Lisa recently had the pleasure of listening to Tony Attwood – a leading authority in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – speak about ASD at an event organised by The Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
The focus of the afternoon session was on the overwhelming feelings (e.g. anxiety, anger, sadness) that many children with ASD experience on a daily basis, and what we can do to help them manage these feelings so they do not have such an impact.
One of the main therapeutic approaches that we have to help children with their feelings is cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), and it was reassuring to hear Tony promote using this with children with ASD. All too often children with ASD are excluded from accessing CBT because of a lack of understanding of how to use this approach with them.
Children with ASD experience intense feelings for the same reasons as children without ASD. The CBT model therefore fits; it is just that we, as the therapists, need to get creative (taking into account differences in how children think, learn and relate) about how we adapt the approach so that children with ASD can benefit from it.
Shropshire Autism Service can’t wait to start using Lego, drawing, music and email in sessions!