Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia: Assessment & Treatment
Acceptance, Advocacy & Accommodations
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. While there can be disability within any neurological style, our goal is to teach an understanding of self and how to work within dominant culture.
Dr. Prizant holds a similar philosophy to ours. Here is an excerpt of his work.
Autism Treatment Goals:
- Biology: understanding your brain (ie, Autism, Sensory Processing, Executive Functioning, Meltdowns, Shutdowns)
- Acceptance: acceptance of self, address past bullying, assistance with negative self talk that creates anxiety / depression
- Advocacy: when and how to teach others about ASD
- Health: exercise, diet, sleep
- Independence: independent living skills, job interview skills, getting out of the house, reduction of gaming as primary coping skill/social skill
- Social understanding: friendship & dating (Dr. Arnold has been trained in PEERS.)
Autism – 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 these 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.
Autism – 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 a family member with you if you would like us to teach them about autism.
We understand that women are routinely underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed. We welcome women who are trying to understand if their challenges are related to Autism. Here is an excellent link to a list of female autistic traits, a video on what Aspergirls wish other’s understood about them, and a video on social mimicking.
Autism – 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 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:
- Biology: understanding Dyslexia in the brain (ie, auditory processing, spelling, Executive Functioning)
- Acceptance: understanding the skills & weaknesses of Dyslexia without feeling bad or broken
- Advocacy: how to teach teachers about Dyslexia & how to use accommodations
- Accommodations: specific tools that reduce impact of Dyslexia on academic performance
- Self-Esteem: you are more than your grades – how to balance friends, school, family time
- 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 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:
- Biology: understand how your frontal brain (attention) and intellect work together (or not!)
- Health: understand the intensive impact of sleep, diet/nutrition, exercise on attention
- Academics/Work: understand how executive functions impact work and school
- Tools: learn Organizational Skills Training to offset the impact of ADHD on work/school performance
- Advocate: learn how to teach others about how to optimize your work space so your intellect can shine through
- Friends/Marriage: understand and minimize impact of impulsivity on social relationships
We actively teach the works of:
- Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D – Nonmedication Options for ADHD
- Russell Barkley, Ph.D. – Taking Charge of ADHD: The Complete Authoritative guide for Parents
- Peg Dawson, Ed.D. & Richard Guare, Ph.D. – Smart But Scattered
- Ari Tuckman, Psy.D. – Understand your Brain and Get More Done: the ADHD Executive Functions Workbook
- Eric Tivers L.C.S.W. – ADHD reWired
- Steven Safren, Ph.D. – Mastering Your Adult ADHD: A Cognitive Behavioral Treatment Program