these disorders are neurological and that any psychological ramifications are simply byproducts of the disorder. With these disorders the hemispheres do not communicate with each other. Generalizing in learning does not occur. Visual processing abilities and sometimes auditory processing abilities are severely impacted and the child does not usually develop empathy. Traditional psychotherapy is of little or no use to these children as they are not self observing or self correcting as a result a reviewing their behavior, feelings or relationships. Behavioral problems do not stem from emotional disturbance but rather from the lack of useful neurological processing. Emotional disturbance is likely to occur as the result of a conflict between a child and their environment. In other words, the Autism Spectrum Disordered Child frequently talks too much, stands too close, doesn’t understand jokes, read visual cues, stares too long, is preoccupied with mechanical movement and does not possess a hunger for social relationships. This child is assisted primarily through learning how to behave in specific situations. They learn best by rote and scripted material. The child’s counselor will assist primarily through scripting, case management and supporting the child’s efforts. The counselor will also assist the family in learning about their child’s limitations and ways that they can best support their child.

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