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At Empowering Choices, we want to assist families and/or individuals who have someone they support who has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum disorder.  Our goal is to assist families in finding and developing new supportive techniques to better assist and support their family member.  Even though far more is known about autism than even just a decade ago, there is still a great deal of misunderstanding in the general public about what works best with people who have autism.  All too often, well-meaning family and friends, still want to say that either a child with autism is “just stubborn” or “bad parenting” is responsible for “bad behaviors”.  In regards to autism, nothing could be farther from the truth.  Understanding the complexity of autism spectrum disorders, provides families with better tools to best support the individual with an autism spectrum disorder.  At times, our consultants provide as much of a support to the family members through validation as they do in providing new ways of helping the individual with autism.  

Support

When a child is first diagnosed a family may experience a variety of different reactions.  Families are impacted emotionally, martially, financially, and among siblings.  When a child is first diagnosed, families can become hit the hardest as they are struggling to understand what is different about their child.  Guilt, blame, anger, relief, a sense of being over whelmed, and a sense of loss are some of the most powerful and common emotions.  Even within today’s society, parents  are still blamed for the cause of the neurological condition of their child–many parents also blame themselves.  This is also one of the most important and tender of times for families to have the support they very desperately are looking for.  Our consultants are well trained at being able to begin to walk parents through understanding: what autism or Aspersers is; what to expect; how to support and understand their child; and what therapies are most effective. 

In regards to children or adolescents, our consultants can provide support to building routine and structure at home, school, or other environments, consulting for IEP support, and assisting with understanding how state and federal laws within the class room affect their rights as parents.

Diagnosis

Consultants are able to diagnosis an autism spectrum disorder under the DSM V criteria; however, Empowering Choices does not completely agree with the DSM V leaving out Aspersers disorder and PDD NOS.  Our consultants see both of these as legitimate conditions such as: fetal alcohol and drug affected syndromes and PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome).  We believe that the decades of research worldwide have proven Aspergers and PDD NOS diagnoses, which are very different than Autism and should not be simply narrowed down to descriptions of symptoms where individuals struggle while ignoring the complexity of how the conditions that affect a variety of areas in a person’s life. 

We also recognize that even though diagnosing has become substantially better in the last four decades, many adults with high functioning autism and/or Aspersers Syndrome have gone undiagnosed.  We have, and are able to diagnosis, these neurological conditions in adults.  What is interesting, is that just as in children and teenagers, adults gaining the diagnosis of Asperger’s is also very freeing.  It is quite often for us to hear the statement, “For all these years, I just thought I was weird or something was wrong with me!” 

In regards to children or adolescents, our consultants can provide support to building routine and structure at home, school, or other environments, consulting for IEP support, and assisting with understanding how state and federal laws within the class room affect their rights as parents.

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