This two day event is a response to the hundreds of parents and professionals around B.C. who have asked ACT to provide training on the complex needs of more able teens and young adults with ASD. It is widely recognized that this group of young people do need specialized support in developing healthy relationships. One of the greatest challenges they face as they engage in social relations at school, in higher education, in the workplace and in the community is developing skills to navigate the social minefield of social and sexual relations.
It was Michelle Garcia Winner, innovator of Social Thinking and a favourite of ACT audiences, who urged ACT to bring Dr. Isabelle Hénault to B.C. to help us fill this gap in our understanding. Dr. Henault is highly regarded internationally as a presenter who excels in helping community professionals, including school teams, and parents, provide relevant resources to enable this vulnerable group of young people to safely gain greater confidence in their personal and social interactions. She has spent two years working at Dr. Tony Attwood's clinic in Australia working with a group of young people to further develop her skills. Participants in this event will find many insights to empower these young people to launch themselves safely into the wider social world.
Day 1: Development Of Adaptive Social and Sexual Skills For Individuals With Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome
The presentation will elaborate on strategies to improve the social and sexual skills of individuals with AS. The following topics will be addressed:
(1) Friendship: personal values, personality and interpreting different messages;
(2) Emotions: "Mind Reading" software, how to read emotions of the face, expressing emotions related to sexuality;
(3) Communication: verbal and non verbal, Theory of Mind;
(4) Sexual behaviour: enhancing appropriate behaviours, hyper- and hyposensitivity of the body;
(5) Intimacy: in couples and families, misinterpretations, demands;
(6) Interpersonal relationships in different contexts: school, work, friends, couples.
Finally, case illustrations and examples will be discussed.
Day 2: Emotion Management and Strategies for individuals With Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome
The presentation explains why children and adults with Asperger's syndrome are more prone to develop mood disorders and also explains strategies that can help such individuals learn about and manage emotions. The Cognitive Behavior Therapy includes affective education and cognitive restructuring, i.e. improving the understanding of emotions and changing the way the person perceives and responds to emotions. The concept of an emotional toolbox is used to provide a greater range of strategies to manage feelings. The Exploring Feelings activities from Tony Attwood and the CAT-KIT from Kirsten Callisen and colleagues will be presented.