ASPERGER’S & HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM
Families with a young adult struggling with Asperger’s Syndrome have already experienced considerable suffering and pain by the time we see them. The young adult suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome has faced numerous periods of isolation and alienation, re-enforced by fears of trying new things and a sense of awkwardness in dealing with situations of greater intimacy or emotional intensity.
Young adults diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome are generally at a point where change is necessary. Typically, parents ask our OPI Living Program team about one or more of the following observed behaviors:
“How do you deal with excessive dependency, rigidity of thinking, computer addiction, unusual dietary practices or personal habits, issues of isolation, resistance to organizing themselves, challenges with persevering, difficulties in dealing with complex institutional settings such as school or work environments?”
Our response is to work around the clock as a team for the struggling young adult, utilizing a multi-focal and comprehensive therapeutic approach that spans cognitive behavioral therapy and dynamic psychotherapy to experiential and pharmacologic support.
But the touchstone element is to always focus on the individual and family “where they are, right now,” establishing achievable goals and milestones in multiple areas of development with the understanding that success in one provides hope and support for success in others.
We look at it practically, beginning with “You have to show up, not only for classes, but examinations, too. You have to prepare.” (We have been known to accompany students to classes as well as provide supervised study hours.)
We help participants experience new opportunities for creating positive energy; giving support and helping them cope with the stress of school as well as social engagement within academic settings.
Many times, if social alienation is not addressed, motivation to succeed in school may be affected.
Some young people get through high school simply by building a wall around themselves. Then when faced with going to college, life becomes even more complex.
For all OPI Living Programs, we address social issues by creating a space in which ALL our participants who are dealing with ALL their different conditions feel comfortable interacting and sharing with each other, thereby helping the young adult with Asperger’s Syndrome to learn to live in the “real world” where everyone is learning to cope.
Special “InVivo” groups focus on the experiential as well as didactic approaches to assist in social skills growth and enhancement.
Our experienced clinical team and personnel, dedicated Departments of Educational Services, Career and Volunteer Services, Extracurricular Activities, Life Coaching and Addiction Counseling Services along with our OPI Living facility location in Southern California make it possible for us to find opportunities that these young adults can truly get excited about to try new approaches and explore experiences from positive perspectives to build better confidence. Feelings of excitement and confidence are essential because they enable the young adult to have the emotional tools necessary to share a joyous part of themselves, which, when reflected back, helps create hope for the future.