Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD): Services
Business Office: 1137 Huntington Drive, Building A South Pasadena, CA 91030 323.344.0123
Santa Clarita/Valencia Office: 27201 Tourney Road, Suite 201-U Valencia, CA 91355 661.286.1200
Herman & Associates has developed an expertise in working with clients who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome (AS), and Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD). We have nearly 30 years of experience in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of individuals who have problems with social communication and executive funcitoning skills. Herman & Associates provides the following services:
We embrace the complexities of working with individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Our experience grew out of our assessment practice. While administering psychological evaluations, we noted a cluster of specific characteristics suggesting ASD. These are:
We quickly began understanding the unique life challenges of individual's on the autistic spectrum. Through our work with many individuals on the autistic spectrum, we have been privileged to develop an "insiders" perspective of the way the neurotypical world is viewed through autistic eyes. These individual's courage taught us a great deal about their coping mechanisms, social struggles, and response to both success and failure. Our interest in these individuals launched an extensive review of the literature into the field of Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
Every person is an individual and this is certainly true for people who have ASD. That stated, there are a number of tendencies expressed by individuals on the Spectrum.
Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder
According to the DSM-5, Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder involves persistent problems with the use of verbal and nonverbal social communication. It includes problems with communication for social purposes (such as greetings and sharing information), inability to adapt communication to context, listener, or context, difficulties following rules for conversation (reciprocity, rephrasing, reading and responding to verbal and nonverbal cues), and problems reading inferred social language (e.g., idioms, humor, metaphors, multiple meanings that depend on context).
Individuals diagnosed with Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder (SCD) may have previously been diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), or Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD). The DSM-5 recognizes only SCD and ASD. The defining difference between individual’s with SCD and ASD is that people with ASD have restricted/repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. These restricted patterns are not present in SCD. The SCD diagnosis is commonly made when the interpersonal social demands exceed the individual’s limited capacity. While these deficits may have been suspected in elementary school, they are sometimes not diagnosed until later in life. It is important to note that these social communication deficits result in a functional limitation that reach across multiple life contexts.
Some Aspects of ASD
Below are some common characteristics of individuals with ASD and Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder. This is a short list.
- Extreme sensory sensitivity (e.g., touch, taste, loud noises, visual stimulation), which often leads to avoidance of anything that would be potentially overwhelming, including emotions.
- The tendency to become quickly overloaded with powerful information or emotions produces a need to rapidly diminish the intensity of incoming material.
- Split attention span that is heavily dependent on the degree of their interest in a topic.
- Restricted interests and exceptional memory in areas of high interest.
- Egocentric behavior, struggles with empathy, and difficulty learning from experience.
- Social isolation and often residual emotional trauma resulting from excessive teasing and/or bullying during childhood (particularly middle school).
- Adherence to rules and routines sometimes to their own detriment.
- Most individuals with ASD are sweet, kind, and loving individuals. Some express an attraction to the military or other means of obtaining or demonstrating personal power.
- Obsessive behaviors and rumination on particular topics often used to reduce tension and anxiety.
- Disinterest in hygiene (e.g., brushing teeth, showering, looking in a mirror).
- Impaired ability to read nonverbal social cues from others. This, combined with diminished attention and empathy, generates a substantial degree of social anxiety. These individuals struggle to predict social outcomes and are commonly surprised by social events.
The starting point for many people is with a comprehensive psychodiagnostic testing to confirm ASD and rule out the impact of other similar issues. Herman & Associates completes ASD evaluations for children, adolescents, and adults.
- Assessments for:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD / ADD).
- Learning Disabilities in reading (dyslexia), math, writing, processing speed, fine-motor coordination, etc.
- Intellectually Gifted
- Twice Exceptional (2E).
- Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder
- Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD), such as Asperger's Syndrome (AS) and High Functioning Autism (HFA).
- Substance Abuse Disorders.
- Affect Regulation, Anger Management, and Other Emotional Issues (e.g., depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, OCD, generalized anxiety disorder).
Our psychoeducational assessments meet or exceed the testing criteria for most professional review boards (e.g., the College board, SAT, ACT, GRE, LSAT, California State Bar Exam, MCAT, among others).
ASD Coaching / Therapy
Visit our home page (www.studyskillclasses.com) for more information.
- Improve affect regulation and coping skills.
- Increase the ability to initiate an appropriate task while inhibiting off-task behaviors.
- Improve organization, time management, and self-discipline abilities.
- Improve social/relationship skills.
- Job coaching, interviewing and monitoring of employment.
- Independent living skills (e.g., grooming, cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping).
- Appropriate recreational activities (there is more to life besides gaming!)
- Self-monitoring skills.
- Life-balance skills (regulating basic biology - eating, sleeping, exercise).
Dr. Herman was a member of an elite research team that published one of the very few longitudinal studies completed tracking special education students with learning disabilities, attention disorders, and autistic spectrum disorders from childhood into adulthood. This research team's publications are available for downloading here. The research team developed a set of attributes that predicts adult success. These "Success Attributes" have little to do with education or intelligence, but they are rather a set of personal characteristics and responses to struggle/challenges. This is a fascinating read. Dr. Herman and his research colleagues presented these papers at local, national, and international conferences.
Team Approach: We strongly believe in a team approach and we invite clients to include significant others (parent, partner, therapist, psychiatrist, etc.) when appropriate. During assessments, we invite referring professionals to join our team for our internal case conferences. We consult regularly with other professionals that include:
- Speech and Language therapists.
- Educational therapists.
- Occupational therapists.
- Physical therapists.
- School districts staff (we are available to attend 504 Plan meetings, IEP meetings, and we partner with the school districts and parents to complete "Independent Educational Evaluations - IEE").
- Educational Advocates.