Autism Spectrum Disorders
Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) experience varying degrees of difficulty in socialization and communication skills, and may exhibit repetitive behaviours, limited interests, solitary and unimaginative play, or have unusual attachments to objects or routines. Parents may have noticed signs in their child’s development early on that seem unusual. Their baby may have seemed “different” from birth; perhaps their child did not respond to people or activities around them, or their child may have focused on one item for a long period of time. Some children may not respond to their name when called, they may not imitate others, or they may not show things to others to indicate interest. It is the opinion of our office that, as children age, the most important feature (by far) when identifying any child within this spectrum surrounds social developmental issues that likely include challenges with perspective taking, reading and displaying appropriate body language, and reading between the lines of social language and interactions. These individuals misinterpret, and are often misinterpreted by others. Their situation is akin to a social learning disability.
Early detection of ASDs are more crucial to later prognosis than any other childhood disorder. There are now agencies within the city of Calgary that work with families touched by ASD under two years of age. Many of these programs have lengthy wait lists. We proudly have developed a strong relationship with a large proportion of these agencies. Your child may even qualify for the support of a multidisciplinary team consisting of psychologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and other professionals.
The emphasis of programming at our office surrounds teaching these children more intellectually what comes to their peers on a more intuitive level. We also help parents formulate strategies around discipline, as well as attend to any other characteristics and associated features unique to each individual. We teach social skills, either on an individual level, or within the confines of a social skills group. With younger children, we encourage parents to attend individual social skills sessions, so that they can continue to implement the strategies in the home environment.
For some families who are supported through a funding agency, we help to organize a behavioural therapist program. This programming refers to a support staff who, within your home, carries out the strategies designed by a psychologist at our office.