The fundamental goal of the psychologist in working with children and youth/students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is to encourage and expand their own resources: emotional, communication, motivation and intellectual potentials, for the purpose of a more quality and independent life in adult age.
The work of the psychologist
Specific goals and tasks that stem from this:
- Participating in the process of communicational and emotional opening up of the student. With the help of methods and techniques of dance and movement therapy or/and with the help of conversation, ASD students are encouraged to construct their communicational and emotional opening up. (encouraging two-way communication, encouraging expression of emotions and wishes, as well as the recognition of one’s own and others’ emotions)
- Giving support to children and youth/students with ASD in their everyday activities (studying, acquiring various skills, etc.) – with the help of methods and the therapy techniques of dance and movement or conversation students are encouraged to raise their own awareness of the concept of self and to build self-respect, to build their own responsibility, autonomy in decision making and their general independence.
- determining specific undesirable behaviors, as well as offering adequate help and support in raising the level of tolerance to frustrations by continuously teaching relaxation exercises/techniques, gradually bringing closer/facing stressful situations, reframing frustrating situations by teaching adequate socially desirable behavior (behavioral modification).
- cooperation with parents, other staff members and members of the expert team
An individual approach is used in working with children and youth, however, whenever and wherever it is necessary and possible, it is desirable to work in pairs or in smaller groups with more students, which aids in building their social relations and relationships, but, it can, in this same manner, develop their interests, increase their awareness, sharpen their already acquired skills and abilities, etc. This is especially possible with children and youth that have shown satisfactory achievement in verbal openness and that have the possibility to follow, and even initiate, different themes in conversations or participate in more complex activities.