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The Needs of ASDs Go Beyond Mental Health

25 Oct

Working with psychologists, social workers, and counselors has been (and continues to be) priceless. ASDs have common, specific co-morbid conditions that are prolific mental health issues in the general population. Depression, anxiety, and AD/HD are diagnoses that my colleagues treat most typically and that my clients most often also contend with. My colleagues would argue that some of my clients struggles are more related to these mental conditions than their ASD.

I would disagree. But, that is not the scope of this post.

At the top of the hour, doors close for a fifty-minute session. Inside, concerns are presented, discussed, and therapy occurs. When the doors reopen and clients walk out, they aren’t seen or heard from for another week, month, or year. Phone calls are for crises management and emails are rare. Releases of information are signed for psychiatrists and perhaps even schools for “coordination of care”.

After four years of working in private practice and observing this model, I’ve always known my clinical practice is different in most all capacities, but I arrogantly assumed I was a better clinician, more dedicated to my clients. The reality is, I have a greater vision for my clients than management of their “conditions”. My vision for individuals with ASD transcends mental health to issues of empowerment, success, and acceptance. One could argue that these ideals are founded on healthy mental health, and I do not disagree. But the current service delivery paradigm of mental health is not effective for individuals with ASD.

I plan for the day when I will open a clinic with a multi-disciplinary focus solely for ASDs. Until then, there are times when sleeping is difficult because I wish I could do more. Just not yet.

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