Specializing in Autism Spectrum & ADHD:
"making a difference in the lives of individuals who struggle with barriers to learning, achievement, and social connectedness"
Autism Spectrum Disorder
For individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum or related disorders, life can be challenging. My approach is based largely on the tools and strategies developed by Michelle Garcia Winner, SLP, in her Social Thinking methodologies. This offers explicit instruction in how to take perspective, what it means to "be social", how to be more flexible in our thinking, and how to problem-solve social situations, rather than simply learn rote "social skills." Before we can act in socially expected ways, we need to think about others and what is required of us in unique and contextual social encounters. This approach is tailored to meet the needs of the individual, involves practice, learning by doing, and a lot of creativity and fun in the process!
ADHD/Executive Functioning Challenges
Oftentimes, folks who struggle to stay organized, pay attention, and manage their time are doing the best they can. They are aware that others get frustrated with them, and honestly, they get frustrated with themselves. Fortunately, there are tools and practical strategies that can be learned. The best approach is often three-pronged: learning strategies that work best for them, advocating for appropriate environmental supports (whether formal or informal accommodations), and addressing any underlying learning differences. In my experience, it's important to have a solid grasp of what does and doesn't work for you, hone those advocacy skills, and foster healthy self-esteem in the process. A cognitive-behavioral therapy approach helps to address the faulty thinking underneath any mood disorders or anxiety associated with ADHD or executive functioning challenges.
Challenges in Learning
When school is difficult, it often leads to students questioning themselves and their abilities. Showing signs of depression and/or anxiety are not uncommon. It is important to remember that for younger children, anxiety and depression look differently than they do for adults. If you or your child complain of stomachaches, headaches, are more irritable than is typical, or have sleep disturbances, it may be time to seek counseling to learn tools to better cope. The cognitive behavioral therapy approach I use in my practice is well-suited to addressing changes in mood or behavior related to learning challenges. However, if you suspect an undiagnosed learning disability, talk to your teacher or your family doctor.
From the time we are born, we move. We move to learn about our environment, ourselves, and others. Our earliest attempts at problem-solving involve movement! Rhythmic movement is especially calming, instinctual, and healing. In my practice, I use a movement modality, poi spinning, as a way to help regulate the nervous system. When feeling sluggish, poi spinning is energizing. When feeling silly or "ramped up", it is calming. Poi spinning offers an opportunity for self-expression, creativity, and play. It is the perfect activity for a short break from homework, a way to work through feeling frustrated, or express ourselves when feeling joyful. Endlessly modifiable, I have spun poi with toddlers, teens, and older adults - it's an activity that works for everybody!