Autism Spectrum Disorder, or autism, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts brain development. The result is that most individuals experience communication problems, difficulty with social interactions and a tendency to repeat specific behaviour patterns specific diagnosed by age 6, and more than 90%. They may also have a markedly restricted range of activities and interests.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is typically accompanied by co-occurring medical conditions such as epilepsy, sleep disorders, gastrointestinal (gut) abnormalities and immune dysregulation. In addition, mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are common. Any of these conditions may severely impact an individual’s quality of life.
The term “spectrum” refers to a range or continuum of severity or developmental impairment. For example, children and adults with ASD may have particular characteristics in common, but the condition covers a broad spectrum, with individual differences in the following:
Individuals on the autism spectrum tend to have varying degrees and combinations of symptoms; therefore, treatment must be specific to the individual. It is also essential to remember that children, teens and adults with autism vary widely in their needs, skills and abilities. Therefore, there is no standard “type” or “typical” person with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
In Canada, among children and youth 5-17 years of age:
*Report findings are based on 2015 health, education and social services data collected from seven participating provincial and territorial governments (Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, British Columbia and the Yukon Territory), representing 40% of children and youth in Canada.
Psychology is the study of the human mind. This social science has contributed significantly to understanding and treating autism. There are several ways in which psychologists can and do play a role in helping children and adults with autism.
Psychotherapy is built around the use of the spoken word. For verbal people on the spectrum, psychotherapy can be a handy tool for managing symptoms such as anxiety or compulsions. It can also help people with autism better understand how others perceive their actions and reactions.
Some other areas of psychology that are often helpful for people on the spectrum and their families include:
Psychotherapists work with both children and adults with autism to treat issues such as social anxiety, depression, and preservative behaviour (doing or saying the same things over and over again). Psychologists also work with individuals on the autism spectrum to help them manage self-stimulation (stims), "autopsy" social interactions, understand social cues, and manage school and work relationships.
According to the latest stats, in Peel region, 1 in 4 kids is on the spectrum.
For those who want extra support or don't want to take medication, therapy for ADHD can help manage their condition.
Whether you're looking for concrete steps to take and skills to learn or more insight-oriented therapy to learn how some of your habits affect your life and relationships, there is a type of therapy for you.
There are three main types of ADHD, although treatment for them all broadly looks similar:
There are many different kinds of therapy for ADHD, though some of the methods may vary between children and adults. Types of treatment used to treat ADHD range from behavioural, dialectical behavioural therapy to mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.
Treatment for adults with ADHD will look slightly different than treatment for children with ADHD. Children's therapy for ADHD may involve teachers, parents, or both.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy is generally considered the gold standard for ADHD psychotherapy. However, while "regular" CBT can be helpful for ADHD, there are also specific types of CBT for ADHD.
This can help with improving daily life struggles such as procrastinating, time management struggles, and poor planning. In addition, CBT helps people find new coping strategies and the emotions and behaviours that interfere with implementing procedures.
The CBT for ADHD model organizes around three core modules and two optional ones:
Research has shown that this therapy may be helpful because of how meditation and mindfulness affect the brain and neuropsychiatry.
Some benefits may include:
Dialectical behavioural therapy is another form often used for people with ADHD. This type of therapy is focused on teaching people skills to deal with their ADHD through the following module: Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, Interpersonal Effectiveness and Distress Tolerance, Impulsivity/Hyperactivity and Attention.
Its efficacy is proven because the control patients on a waiting list tended to have worsening troubles with attention and hyperactivity while waiting for treatment. However, those receiving the therapy fared better, as measured by the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI), which assesses emotional regulation and impulse control.
While it is technically not psychotherapy, ADHD coaching is gaining popularity as a way of managing symptoms and quality of life for people with ADHD. Though there is no standardized protocol, this type of coaching usually includes goal-setting and homework, discussing successes and roadblocks, and problem-solving.
Coaches used text messages, emails, or phone call reminders to help clients meet their goals.
People were encouraged to use self-rewards or rewards from the coaches or others.
Supportive therapy is a form of therapy that helps clients optimize the coping skills that they already have so that these strategies can be used to reduce distress and manage symptoms, such as time management and organization.
Interpersonal therapy7 is typically employed to address issues that may have developed between a client and others due to misunderstandings from their ADHD symptoms, such as if their forgetfulness or procrastination are affecting those in their lives.
One key feature of this type of therapy is that the therapist may use it to help the client see the difference between their inner experience and how their behaviours affect others.
This type of therapy may also address personal issues such as a sense of failure or low self-esteem, that relate to the person's ability to cope with their ADHD symptoms.
Group therapy can be a helpful way for people with ADHD to learn from other people dealing with similar challenges and how they have dealt with or overcome them.
A specific type of group therapy for ADHD-I (Inattentive Type) called CBT for ADHD-I teaches group members planning, how to start activities and end activities, lifestyle changes, and how to troubleshoot where they have issues in these areas.
It combines applying the techniques in the in-person sessions and homework outside of the groups. Mindfulness meditation is also practiced to help group members reduce stress and improve attention regulation.
Narrative therapy is helpful in people with ADHD to help reduce the self-stigma they may experience. For example, many people with ADHD tell themselves they are lazy and underachieving, leading them to wonder what the purpose of trying is and thus becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Narrative therapy can help people with ADHD externalize their issues so the lack of attention becomes the problem rather than "I am the problem." This type of therapy can also help people identify the "sparkling moments" when things are different from the stories they tell themselves so that they can see their strengths rather than their challenges.
One study of school-aged girls who participated in narrative group therapy found improved school performance after the treatment because they identified and replaced negative self-beliefs. Narrative therapy also increased their ability to see that they could find their solutions to problems (as age-appropriate).
For children with ADHD, typically, there are two significant ways that therapy is delivered: by parents and by teachers, each for different reasons. However, both methods are collaborative, with parents and teachers working together, regardless of which one is leading.
In parent-delivered behavioural ten therapies, parents will be taught:
In teacher-delivered behavioural therapies, teachers learn similar strategies: how to teach children with ADHD to address their challenges, how to help them with time management and organization and how to help them overcome emotional and behavioural difficulties challenges.