Does Your Child Feel Misunderstood?

Is your child having trouble adjusting to transitions?  Do they struggle with making friends at school and understanding social interactions?

Maybe you’ve noticed your child often misses social cues. They might have trouble communicating with you, leading to misunderstanding and frustration for both of you. Perhaps they’ve expressed their difficulty with social interactions, but you aren’t sure how to help.

mom reading to sonAutism Can Make It Difficult For Your Child To Adapt To Changes

Your child might have trouble with surprises and unexpected events. Perhaps they struggle with meltdowns, anxiety, and overwhelming feelings whenever they can’t control their environment. This may be especially true of new social situations, such as going to a new school or doing a new sport. Changes in their daily routine could be deeply upsetting for them. 

Navigating transitions and shifting social expectations might be hard, but with autism therapy, it’s possible for your child to find a way to communicate with you on their terms and advocate for themselves. With the right strategies, they can learn to feel comfortable in unexpected situations.

As Researchers Learn More About Autism, It’s Getting Recognized More Often

It used to be that 1 in 150 children were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder–now that number is closer to 1 in 44. There are numerous reasons why the diagnosis rate has increased so drastically. One of the reasons is that we know more about autism—and the variety of ways it presents itself—than we used to. Because of this, groups that may have been overlooked in the past are receiving more diagnoses and support. 

For example, teenage girls weren’t diagnosed as often as teenage boys because they tend to be better at masking their symptoms and mimicking other children. As a result, their autism went unrecognized. But now that clinicians know what to look for, girls are getting diagnosed and getting the help they need more often. And adults—especially those who did well in school and  were missed in screenings as children—are also being diagnosed at a higher rate.

The Stigma Around Autism Still Makes It Hard To Get Support

Parents who misunderstand what autism is may not recognize the signs in their child, or they may be afraid to consider a diagnosis for them. And families of individuals on the spectrum often struggle to understand that their loved ones with autism feel distant or disconnected from them.

When confusion lingers and families fail to understand a child or loved one on the spectrum, there is usually frustration and sadness on both sides. And when this happens, children with autism can miss out the support they need to manage their symptoms

Research shows that early intervention leads to the best results for autism treatment. If you suspect your child has autism—or they have a diagnosis and you want to help them cope—I encourage you to pursue therapy with me. It can empower them to navigate adjustments and social interactions with confidence.

little girl sitting on benchWith Autism Treatment, Your Child Can Learn To Communicate In A Way That’s Comfortable For Them

As a therapist, I’m not here to try and make your child’s autism disappear or fit them into a box. Your child is a unique and wonderful person. There are so many different ways to help them advocate for who they are and discover more effective ways to communicate themselves. I want them to go into the world with more confidence in their own identity.

Counseling is a safe place for them to discuss their thoughts about autism and express their feelings about what they are struggling with without fear of judgment. Together, we can work on strategies to help your child be true to themselves and lead a fulfilling life.

What To Expect During Sessions For Autism Therapy

Before we begin treatment, we need to determine if your child has autism or if there’s something else that can explain their symptoms. I’m certified in the ADOS-2 Diagnostic Test, the main diagnostic tool for autism. This test is the gold standard for autism testing and will give us a clearer picture of your child’s needs.

If your child already has an autism diagnosis,  we will start out by discussing their history, their symptoms, and what you may have tried in the past. I will also ask a few questions to get a sense of your family life and routine so I can help you in supporting your child. After all, you are a huge part of your child’s treatment plan and I want to give you strategies for assisting them in day-to-day life. 

Autism Therapy Tailored To Your Child’s Unique Needs 

At Pinkerton Psychotherapy, we take the whole person into account when we are developing a treatment plan. I will explore life skills, emotional responses, interests, and everything in between to create an approach that will help your child the most.

Depending on your child’s age and needs, I have many strategies and modalities I can use. Some of them include:

  • Autism Play Therapy (AutPlay), which helps your child work out their anxieties and learn through play.
  • Social skills play is role playing that teaches your child words and strategies for different situations. This gives your child tools in their toolbox for navigating confusing social interactions.
  • Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is a common form of therapy for children with autism, especially those who are under five or have more severe symptoms. ABA can help with basic tasks such as helping your child learn to eat with a fork or use the potty.
  • Positive Therapy is a strategy used to teach your child to look at the positives about themselves and help them understand what they can be proud of.
  • Solution-Focused Therapy starts with the problem and works to develop the action steps for a solution. We work on what your child wants and needs.

Oftentimes we utilize a combination of these strategies. For instance, we might role-play social interactions your child has trouble with, help them focus on what they do well in those situations, and teach them to find solutions for avoiding meltdowns. 

I have witnessed positive change in many children with autism who participated in therapy and I know growth is possible for your child, too. Autism doesn’t have to be a barrier to communicating. With the right tools and strategies, you and your child can learn to understand each other.

But You May Still Have Concerns About Autism Therapy…

My child is worried about sensory overload in therapy.

As a counselor who sees many clients with autism, I understand that surprises are hard and your child’s senses are easily overwhelmed. I recognize the need for adjustments of things like the light, air temperature, or noise. I can even tell your child each step beforehand and let them make the changes they need. I will do anything I can to make this experience pleasant and comfortable for them.

I’m afraid my child will be misunderstood.

Feeling misunderstood is a common worry for many individuals on the spectrum. I recognize how frustrating that can be and understand the struggles your child and your family are facing. I am here to listen and not pass judgment. I want your child to feel safe when confiding in me.

little girl smiling big at cameraI’m not sure we can fit therapy into our family’s schedule.

I know it can be hard to fit one more thing into an already-packed schedule. But by prioritizing one hour a week for therapy, you can help your child learn the strategies they need to communicate better and decrease their stress and anxiety.

Therapy Can Bring Out The Best In Your Child 

With autism therapy, your child can discover the things that make them happy, learn to advocate for themselves, and figure out how to live a more fulfilling life. You can contact Pinkerton Psychotherapy for a free, 15-minute phone consultation when you’re ready to take the next step.

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