Assessments for Adults with Cognitive or Mental Health Concerns

Do you have a family member who is struggling with daily activities due to difficulties with memory, concentration, safety awareness or poor insight? Whether this change in functioning is related to a normal aging process or is part of a mental health diagnosis, On The Spectrum Therapy provides functional assessments of daily living for adults of all ages.

Functional assessments may include any of the following:

– functional mobility (moving around in one’s home environment or in the community)

– self-care abilities (hygiene, bathing, toileting, oral hygiene etc.)

– household tasks (cleaning, cooking, laundry, sweeping, dusting etc.)

– daily routines (organizing a schedule, time management, sleep hygiene etc.)

Recommendations that maximize independence and safety are provided following each assessment.

 

Back to School Success

Many parents of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder look forward to September when they can get back in to some sense of ‘routine.’

Finding adequate supports over the summer is a common challenge.  Keeping children with ASD ‘productively’ busy can be a real struggle for families.  September is a time for new beginnings which often includes: new teachers, new classrooms, new peers, new educational assistants and often new schools.  This may even be a time for new rules, new expectations and new challenges.  Despite the transition, most parents welcome the support of the school staff in engaging the child in new and innovative ways.

September is a time to enter into your child’s school with an open mind.

September is a time to set up new expectations with your child (particularly VISUAL rules) that may not have ‘gone over well’ last school year.

September is a time to facilitate that little bit of growth and independence in your child (for example: teaching your child how to participate in making his or her lunch for school).

September is a time to let go of last school year’s frustrations, annoyances, tears, irritations and fears and start with a fresh perspective.

September is a time to build relationships with those who support your child.

September is a time for parents to have some time to enjoy an uninterrupted cup of hot coffee or tea.

September is a time to be proactive and contact your child’s school to set up a meeting and get the year rolling in a positive way.

We all know that September brings with it a new set of parenting challenges because it is yet another transition from ‘free-time’ to ‘work-time.’ Understand that ‘newness’ is anxiety-provoking for your child and using transition objects (a favorite toy or snack) may be helpful to facilitate your child’s steps out of the house.

Encourage your child to share something special from the summer months with his or her peers, in whatever way he or she is comfortable.

Be kind to yourself, breathe deeply and try to be patient in September while the schools sort out how they can best achieve goals collaboratively.

Congratulations on making it through another summer! Best wishes for this school year!

 

Help, I’m an adult with ASD.

Many adults with ASD (either diagnosed or suspected) may come to a point where they are wanting to achieve certain goals but have limited awareness of where to begin.  The search for independence, autonomy and meaningful relationships and/or work can be strong yet there may be deficits in functional abilities that prevent a person from achieving success.

On The Spectrum Therapy Services assists adults with ASD in determining SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-oriented) goals and in building improved insight and awareness into the inner workings of the brain affected by ASD.  Helping an adult to become more self-aware and more in-tune with the surrounding environment (culturally, socially, physically and emotionally) provides an individual with an ability to begin to reflect on one’s behavior and the impact it may have on others.  Reading others’ emotions, body language, tone of voice, figures of speech, sarcasm and general mood is a skill that requires effort, concentration and a fair amount of emotional energy.

A key component to dissect is MOTIVATION.  Therapy sessions are geared towards identifying motivators (what provides ‘meaning’ to an individual?) and in creating a step-by-step action plan to facilitate an individual’s success in goal attainment.

Using a strengths-based approach, On The Spectrum Therapy Services works with adults of all ages to promote participation in meaningful occupations so that individuals with ASD can feel efficacious, proud and productive.

 

 

Adults Developing Independence

Many young adults (ages 16-30 years) with Autism Spectrum Disorder require assistance with learning the skills to become independent in daily living.  On The Spectrum Therapy Services provides individualized support in acquiring the skills necessary to achieve maximum independence and improved mental health.

Areas of Intervention for an ADULT with ASD may include addressing the following:

  • Self-management:  Developing schedules, routines, time management, prioritizing, goal setting, determining motivators
  • Self-Care:  Learning the importance of proper grooming, hygiene, sleep hygiene, nutrition, dental care
  • Stress Management:  Developing self-awareness, triggers to stress/anxiety, coping strategies, relaxation practices
  • Meal Preparation:  Meal planning, grocery shopping, budgeting, safe cooking skills, kitchen safety, healthy eating
  • Transportation:  Learning bus routes, accessing public transit, pre-planning routes, safety awareness in the community
  • Social Skills:  Learning the impact of behavior on social perceptions, preparing for job interviews, preparing for dating, body language, gestures, eye contact, figures of speech, nuances in non-verbal communication, navigating family dynamics/relationships with family and friends, initiating/maintaining and ending conversations

Adults with Autism

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Do you have an adult child who has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? Are you an adult with ASD?

ASD is a lifelong, neurodevelopmental disorder so it would stand to reason that our children with ASD grow up to be adults with ASD.  As adulthood approaches, many hurdles have already been tackled and it is the refinement of skills that is needed.  In some cases, some of the early childhood issues remain problematic or challenging.   As you know, when you meet one person with autism, you meet one person with autism.  There are no two people with ASD that are alike.  Each person has unique strengths, talents, skills and a personality that shines.

Issues of adulthood may be very different from the early days of picky eating, toilet-training difficulties, sleep deprivation and managing morning routines.  However, there are various concerns that may continue to exist for the adult with Autism.  Since some of the daily challenges stem from having difficulties in the domains of social communication, organization (behavior) and managing self-regulation of emotions, some adults with ASD will have these questions:

  • How do I organize myself to get through the day?
  • How do I prepare a meal?
  • How do I shop for groceries?
  • How do I pay my bills?
  • How do I get a job?
  • How do I keep my friendships?
  • How do I ask a person out on a date?
  • How do I manage intimate relationships?
  • How do I interact with people at work to make it a pleasant place to be?

For parents or caregivers of adults with ASD, there may be more significant issues that are of concern in day to day living.  Depending on the person’s cognitive abilities and communication skills, each adult child will function at varying degrees of independence.  Some adults with ASD will require supported living environments.  In this case, how does the caregiver promote the ongoing development of independent living skills in that individual? What are the barriers to that individual living a more fulfilling independent existence?

If you would like more guidance in the area of supporting an adult with ASD, please call 204 415-7656 to book your therapist.  Help is only a phone call away.