Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder that affects the ability of a child to socialize, communicate, and interact effectively with other people. Children who have Asperger’s syndrome often display social awkwardness and an all-encompassing interest in very specific topics. If your child has Asperger’s syndrome, you may feel scared of what the future may bring, be unsure how to help your child, and experience a wide range of difficult emotions. You may have known that something was different about your child from the moment he or she was born, but as your child got older, the challenges he or she faces also grew, leaving you at a loss for how to help your child. The experienced staff at Ascent Children’s Health System has helped many children just like yours successfully manage the symptoms of the disorder and go on to live a happy, healthy, independent life.
Why Seek Treatment for Asperger’s Syndrome?
If your child is struggling with some of the common symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome, it is important to see a doctor immediately to begin intervention before his or her problems become severe. Some of the warning signs of Asperger’s syndrome include:
- Unusual non-verbal communication, such as lack of eye contact, few facial expressions, and awkward gestures
- Appearing to be confused by the emotions of others or being sensitive to others’ feelings
- Having a hard time reading other people and understanding humorous comments
- Engaging in one-sided conversations without noticing the response of the listener
- Speaking in a monotonous, rigid, or fast tone
- Intense obsession with one or two highly specific, narrow subjects
Early intervention can help your child learn effective communication techniques, develop lasting friendships, and correct any gross and fine motor difficulties. While it’s normal for children to be egocentric or have a vested interest in a particular topics, children who have Asperger’s syndrome experience these symptoms in a much more pronounced fashion. Asperger’s syndrome can impact the ways in which your child forms friendships with peers, completes school work, and functions in daily life.
A child-centered healing center that employs many disciplines working together is the ideal solution for a child who has Asperger’s syndrome. The advantages to having a healing center that houses so many professionals under one roof includes increased communications among caregivers, detailed care plan meetings focused upon your child, consistency in treatments, and a dedicated treatment team.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
At Ascent Children’s Health Services, our philosophy is based upon the recognition that each family who comes to us has unique life circumstances, challenges, and victories, and each child we treat is a similarly unique person. We work hard to enhance the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development of each child who comes to us for help as we promote optimal independence and hope for recovery. In this way, Ascent is able to be certain that each child we treat will receive the most appropriate and effective level of care. We treat the whole child – not simply the symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome— and our methods include healing all aspects of each child – mind, body, and spirit.
Treatment Options for Asperger’s Syndrome at Ascent Children’s Health Services
When you come to us with a referral, the first step in our therapeutic process is to have your child undergo a series of evaluations given by our treatment team to determine the severity of your child’s Asperger’s syndrome, any co-occurring disorders, other life challenges, and types of treatments that may be most effective for your child. We’ll take the results of these examinations and sit down with you and your child to create a care plan based upon your child’s individual needs. These evaluations will also help us to determine the level of care your child needs. Therapies for Asperger’s syndrome will be tailored to the needs of your child and may include the following:
Physical Therapy: As children who have Asperger’s syndrome often struggle with the development of fine and gross motor skills, a physical therapist can help your child to develop these skills through the usage of various techniques. This will allow your child to participate in more physical activities and hone fine motor skills for such activities as handwriting and eating.
Occupational Therapy: An occupational therapist can help a child who has Asperger’s syndrome by working with them to tolerate specific sensory issues. Through a variety of sensory techniques, your child will learn to tolerate feelings on the body that he or she had struggled with, such as tags on the back of clothing or new textures of food, to help desensitize them to these sensations.
Communication and Social Skills Training: Children who have Asperger’s syndrome are often able to learn the unwritten rules of communication and socialization when taught in a very specific fashion. This type of training can also help your child to learn to speak in a natural rhythm and understand communication techniques like humor, gestures, eye contact, tone of voice, and sarcasm. This type of therapy is often used in both individual and group therapy settings to allow your child to practice his or her skills with peers.
Medications: Asperger’s syndrome is not a curable condition, however, there are certain types of medication that may be able to help control some of the specific symptoms of the disorder. By controlling these symptoms, your child can more appropriately engage in social situations and focus at school. Medications may be used to improve anxiety, depression, or hyperactivity in children with Asperger’s syndrome.
Family Involvement: Family involvement in your child’s care is vital for continuity of care at home and in our programs. Family sessions are child-specific and will involve educating you to elicit more positive responses, ensure that communication is open, and make certain that all involved in your child’s care are on the same page. We may spend time watching you interact with your child in order to help you see ways in which your interactions may be improved.
In addition to our standard treatments, we also offer a number of experiential therapeutic modalities. These may include:
- Nutrition and meal planning
- Handwriting Without Tears
- Sensory rooms
- Therapy gym
- Feeding clinics
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
When you come to us with a referral from the doctor, we assess your child to determine the appropriate level of care for their needs. We offer Child Health Management Services (CHMS) that work with developmentally delayed children on a day program and outpatient basis. We also offer Rehabilitative Services for Persons with Mental Illness (RSPMI) for children with mental disorders on a day treatment and outpatient basis. The evaluations will help us choose the best program for your child.
Annually, we reassess your child to determine if he or she still needs our care. If it is determined that your child no longer needs our services, Ascent Children’s Health Services will create a formal discharge plan that includes all of your child’s continuing care needs. Some children may transition from our day program to our outpatient therapy program or from our outpatient services into school-based treatment. We’ll continue to assess your child’s progress and visit the home at a scheduled time to help ensure your child is maintaining his or her progress.