Do you have concerns about a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder or Asperger’s Disorder?
Do you feel different than other people, or like a social misfit? Do social situations provoke anxiety? Do you have sensitivities to sounds, textures, noise, or lights? Is it hard to manage your emotions? Have you had meltdowns? Do you have areas of interest that are particularly strong compared to others? Perhaps you’ve had difficulty making friends in part because of a difference in social understanding. Or maybe you become anxious if your routine is changed or you are faced with uncertainty. Maybe you have had previous diagnoses and wondered if they are correct. Or you’ve discovered new information that raises the question of an autism diagnosis. Or it could be that you know of a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder and are concerned of your challenges and would like life to be better.
Have you stumbled across a description of Asperger’s or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that reminds you of yourself or someone you know? Do you wonder if the diagnosis is correct? Do you feel like you might benefit from clarity around a diagnosis? Have you had other diagnoses that did not seem to “fit” or were given by providers who seemed to have little knowledge about ASD? Having a clear understanding of your challenges and the options for their improvement might bring peace of mind.
Maybe you’ve struggled with these challenges for some time, or you have been recently diagnosed. You may want a better understanding of ASD and how the challenges you face can be improved to make life easier.
For Asperger’s and Autism Diagnoses,
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Almost everyone on the Spectrum deals with feeling socially awkward or socially anxious – it is very common. The stresses of life can easily lead to difficulty with emotional regulation. Many individuals on the Spectrum experience depression and other co-occurring difficulties such as anxiety, phobias, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and trauma. Research shows 60 percent of individuals have a second difficulty that raises to a level of clinical significance and an additional 40 percent have a third area of difficulty that is problematic.1
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) itself is being recognized far more frequently now than in the past. Currently, 1 in 56 individuals are believed to have an Autism Spectrum Disorder, including the former diagnosis known as Asperger’s; some say 1 in 10.2 Many adults with ASD are experiencing misunderstandings about their new diagnosis. Some are choosing to continue to use the term Asperger’s instead of Autism Spectrum Disorder due to those close to them rejecting their diagnosis of “Autism”.
There are certainly stresses of being on the Autism Spectrum. However, with the help of a compassionate, experienced therapist who specializes in ASD treatment, you can learn the life skills needed and resolve the concerns that hold you back from the most fulfilling life possible.
Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Asperger’s
I have specialized in helping clients with autism and Asperger’s for over 13 years; it is my primary focus. I enjoy seeing the progress that my clients make in learning skills that improve their daily lives.
During therapy, we will work together to develop a personally tailored guide to address your specific wants and needs for treatment. No two people are alike: as they say, “if you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism”. Consequently, no two action plans will be the same.
I will work to help you and guide decision making with an open mind and heart. I will lend my professional expertise as needed in a thoughtful and informed manner. Once we develop a plan, we will work, step-by-step, to accomplish your goals.
Different treatment approaches work for different people. I strive to match my approach to the individual. Whether it be skills-building to strengthen areas for improvement, psychoeducation to provide information and greater understanding, cognitive therapy to change faulty thought patterns, or behavioral therapy to change old habits – we will work together to find the ways to meet your goals.
I believe in addressing the concerns of those on the spectrum to make daily life better. Psychoeducation can bring clarity to less understood subjects, allowing for deeper understanding of yourself and others. Building skills improves coping, decreases stress, and improves quality of life. Changing your habits through behavior therapy can help you shed self-defeating patterns of behavior that have been holding you back from greater success. Cognitive therapy decreases negative emotions and leads to a more positive outlook on life.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
ABOUT AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER (ASD) AN ASPERGER’S
Do I really need a specialist in ASD?
In my opinion, individuals with ASD concerns benefit from therapists who are specialists for several reasons. First, specialists are aware of the unique challenges that are faced by adults with ASD and how they impact different facets of their lives; they “get it” better than therapists without specialized knowledge. Second, specialists know where to assess for the correct problem areas and difficulties, so they “see it” better than therapists without specialized knowledge. Third, specialists have more experience breaking down information in ways that can make sense for the ASD adult, so they “speak it” than therapists without specialized knowledge. Finally, specialists understand how to modify traditional therapies in a way that is best tailored for an individual with ASD, so they “know it” better than therapists without specialized knowledge.
What if I don’t have a diagnosis? Will you still see me?
Yes. There is no need to have a formal diagnosis to be seen for therapy. If you have concerns that you are on the spectrum, we can talk about ways that you can follow up on your concerns, if that is what you would like. Or we can do therapy without a diagnosis addressing the concerns you have as they affect you today. Or maybe you would like to see someone with knowledge of spectrum issues for other reasons; that is perfectly okay as well. I will “meet you where you are” to address your needs.
I have so much anxiety about going to new places. How can I get myself to go to your office?
Going to a new place for the first time is quite stressful. Getting outside of your comfort zone takes great courage, and I honor your efforts and your strength. I suggest that you take small steps, possibly starting by looking at the pictures of my office on my locations page. You may also send an introductory email through my contact page or come to a free in-office consultation to meet me for a 30-minute introductory visit. This is a pressure-free day to visit my office to determine if it is sensory friendly, if we “click”, and to decrease stress if you decide to come back for a future visit. If coming in for a visit is too stressful and you would rather talk by phone, I will happily make myself available for a free telephone consultation.
What happened to the diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome?
When the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition (DSM-5) came into effect, the diagnoses of Asperger’s Syndrome, High Functioning Autism, Autism, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified were collapsed into a single diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD is a diagnosis that incorporates a range of challenges from those meeting criteria for autism to those meeting criteria for Asperger’s Syndrome under the DSM-IV. All individuals with a diagnosis of Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome made under the DSM-IV meet criteria for ASD under the DSM-5. The “Spectrum” is believed to be a range from “neurotypical” at one end to “neurodiverse” at the other. At some point in the middle individuals have “traits” of ASD but do not meet full criteria. Further along, the criteria the spectrum are met for a diagnosis of ASD. Many laypeople do not know what an “Autism Spectrum Disorder” is and mistake it for the previous, and often mistaken understanding of what “Autism” was thought to be. Today many individuals continue to want to identify themselves as having Asperger’s due to the ongoing social misconceptions of Autism.