613 – Engaging Teens on the Autism Spectrum

McDonough, Liz 2016
A Play-Based, Relational Approach

Much of autism treatment today is dominated by behavioral approaches focused on teaching specific skills to young children. But by the time adolescence rolls around, even the most verbal kids on the autism spectrum are still isolated, plagued with anxiety, and prone to meltdowns. What if there was an approach that was dynamic, play-based, and relational to harness their strengths while building a fuller sense of personhood? This workshop offers a fresh perspective to help verbal teens with autism spectrum disorder develop a healthy sense of self and a desire for friendships. You’ll learn how to:

  • Expand your autistic clients’ “tunnel vision” and develop a lively therapeutic connection with them
  • Alleviate anxiety related to developmental conflicts using role-playing and somatic resourcing
  • Use drama games to build relational skills like social reciprocity, perspective-taking, empathy, and a sense of humor

Liz McDonough, MFT, RDT, is a drama therapist who specializes in working with preteens, teens, and young adults on the autism spectrum and their families. She’s an adjunct professor at The California Institute of Integral Studies and has taught in the Autism Certificate Program at Alliant University.

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