Since May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, we thought we’d address an issue that we get many questions about here at Seattle Children’s Autism Center: accessing mental health services for our kids on the spectrum. The questions we hear most often are:
What mental health services exist for children and adolescents with autism?
Where are mental health services offered?
How do I access these services?
In a previous blog, we reviewed treatments used with individuals with autism. Mental health interventions include cognitive-behavioral therapy and behavior therapy. These are typically provided in individual therapy where specific goals are identified for addressing problems such as anxiety, depression, disruptive behavior, aggression, and self-injury. Read full post »
Guest author: Jo Ristow, MS, CF-SLP is a speech language pathologist at the University of Washington Autism Center. Jo is also a visiting SLP at Seattle Children’s Autism Center. She will be co-presenting at a free upcoming talk on the iPad as part of UW Autism Center’s Autism Awareness Month activities in April.
For visual thinkers, the world of words can be a scary place. Verbal information is fast-paced and you only have one chance to understand the meaning. In contrast, visual information can be processed at the learner’s pace and is more permanent. Visuals can help soothe transition anxiety, promoting language understanding and learning while making expectations and transitions concrete. Read full post »
The adjustment to the start of a new year is a reminder that change is constantly occurring. Change, especially unexpected change, can be extremely stressful for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Children with ASD often prefer to have a sense of structure and to know what to expect during the day and what activity they will be doing and when. Consistency and predictability help children feel reassured that they know what will happen next. When change occurs, children with ASD may respond in a variety of ways, including exhibiting withdrawal, repetitive behaviors, tantrums, or even aggression. It is important to remember that these behaviors are typically the result of extreme anxiety and/or inability to communicate their emotions/desires. Below are some tips for managing change and transitions in your child’s life. Read full post »
Guest Writer: Ben Wahl, MSW, is the program director of Aspiring Youth Program, www.aspiringyouth.net
Do children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) spend more time on video games and computers than their peers? According to researcher Dr. Paul Shattuck, the answer is ‘yes’.
Dr. Shattuck, of Washington University in St. Louis, sampled 1,000 study participants who had ASD and found that 41% indicated a level of screen time that would qualify as ‘high user’. The results of the study are telling: “Given that only 18 percent of youths in the general population are considered to be high users of video games, it seems reasonable to infer based on the current results, that kids with ASDs are at significantly greater risk of high use of this media than are youths without ASDs” (Shattuck, 2012). Read full post »
That statement made everyone perk up two Fridays ago as well, when Michelle Garcia Winner spoke at a day-long conference presented by Seattle Children’s Autism Guild, “Thinking About YOU, Thinking About ME.” Michelle went on to point out that obviously Little Red wasn’t a very good observer, unable to make the distinction between her grandma and a vicious wolf. All the while, noticing the details (e.g. “my, what big teeth you have.”), but not the bigger picture (i.e. she might want to run away to avoid the same fate as her grandma). But the conference was much more than a social commentary on fairy tales. Read full post »