Counseling for Children with Autism
Does Your Child Feel Sad And Lonely About Their Autism?
Has your child been complaining that they feel different from everyone else? Maybe, every school morning your child starts crying since they don’t want to go to school. Do they struggle to connect with others? Maybe they miss social cues, don’t make eye contact and have trouble communicating their feelings. Perhaps they lack friends. Or maybe they’re struggling in school and can’t handle schedule changes or adjust to new routines. The world that seems so ordinary for everyone else may feel alien to them, as if they’re living by a different set of rules.
When children are dealing with autism, it’s easy for them to feel like they’re alone in the world. Their behavior may be characterized by repeated movements, such as flapping their hands or snapping their fingers that others find strange. They may obsess over certain topics that no one else finds interesting, quoting movie lines out of context or talking at inopportune times.
At the same time, kids with autism are often fiercely intelligent—intelligent enough to recognize their own struggles. They’re usually aware—sometimes painfully aware—of the fact that they don’t fit in with others. Deep down, most of them probably wish they had someone to talk to who understands them, appreciates their uniqueness and enjoys their sense of humor. As child therapist, I want to be the one who does.
Children With Autism Simply See The World Differently
Imagine it’s a Monday morning and your child is excited to go to school. They can’t wait to see all their friends and teachers. They’re connecting with others. They’re succeeding in school and are flexible enough to adapt to schedule changes. They’re joyful, calm and brimming with confidence in their own unique identity.
Right now, this life may seem a distant fantasy, but I can assure you it’s not. It can be your child’s reality. Many children who struggle with autism are able to thrive and succeed in life. There is, after all, a wide spectrum within the condition—many children with autism are high-functioning and intelligent. They simply see the world differently from others and this makes it hard for them to participate in established routines and interact with people.
With the right care, however, autism doesn’t have to hold kids back. By personalizing their learning and psychoeducation, you and I can meet them on their own level and empower them to lead joyful, fulfilling lives. No matter how bleak things look right now, your child can thrive. It’s my goal to help them discover this ability in themselves.
Autism Counseling Offers A Space For Children To Be Accepted For Who They Are
Children with autism often feel pressured to hide their uniqueness from others because of how misunderstood they are. In therapy with me, your child can let loose and embrace their uniqueness wholeheartedly. This is a chance for them to be themselves, to say and do the things they can’t in the rigid world outside. I know most kids with autism don’t want to sit in a chair for 45 minutes, and that’s why I use sensory activities, all different art materials and toys in my sessions.
In the beginning, I will meet with you one-on-one to discuss your child’s developmental history and current needs. Although I’ll regularly meet with your child from that point on, it’s vital for parents of a child that has autism to be part of counseling, too. I’ll teach you skills for diffusing your little one’s meltdowns, calming their fears and helping them stay on task. We may even work together with the school to create an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). This will help us pinpoint the accommodations and support systems your child needs. If they need frequent breaks between classes or extra help staying focused, this is a chance for us to let the school know. That way, we can accommodate their autism and ensure they receive the education in a way that caters to their own way of learning.
In our sessions, your child will learn a wide variety of strategies to help them adapt socially and academically. I’ll teach them social skills, calming exercises and ways to be more flexible to daily changes. Besides learning skills, however, they’ll learn to explore their feelings and think about what they want in life. Therapy offers a perfect opportunity for them to do what they love and discover new things about themselves. For children who are a little older or more mature, they can express themselves through art, books or card games. This will provide a time for them to think out loud about their hopes and dreams. What kids with autism want most—just like the rest of us—is to find acceptance. My goal is to help them find it in abundance.
Uniqueness can be beautiful; and the fact that some kids are different makes this world a more beautiful place. And just like other children, children with autism can be happy, make friends and find success in life. Sometimes, they simply need a helping hand—someone who can help them find confidence in themselves and meet them on their own unique level.
You may have some questions about counseling for children with autism…
What Is Play Therapy And How Can It Help My Child?
Play Therapy is the central approach of my practice. Most children—not just those on the spectrum—have trouble sitting still and that’s why this form of child counseling is so important. It helps them get comfortable and feel at home, since they can do what they love while they’re here. What’s more, Play Therapy affords a chance to practice social skills, express undisclosed emotions and be in a caring, inclusive environment. Spontaneous play is vital to a child’s growth.
What If My Child Doesn’t Want To Come?
It’s natural for kids to feel hesitant at first. In that case, I would let them know what they can do in their sessions. Here, they can be as funny and be themselves completely. They don’t have to hold anything back like they do at school. No matter how unsure they feel, I am confident that they will love coming after the first session.
How Can I Coordinate With The School To Help My Child?
One of my goals is to create a bridge between school and therapy for your child. I will help you advocate for your child and communicate with individual teachers about strategies we have in mind. Moreover, we may even try to find a school social worker for them, someone who can assist them during the course of the school day.
Let Me Help Your Child Explore Their Feelings And Reach For The Stars
If you wish your child had someone they could talk to who appreciated them for who they are, I would be honored to fulfill this role. Together, we can help them pursue their dreams and grow into the best possible version of themselves. To get started, you can call me at 631-289-8765 for a free 20-minute phone consultation or fill out the contact form.
At the moment, due to COVID-19, all my counseling services for children with autism are online. The platform I utilize is secure, free and HIPAA-compliant. See my online counseling page for kids for more information.