... If your child is diagnosed with cancer, people send flowers ... If your child is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, people look the other way ...

Autism / Aspergers

“If your child is diagnosed with cancer, people send flowers and your friends and family asking what they can do to help. If your child is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, people look the other way when they see you in the grocery store.”

Autism and Asperger’s are on the rise. Some say the numbers are reaching epidemic proportions! Chances are you or someone you know is living with a child with this diagnosis. There are a whole variety of emotions and challenges that go along with being diagnosed with Autism or Asperger’s. It can be very frustrating because, depending on the severity, often others do not know that the child has a disability, so the expectation is that the parent just learn to “control your child.” This is why it is so important to seek professional help in dealing with this issue. Psychotherapy, combined with other important services, can help the family and the individual to learn to deal with this diagnosis and understand the impact it has on the person and the family. At Whitson Family Therapy, we have several therapists who specialize in this important issue.
My son with high functioning autism works with a therapist at Whitson Family Therapy. His repertoire with her is great. She is patient and knowledgeable. She incorporates play therapy into her sessions and teaches him valuable skills while he has fun. He looks forward to his sessions. I look forward to him growing socially and emotionally. ~Jacob’s Mom, Murrieta


Neuropsychological Assessment: Early intervention can make a huge difference in the prognosis of a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. In order to provide appropriate treatment, an accurate diagnosis obtained by a thorough and comprehensive evaluation is absolutely critical. Often, individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder also suffer from anxiety, ADHD, or a variety of other issues. A thorough Neuropsychological Evaluation can identify all of the issues that may be present, which will aid in the development of a comprehensive treatment plan. At Whitson Family Therapy, we have a psychologist who specializes in Neuropsychology, a rare specialty in this community.

Social Skills Training: Unfortunately, one of the most common issues of a person with an Autism Spectrum Disorder is their difficulty picking up on social cues. This can cause a whole variety of issues and challenges in the person’s life. This is why one of the most critical components of treating an Autism Spectrum Disorder is teaching social skills. At Whitson Family Therapy, we have several therapists who specialize in treating Autism Spectrum Disorders who are skilled at teaching and improving social skills.

Family Therapy: The stress of dealing with a serious diagnosis can wreak havoc on a family. For individuals just facing the diagnosis, there are grief and loss issues that need to be addressed and resolved. For families who have been dealing with the diagnosis and the issues presented by the diagnosis, the long-term stress can deteriorate relationships. Siblings often find dealing with the diagnosis very challenging. Often the needs of other family members gets put on the back burner, and this can create conflict and resentment. If you find yourself in this situation, it is imperative that you seek treatment. Family therapy can help repair relationships, teach all of the family members how to communicate more effectively, and ensure that everyone is getting their needs met.

Couple’s Therapy: The divorce rate of parents with a child with Autism is staggering. The stress of such a diagnosis is one of the biggest stressors a couple can face. There are so many complicated issues: how to handle the schedule of all of the therapies and treatments, what decisions are best for the child, each parent’s way of dealing with the stress, resolving feelings of the loss of the dream of what you wanted for your child, and on and on… If you find yourself not communicating with your spouse, arguing a lot, or just shutting off emotionally, seek help before the situation worsens. Couple’s therapy can be extremely effective in helping people cope with their feelings and find ways to come together with these difficult issues rather than having it tear the couple apart.

Parenting Classes: For a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, being calm, consistent, and predictable as a parent is imperative. Love and Logic ® teaches parents how to do this. Not only is Love and Logic ® effective with children with disabilities, it works amazingly well with all children. So if you have one child with Autism/ Asperger’s and other children who do not have the diagnosis, Love and Logic ® teaches you how to be consistent in your discipline with all of the children. When children see their siblings all being held accountable (to the degree that can be expected of them), resentment is reduced and harmony is increased. Also, Love and Logic ® gives parents many effective tools that reduce parental frustration and allow you to enjoy parenting more.