German Cheung, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 22159

Autism Spectrum Disorder

 

Everyone has a voice. Everyone deserves to be heard.

 

This is especially true for the group of children and adults who suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), including Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). This is a group of individuals who cannot properly use language or play to express themselves like others typically do. They also struggle to modulate their internal experiences and communicate their feelings with words. They rely on using actions to locate, soothe, and express themselves, e.g. repetitive self-stimulating behaviors or gestures, rocking, screaming, head-banging, or object-throwing, which regularly leave parents, teachers, and others confused and frustrated. Often times any attempts to stop these behaviors are unsuccessful as the purposes behind these seemingly meaningless gestures and actions are rarely or adequately understood. Many also assume that, because they do not speak properly, these individuals do not have feelings or socio-emotional needs. 

Autistic individuals, on the contrary, have feelings, needs, and memories just like you and I. These individuals benefit from long-term psychotherapy, where there is predictable consistency and a structure that remains relatively unchanged over time. Within this reliable framework, the therapist works towards mirroring, acknowledging, reflecting, exploring, and making connections and meanings of their behaviors, feelings, and needs. Very gradually they begin to identify and later regulate their sensations, feelings and internal experiences. More importantly, they begin to build some capacity for language, creativity, relationship, and even humor!

For additional resources, please visit Autism Speaks and Golden Gate Regional Center