Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia: Assessment & Treatment

 

NEURODIVERSITY - SUPPORT THROUGH THE LIFESPAN

Acceptance, Advocacy & Accommodations  


Autism Spectrum

Autism, Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder are on a continuum called Autism Spectrum Differences (ASD). Research has found that 1 in 50 individuals has a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum. It is our view that people with ASD have a neurologically based difference in interpreting and responding to abstract information: impacting social skills, emotional understanding, dating etc. Our goal is to give a ‘Users Manual’ to the person/family.

Dr. Prizant holds a similar philosophy to ours. Here is an excerpt of his work.

ASD Treatment Goals:

  1. Biology: understanding your brain (ie, Autism, Sensory Processing, Executive Functioning)
  2. Acceptance: understanding the NT & ASD cultures
  3. Advocacy: when and how to teach others about ASD
  4. Health: exercise, diet, sleep
  5. Independence: work and cleanliness skills
  6. Social understanding: friendship & dating (Dr. Arnold has been trained in PEERS.)

ASD – Gifted Teens

Much of our practice focuses on gifted autistic teens and young adults, most of whom do not know their diagnosis, or deny their diagnosis. Most providers ‘rarely’ meet this kids; we know hundreds of them. Many of these kids have significant trouble with: executive functions, getting their GPA to match their intellect, expository writing, maintaining friends & dating, social anxiety, job interviewing, and advocating.

ASD – Adults

We welcome ASD adults into our practice! We understand that living with untreated and often unlabeled ASD creates challenges.  Autistic adults often ask for assistance with: Job Performance review / Work challenges, Dating / Couples issues, Loneliness / Friendship challenges, severe anxiety and depression. You are welcome to bring bring a family member with you if you would like us to teach them about autism. You may also want to consider Mr. Meyer’s groups.

ASD – Education

Dr. Arnold has worked closely with her close friend and colleague, Karla Fisher, to create infographics for individuals on the spectrum. Ms. Fisher is a brilliant person with autism whose shared goal is to language AS / NT thinking differences. Our work can be found on our Facebook pages: Karla’s ASD Page & New Leaves Clinic. Ms. Fisher was also noted in Dr. Temple Grandin’s book: Different Not Less. Dr. Arnold’s experiences, training, research projects and publications are extensive. Please reference her biography and resume for a more complete understanding of her lifelong dedication to developmental differences.


Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. Dyslexia affects individuals throughout their lives; however, its impact can change at different stages in a person’s life. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment, and in its more severe forms, will qualify a student for special education, special accommodations, or extra support services. – International Dyslexia Association website.

Ben Foss, Dyslexic adult and author sharing about The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan.

Dyslexia Treatment Goals:

  1. Biology: understanding Dyslexia in the brain (ie, auditory processing, spelling,  Executive Functioning)
  2. Acceptance: understanding the skills & weaknesses of Dyslexia without feeling bad or broken
  3. Advocacy:  how to teach teachers about Dyslexia & how to use accommodations
  4. Accommodations: specific tools that reduce impact of Dyslexia on academic performance
  5. Self-Esteem: you are more than your grades – how to balance friends, school, family time
  6. Tutoring: we will connect you with certified dyslexia tutors and assist in progress monitoring (Note: We rent space in our building to a Barton tutor as well.)

ADHD-Executive Functioning

ADHD is highly misunderstood. The frontal brain is a very complex system that does multiple functions, often called executive functions. Executive functions include such things as: holding things in memory, shifting attention, blocking distraction, planning ahead, using the past to problem solve, controlling emotions and breaking large tasks into goals. Some people have these challenges as a primary deficit, often called “ADHD”. Others have these as a secondary deficit to other cognitive challenges, such as depression, anxiety, Dyslexia or Autism. Research finds that this part of your brain continues to grow into early adulthood, making teens have very specific challenges with attention.

Dr. Barkley is the leading expert on ADHD. Here is his summary of challenges in this area:

ADHD Treatment Goals:

  1. Biology: understand how your frontal brain (attention) and intellect work together (or not!)
  2. Health: understand the intensive impact of sleep, diet/nutrition, exercise on attention
  3. Academics/Work: understand how executive functions impact work and school
  4. Tools: learn Organizational Skills Training to offset the impact of ADHD on work/school performance
  5. Advocate: learn how to teach others about how to optimize your work space so your intellect can shine through
  6. Friends/Marriage: understand and minimize impact of impulsivity on social relationships

We actively teach the works of Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D, Russell Barkley, Ph.D., and Peg Dawson, Ed.D. & Richard Guare, Ph.D.