The UW Autism Center provides individual counseling services to school-age children (seven years or older), adolescents, and young adults. The focus of the therapy is on developing emotional regulation and coping skills, with the goal of helping the individual appropriately deal with upsetting situations as independently as possible. Eligibility for individual counseling is determined on a case by case basis.
- A cognitive-behavior therapy approach (CBT) is used to teach individuals to recognize and appropriately express emotional states, regulate arousal through relaxation techniques, communicate assertively, solve problems systematically, and think about events in more balanced and realistic terms.
- Modeling, role play, and rehearsal are used to help individuals learn necessary skills, and handouts are created to help with generalization to home, school, and community settings.
- Family involvement is often a key to generalization and is encouraged during the course of treatment.
- The application of these skills to daily life and social situations is emphasized with review of basic social interaction skills as needed.
Individual Therapy for Parents
Parenting a child with an autism spectrum disorder can be a challenging experience, with a unique set of stresses and joys. Finding the time for parental self-care can be difficult, but is essential for promoting quality of life for parents and their children. Many parents find that they can benefit from meeting with a psychologist to address issues related to managing stress, decreasing anxiety, improving mood, and increasing social support. To assist with these and related issues, the University of Washington Autism Center now offers individual therapy and family consultation for parents of children with autism.