Family Based Treatment When a Child is on the Autism Spectrum

CE Hours: 6.0

Thursday, January 25, 2018, PA Counseling Services, Lebanon, PA
Thursday, May 10, 2018, Northwestern Human Services, Colmar PA
Friday, March 23, 2018, Philhaven Conference Center, Mt Gretna, PA

8:30am to 3:30pm

Children and adolescents on the Autism Spectrum, already at risk, become exceptionally vulnerable when the family is struggling to function, relationships are fragile and negative emotions are rampant. For caregivers to effectively parent the child or for therapists to effectively help the family with the child, actions must be grounded in an understanding of the psychology of the child on the spectrum.  This workshop, therefore, provides an in-depth overview of what autism is, how it impacts social-emotional processing and emotion-regulation, and the challenges this can create for the child, the siblings and the caregivers.  Also identified are common negative family patterns that can exacerbate the social-emotional and behavioral problems of the child on the Spectrum.   An opportunity is provided to practice identifying and changing these patterns through viewing videotapes of family sessions.  

Although the primary focus of this workshop is on how the family based therapist can facilitate more functional family relationships and improve parenting functions, a review of evidence based interventions currently used to support children on the Autism Spectrum will be provided.  The child is likely to have an IEP at school and be involved with other service providers.  This means the case management, service coordination role of the family based therapist is often critical when working with a family who has a child with a developmental disability.  Opportunities are provided through videotape review to learn strategies for communicating with a child or adult on the spectrum and for helping parents adjust their expectations of the child and learn to soothe them when they escalate or become dysregulated.  


As a result of attending this CE activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the DSM-V diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum
  2. Explain the link between common behavioral problems and the psychology of the child on the Spectrum (cognitive rigidity, difficulty with perspective taking and emotion processing, etc)
  3. Identify individually focused supports and services that have evidence of being helpful to the child on the Spectrum
  4. Identify common negative family interactional patterns that escalate and undermine the functioning of a child who is on the Spectrum
  5. Describe strategies for highlighting and correcting caregivers’ mismatch between expectations for the child and abilities of the child
  6. Describe strategies for supporting caregivers to become more effective in de-escalating and soothing the child who is having a meltdown   

Frequently Asked Questions
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