Parenting a child with autism can often be more challenging because of symptoms that are not actually part of autism spectrum disorder.
Rogers Behavioral Health provides a program for kids on the spectrum that treats secondary symptoms associated with anxiety, OCD, depression and other mood disorders with the goal of improving overall quality of life.
Dr. Marty Franklin, PhD, explains, “Using cognitive behavior therapy in a sensitive way can be effective as we address thinking errors, inflexibility in thoughts, and social communication deficits. We can help these kids learn to sit with unwanted thoughts and help them understand and tolerate emotions.”
Using gradual exposures as part of CBT can help make an extreme fear of a light switch, a death germ, or even the color yellow more manageable. Therapists can also work on compulsions for hand washing or the need for constant reassurance. The child may still have repetitive behaviors as part of ASD, but the anxiety around the behaviors can be lessened, according to Dr. Franklin.
Another component of the program is providing support and education for parents. One mom shares that she’s now better equipped to parent her son on a daily basis. “I really felt empowered, and now understand when I can demand more from our son and how to teach him more independence. I’m no longer afraid of disciplining,” she says.
“The therapists were unbelievably knowledgeable, and it was amazing how they worked on exposures. They do an incredible job,” the mother adds.
>>Learn about the four aspects of Rogers’ program for children and adolescents with ASD and other mental health disorders by watching a short video interview with Dr. Franklin.
Rogers’ program for anxiety and mood disorders for those with ASD is offered in Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco East Bay, and Tampa.