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The Day's Topics

The Presenters

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Understanding and Helping Aspergerís Individuals with Psychotherapy Leslie Carter, Ph.D. will discuss individual psychotherapy issues common in Asperger's adults and how to set appropriate therapeutic goals for this population. She will suggest simple techniques to improve clarity of an Aspergerís diagnosis, help clinicians identify degrees of impairments in social, linguistic, sensory, and cognitive functioning, and teach therapists how to modify common therapy techniques to better serve the Aspergerís population. Dr. Carter will also discuss how to recognize when treatment is being impeded by Aspergerís complications and what to do about it. Treating the Asperger Adult: Mind and Body Asperger Syndrome affects the body as well as the mind. Changes to the diet to improve the intestinal health enhance the effectiveness of the therapistís treatment. Suzanne Lawton, ND will present several short cases to demonstrate these points. In addition, Dr. Lawton will propose natural alternatives to drug therapy for patients who are reluctant to use or donít respond well to conventional medications. Finally, Dr. Lawton will discuss pyroluria, an often-overlooked, but extremely common mental health condition in the Asperger community, caused by a blood disorder. Aspergerís Syndrome and Intimate Relationships: Key Issues and Interventions Lisa Lieberman, LCSW will summarize pertinent themes in AS marriages as well as suggestions for helpful interventions. Mental health clinicians are seeing increasing numbers of adults with ASD seeking counseling, both diagnosed and undiagnosed. Asperger marriages share many of the same features and challenges of regular marriages. As Stephen Shore, author of Beyond the Wall is fond of saying, persons with Asperger Syndrome (AS) are just like anyone else, "only more so." But there are also unique aspects to these relationships. If professionals are not educated and attuned to these differences, therapy will be, at best, ineffective, and possibly detrimental to AS couples. Psychopharmacology and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Lori J. Olson, PMHNP will present an overview of the commonly prescribed medications used to treat symptoms of ASD, medication side effect profiles, and the types of symptoms commonly impacted by medications. A panel of Aspergerís adults representing different aspects of this diverse population will discuss their perspectives on their condition and on treatments that have been particularly useful to them. Leslie Carter, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice with significant practice focus in evaluation and treatment of Autism, Aspergers, Attention Deficit Disorder, language disorders, and other learning disabilities. She works with individuals, couples and families where Aspergerís is a complicating factor in treatment. She has worked with people ranging in age from 6 months to geriatric. She collaborated in the development of an Aspergerís transition program for post high school students and has been the Portland area diagnostician for a national Autism research project. Dr. Carter has experience and training in physical rehabilitation psychology and medical psychology with an emphasis on neurological disorders. She facilitates a support group for parents of Autistic and Aspergerís individuals and does public speaking on related topics. Suzanne Lawton, N.D. is a naturopathic physician treating both children and adults with Asperger Syndrome. She is also part of a multidisciplinary practitioners group which meets monthly to provide a broader perspective of treatment options in more difficult autism spectrum cases. In addition to frequent presentations on autism spectrum disorders to medical professionals and the public, Dr. Lawton has written a book on the subject, Asperger Syndrome: Natural Steps Toward A Better Life. Lisa Lieberman, MSW, LCSW is a Lake Oswego psychotherapist in private practice with over 30 years experience. She has published numerous articles and is the author of a book entitled, A Stranger Among Us, a comprehensive guide to hiring one-to-one providers for children and young adults with disabilities. (AAPC, 2005) An engaging national speaker, she skillfully and sensitively addresses issues related toďliving with disability in the family.Ē For over five years, Lisa has been co-facilitating the Portland Aspergers Partnerís group where one or both people in the relationship are on the autism spectrum. She also co-founded a mental health multi-disciplinary case consultation group focused on working effectively with clients on the autism spectrum. Most importantly, she and her husband of 28 years are blessed with a 19-year-old son, Jordan, who has autism. Lori J. Olson, PMHNP is a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner specializing in autism spectrum disorders. Her clinical expertise derived from her internship as a PMHNP student with Dr. Gene Stubbs at the Child Development and Rehabilitation Center (CDRC) and then subsequent employment at CDRC for 5 years. She now has a private practice in downtown Portland and works with clients of all ages on the autism spectrum, providing parenting education and skill development, medication management, and therapy services. Hercules has become well-known by Loriís clients by assisting her as a ďcanineĒ therapist. Lori is also a clinical instructor for the School of Nursing at Oregon Health & Sciences University teaching in the graduate program. She has subspecialties in Prader-Willi Syndrome, developmental disabilities, and other genetic disorders. PANEL OF PEOPLE WHOSE EXPERTISE IN ASPERGERíS SYNDROME INCLUDES HAVING THE CONDITION Many clinicians find it useful to learn directly from people affected by Aspergerís -- to understand which interventions have been useful to them and which have not. We cannot assume that cliniciansí perspective, however well informed, can explain all the ramifications of AS as well as those who experience it. ______________________ As the catastrophic rise of Autism in children begins to effect more prominent, media connected families the news spot light also begins to pan onto the higher functioning cousin of Autism Ė Aspergerís Syndrome . Articles and news reports by 60 Minutes, Primetime, Newsweek, Discover Magazine and others have all chronicled the difficulties. New books on living with Aspergerís Syndrome seem to arrive at the book store on a monthly basis: From more generic books like The Complete Guide to Aspergerís Syndrome to books for teens like Freaks, Geeks, and Aspergerís Syndrome, to parenting books like Parenting the Explosive Child, to couples books like Loving Mr. Spock. Wired Magazine and other sources even offer questionnaires that allow anyone to test their own ďAQĒ (Aspergerís Quotient) on-line. Yet relatively few mental health professionals report that they have Aspergerís expertise. Mentor Research Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. Mentor Research Institute maintains responsibility for the program and its content.