There is a lot of information out there about Autism and what the causes of it are. I understand how overwhelming all that information can be to a parent of a child on the Autism Spectrum. I believe that it is our job as clinicians to do the research and educate you on the disorder. It is our job to educate you on what we are learning and how we are taking that data to innovate and improve the treatment of clients on the Autism Spectrum.
The truth is that we have more of an understanding of Autism than ever before. Regardless of what you might read on internet blogs, the research clearly shows that Autism is a mix of epigenetic factors (interplay of genetics and the environment) and it is a whole brain disorder (it literally effects the entire brain and how the brain connects and communicates within itself. While we might have the best understanding of Autism than ever, we are still years away from being able to do anything about it.
My view of Autism treatment is not about curing Autism (if you hear anybody saying they have a cure run away quickly) but rather assessing their level of functioning and focusing on getting improvement on the symptoms of Autism. Each client is different and every treatment plan is unique to each client and their family. I believe strongly in a holistic approach to Autism treatment and borrow from several modalities including Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Applied Behavioral Analysis, and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. I also believe strongly that the family is an integral part to treatment with my Autism Spectrum clients so skills and insights are also taught to the family in addition to behavior plans when needed.
Autism treatment in my practice will focus on skills such as mindfulness, interpersonal skills, emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and basic life skills. While I am a counselor by training, I tend to take on more of a coaching role with my clients on the Autism Spectrum; a role that I feel as though has more effectiveness in promoting change.
Lastly, I have been working with clients on the Autism Spectrum for 12 years and my strength is understanding how to assess over time the ceiling or the highest level of functioning that we can expect out of a person on the Autism Spectrum. This is essential because when working with high school aged or college aged clients, we have to be realistic on what level of independence we can expect and work towards. I always will try to get every client fully independent, but we also need to be realistic at the same time.