Some of our greatest thinkers may have been given a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome had that been available at the time. Though there are many positives to the condition, an easy path through life is not one of them. In my work with adults and children with this diagnosis we celebrate the positives, while paying attention to the problems which may occur.
The honesty and openness of the counselling relationship often appeals to adults with this diagnosis: there is no room for game playing, we both say exactly what we mean, there are opportunities to check out your thoughts and feelings with someone who understands. Working with any adult I like to make a clear contract in the first session, then we work together using appropriate techniques.
Children and Teenagers
I have many years experience working with children and young people with Asperger's Syndrome and other Autistic Spectrum diagnoses. This needs a flexible and understanding approach. After an initial session with the child and parent or carer to decide what would be helpful, I like to spend some time working one to one with the young person. We may use play techniques, science materials, art and craft or just talk according to the age and interests of the child. When seems appropriate, we invite family members or carers to attend sessions to consolidate the work. We often work in blocks of six sessions, allowing breaks to allow child and family to try out techniques and see how things go, then return to work on the next issue.
Here are some of the issues which have arisen.
- Making friends
- Appropriate language and responses to adults
- Dealing with obsessions
- Improving organisational skills
- Getting on with siblings
- Dealing with melt-downs
- Dealing with bullying
- Avoiding offending others
- Appropriate classroon behaviour
- Low self-esteem
Siblings, parents and partners of people with this diagnosis sometimes find it helpful to talk things over with someone who understands.