Autism is a family disease. The individual with autism may be the one trying to deal with social anxiety, adhd and/or sensory issues but the family is left trying desperately to support them. Dealing with the guilt of not knowing how to help, the stress of often feeling under attack yourselves during meltdowns, or just the pain of watching someone you love struggle takes a huge emotional and physical toll. The research I have been doing the past three years indicates to me that there is a better way to begin and bring treatment to the individual and the family. Rather than trying to put behavioral supports in the home right off the bat, it is my belief based on more than 20 years in the field actually working with individuals and families, that we should be dealing with the sensory issues first and then trying to teach behavioral and social skills. The individual with extensive sensory issues does not feel safe in their own world. They are constantly under attack by the environment around them. New research in mindfulness practice and neurochemistry indicates that teaching them to self regulate with mindfulness after putting a healthy sensory diet into effect is much more helpful. If you are lost and walking this path alone, know that you don’t have to. Below is my latest presentation on the issue of autism as an underlying trauma for individuals, how I feel we need to start looking at treatment and the promise that is out there. In addition you may download the sensory checklist to begin identifying some of the sensory needs that are present. Finally, you can contact me. Initial phone consultations are free and even if you do not decide to work with me I may be able to point you to resources you did not know existed (I have years of experience developing this resource base and I offer that to you at no charge during the initial phone consultation).
In 1993, I began working as direct care staff for individuals on the autism spectrum. Most of my clients then had what was known as Asperger’s Syndrome but is now considered a form of high functioning autism. I did that for 19 years with dozens of individuals at all functioning levels on the spectrum and I became fascinated by the disorder. At that time, the focus was on helping the individual to “adapt” in a way that would keep them from standing out socially. Often the response to stimming was to change the behavior. With many clients who would flap their hands I was told by the “experts” to have them sit on their hands. Even 24 years ago that seemed cruel to me. I could tell the individual was simply self-soothing and it did not seem right to take away a coping mechanism without providing something that would work. Fast forward 19 years… I took a job as a service coordinator doing case management for individuals. My job was to work as a part of a team bringing resources to bear in the lives of individuals and families. At the same time, I began working on my Master’s in mental health counseling with a focus on trauma. I noticed similarities in the brain development when trauma and autism were involved. It confirmed much of what I had seen in the field in the previous 19 years. The stimming behaviors, it seemed to me, were an effort to control for the trauma induced by a sensory world that was out of control and assaultive. As a service coordinator, I began directing services and making suggestions to the team along these lines and started to see some significant results.
Today, as a therapist in the field, I continue to see this trauma connection on several levels in autism and it is why I bring a trauma informed approach to autism treatment. Calming the trauma of the sensory world and training individuals to regulate emotionally and filter out the environment around them I am finding a success in treatment that is remarkable. My book The Life Recovery Method: Autism Treatment From a Trauma Perspective is all about the research, work and results I have been getting over the past 3 years. It is directed to both parents and professionals and full of ideas and advice for improving life on the spectrum. You can sign up to be notified when it is released here.
Services for Autism are as follows:
Let us help you determine the best way to get help and services for your family member. We will talk to you about how to navigate systems, where to find the services you need and possible funding streams to alleviate some of the financial burdens. We can help you with deciding what level of care and assistance you may need and the best way of going about that. We will even work with the schools to create a solid IEP to help your child succeed!
Offered for individuals and families both in home, in office, or by phone (20 min phone consult is free)
This can involve assessment of sensory issues and referrals to OT/PT services, suggestions for creating sensory diets, assessment for autism spectrum disorder and diagnosis of the disorder (Diagnosis only done by Robert Cox, LPC at this time in office).
In office or in home services available.
Often individuals on the spectrum need help in navigating the world around them. We are experts at helping your child use techniques developed by Robert Cox, LPC as described in his book The Life Recovery Method to begin controlling sensory issues, improving executive functioning and social development and developing a strong sense of self in the world.
In office or in home services available.
Providers are often at a loss as to when it is trauma, autism, ADHD or some other issue. Robert has been instrumental in training schools, hospitals, social workers and case managers in how to assess these issues, the resulting needs and what can be done to start implementing a treatment approach that works. These trainings are on site and can be anything from a quick 2 hour lunch and learn to full day workshops. Call and allow us to arrange a conference with Robert to decide what your needs are and how we can best help your organization meet the needs of individuals.
Service fees are set by our individual providers and I urge you to get ahold of them for a free 20-minute consultation.