Is Group Therapy a Good Option for Managing Autism Spectrum Disorder?
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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that impacts a lot of different areas in a person’s life. ASD affects the way a person learns and grows. It can make interacting with others and learning how to thrive in social situations more challenging. A person on the autism spectrum experiences the world around them in unique ways and, therefore, will have different strengths.
ASD is considered a spectrum disorder because there is a diverse array of symptoms people experience. The intensity of symptoms can be anywhere from mild to severe. A person living with ASD will need different levels of support depending on their personal experiences and goals for themselves.
Common Challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Adults
Due to the way they process information and sensory input, individuals living with ASD can develop certain behaviors and routines that are predictable and comfortable. Sometimes they will need help developing skills that will help them venture out of their comfort zones in order to progress in different areas of their lives. While ASD can present differently in each individual, there are some common challenges that many people might face.
Symptoms of ASD include:
- Feeling uncomfortable interacting with other people and preferring to be alone
- Being unable to deal with changes to routine, big or small
- Having a difficult time interpreting social cues and the behavior of others
- Avoidance of new experiences or opportunities
- Having a hard time regulating emotions
These challenges can lead to difficulty in everyday life. They can contribute to problems in maintaining relationships which can lead to social isolation. Some of these challenges might affect the ability to fulfill work or school obligations. Others might keep a person from discovering new experiences that they will really enjoy.
Management of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Strategies for the management of ASD focus mainly on reducing the symptoms that may keep people from accomplishing their goals. This can be done in a variety of ways through the development of life skills and tools for coping. There are three areas that can be focused on when developing a management plan: behavioral, developmental, and social-related.
Therapies that focus on behavior patterns have been shown to be a very effective part of managing ASD symptoms. In particular, a therapy called applied behavior analysis (ABA) helps people on the autism spectrum. Behavioral therapies can help people learn different social and interpersonal skills as well as what is expected behavior in certain situations. These kinds of therapies happen both in clinical settings and in natural settings with in-the-moment guidance.
Sometimes individuals on the autism spectrum need to work a little harder to develop skills such as language or motor skills. These kinds of skills are often worked on with a variety of therapies. The most common is speech and language therapies to help a person learn to communicate their needs more easily and understand the people around them.
ASD can affect a person’s ability to socialize and build emotional bonds in many ways. A social-relational approach to the management of ASD will usually involve activities that help motivate and increase interest in social interactions. During these activities, they will have the chance to identify their goals for social interaction and work on the skills they will need to reach them.
Group Therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorder Challenges
Participating in group therapy sessions that are designed for those struggling with symptoms of ASD is highly effective. Group treatments, therapy sessions, and recreational activities give individuals a structured environment where they can develop skills. They can then take the skills they learn and apply them in practical ways.
During group activities, individuals will work on various skills with the help of a trained professional that specializes in the management of ASD, which include:
- Stress reduction and emotional regulation
- Building communication skills
- Handling changes and transitions in positive ways
- Managing uncomfortable reactions to sensory stimulation
- Developing emotional bonds with peers
- Goal setting, planning, and organizational skills
By working on different skills in a group of their peers, they can feel comfortable being themselves. Moral support from peers can provide extra encouragement while also offering the chance to make meaningful social connections. By working toward success, individuals can increase their confidence and self-esteem.
Alter Wellness Care
At Alter Wellness Care, we specialize in the treatment of co-occurring mental health challenges that can accompany autism spectrum disorder. In addition to our individual cognitive behavioral therapy options, we also have several group sessions available to our clients. We offer skills development, interpersonal process, psycho-educational, and acceptance therapy groups, among others.
The Alter Wellness Care team is committed to offering the best care to every person who needs it. We want every one of our clients to feel supported and empowered to achieve their goals. Our goal is to help our clients find success in every area of their lives. Our individualized treatment plans are developed to meet all of our client’s needs. We also offer a variety of treatment options that fit into their lifestyle so that participation is as easy as possible.
It can be difficult for a person on the autism spectrum to find the treatment that meets all of their needs for mental or emotional challenges. Individual or group therapy sessions can help you or a loved one face anything when you feel comfortable and supported during treatment. Group treatment and education are highly effective because it creates a safe and structured environment where you will be surrounded by peers who share the same goals. With help from trained professionals along the way, you can develop and practice a wide variety of skills that will help you be more successful. Call (866) 311-3510 to find out how the compassionate team at Alter Wellness Care can help you.
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