As the incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) have exploded in the last 15 years, much progress has been made in understanding this complex developmental syndrome. People with ASDS are now recognized as a diverse group with a variety of diagnoses who vary widely in abilities and functioning levels. The defining features of those on “the spectrum” include difficulty with social skills and problems with reciprocal communication. People with ASDs may also engage in excessive rituals, have difficulty regulating their impulses, or display intense and focused interests. Many people with ASDs are either oversensitive or undersensitive to stimuli such as touch or sound. Some have particular talents, or “splinter skills”, and most are good visual learners. [Read more…]
Welcome to Our Blog!
This blog is written by the clinicians at Jonah Green and Associates, a mental health practice based in Kensington, MD that provides quality services for children, teens, families, and adults. It is intended as a resource for families who are seeking to expand their knowledge about mental health and mental health services, and also as a resource for families who are seeking quality mental health services, especially in the mid-Atlantic region. Please feel free to post questions and comments on any of the entries as well as on any topics or articles from our companion web site www.childandfamilymentalhealth.com.
In the 1950s people with intellectual disabilities generally lived in isolation within private homes or resided in institutions that offered little opportunity for productive activities. After viewing the poor treatment her mentally retarded older sister Rosemary received, Eunice Kennedy Shriver embarked on a multi-decade campaign of advocacy. In 1961 Shriver persuaded her brother President John F. Kennedy to create a division within the National Institutes of Health dedicated to improving the lives of children with developmental delay and disability. In 1962 she established a summer camp in the Washington, DC region for children with intellectual disabilities. She later helped found the Special Olympics, which have become the world’s largest year-round sports program for mentally disabled children and adults. More than 2.5 million athletes in 180 countries take part in competitions each year.
Many children and adolescents who present for mental health services experience difficulties in their peer relationships. They may encounter problems making and keeping friends, have trouble noticing social cues, or have a hard time expressing themselves. Both individual and family therapy can assist children and teens to gain skills for navigating their interpersonal environments. Therapists may help kids to develop their social skills via a number of methods: [Read more…]
If you are a parent of a child with an intellectual, learning, or developmental disability such as autism or Down Syndrome, you probably face particular challenges as your child approaches adulthood. Whereas parents of typical children face the challenge of the “empty nest syndrome”, you may be struggling to help your child grow in independence, even as you face an increased burden of care. As your child ages out of a full-time school program, available resources generally become both less available and less coordinated. The task of maximizing your child’s independence and relieving the burden of caretaking may begin to feel urgent. [Read more…]