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Patricia Robinson MFT
San Ramon, California
Therapist, Coach, Engineer
Interests: counseling, adhd, parenting, coaching, therapy, autism spectrum disorders, asperger's, parent support
Recent Activity
There are a lot of books written by mothers about raising their special needs children, some excellent, some not so great, most somewhere in the middle. The Anti-Romantic Child, A Story of Unexpected Joy , by Priscilla Gilman is both beautifully written, inspiring and dramatic, and also a bit different than the other books in this genre. That’s due to the author, who is not only a mother, but also a former professor of English literature. Gilman weaves together her interest in Wordworth’s poetry with her experiences in raising her special needs son in a way that brings deeper meaning... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2011 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
Generally, the most comprehensive, and most expensive, assessment would be performed by a licensed Psychologist. A Psychiatrist can also perform an assessment, but frequently they are more casual and less detailed. Whatever professional you turn too, the most important factor is to find someone who does a lot of these assessments, and who works with adults. Individuals in more urban areas may be able to find a professional who focuses on ASD issues, which would be ideal.
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Perhaps because the visual world is so intense for many autistic individuals, there are a number of excellent autistic artists. I recently blogged about artist Ping Lian Yeak, a young autistic man who displays his artwork in shows around the world. Chris Murray, the subject of the documentary Dad’s In Heaven with Nixon is another successful autistic artist. Murray, who lives independently and has worked in several jobs for a number of years, could easily support himself through his art, but has chosen to keep it as a side project. I recently purchased Murray’s poster “Red Brick” for my office.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2011 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
More than ever, young people on the autism spectrum are going to college. Thanks to highly effective early interventions, ongoing educational assistance and, of course, the crucial support of parents, students with Asperger’s and autism are succeeding academically, graduating from high school, and looking for more education. This is great news, because those on the spectrum are frequently underemployed, and education can go a long way in ensuring that autistic adults can find satisfying and appropriate jobs. But, it’s important to make sure these students have the support they need to take advantage of their college experiences. Most students on... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2011 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
Parents can really struggle when their local schools aren't meeting the behavioral or emotional needs of their child. Sometimes the only choice is to consider sending teens to a boarding school, a Residential Treatment program or a transitional program. It's not easy to find just the right fit, and it can be a heart breaking decision for parents. That's why I was so pleased to meet Jeanne Hughes, R.N., an Educational consultant and Member of the IECA, Independent Educational Consultant Association. Jeanne works with parents throughout the entire school placement process, to ensure the students get into the right programs,... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2011 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
It's time to sign up for summer camps! Summer is a great chance for special needs kids and teens to wind down, relax and have some time to themselves. But, it's also a chance for them to catch up on social and emotional skills. Summer camps are a great way to do that. I was excited to hear about the camp at Twenty Acre Wood Retreat. This residential camp program in the Truckee/Tahoe area is for teens and young adults age 13 and up, especially transitioning older teens, with Asperger's and NLD (Nonverbal Learning Disorder). Older campers can participate in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2011 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
The Center of Attention and Learning, in Albany, California, offers ADHD coaching, Executive Function support, and Educational Therapy. The Center, founded last year by Educational Therapist Linda Lawton, is now offering their first working group for adults with ADHD. The group will meet three times per month, and each month will focus on a different issue, starting with procrastination. Group coaching is an excellent way to get both professional and peer support, and it is more cost effective than individual treatment. If you’re interested in more information, visit the Center’s website, or their Working Group information page. And, for Middle... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2011 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
Ed Rev 2011 will be held on Saturday, April 16, 2011 at AT&T Park. Ed Rev 2011 is "a day of inspiration and resources for students with learning and attention difficulties, and their parents and educators." The day includes speakers, activities, and an art contest. Whether or not you can attend, it's worthwhile to check out the excellent list of exhibitors and resources. Check out the brochure. Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2011 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
Autism brings special talents as well as difficulties, and one area where this is especially evident is in the realm of art. I’m in the process of moving my office this month, and while decorating, I found a number of examples of excellent art created by autistic individuals. One such talented artist is Ping Lian Yeak, a 17 year old boy, born in Malaysia and now living in Australia. Ping Lian began an art based program as part of a behavioral plan, to encourage him to learn fine motor skills. After a while, rote tracing was replaced by drawing his... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2011 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
“Well written, compassionate, interesting” are all words I’d use to describe Buzz, A Year of Paying Attention, A Memoir by Katherine Ellison. But even though I enjoyed it, I struggled with the concept of the book and came away feeling vaguely unsettled. Ellison describes her plan to devote a year in which she’d “put other work aside, making it my full-time job to seek the best path for a distracted parent intent on helping her distracted child.” I always appreciate well written books that combine information with a chance to really get to know the author’s experiences. Ellison, a Pulitzer... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2011 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
Kids with special needs like ADHD, ASDs and learning differences can frequently benefit from specialized tutoring and academic programs. But there are so many options, it’s difficult to choose what’s appropriate. And for adults, it can feel too late to get the help they need. Today, I’m interviewing Theresa Rezentes, of Dyslexia Connections. Theresa is certified in both Slingerland Reading methods and Lindamood-Bell methods. She works in schools as well as individual students in Alameda and Western Contra Costa County. P. R. What are the signs that a child could benefit from working with a reading program? T. R. As... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2011 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
A new documentary series, Ingenious Minds, from the producers of Hoarders, premiered this month on Thursdays on the Science Channel. As described on the website, “Enter the lives of savants: individuals who possess an extraordinary ability in areas such as art, music and mathematics, while also suffering from intellectual and developmental disabilities.” The series draws heavily on the expertise of Psychiatrist Darold Treffert, an expert on Savant Syndrome and author of several books on the topic. Savant Syndrome, according to Treffert’s reporting, occurs in as many as 10 percent of autistic individuals, as well as others with differing diagnoses. One... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2011 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
Post high school transition planning is an important step for any student with special needs, and it's vital to begin the process early. I encourage parents to attend transition events as a first step in planning, and it pays to start early, well before your child's senior year. Most events are only held annually, and many programs are limited in size. In March, Orion Academy is conducting their 5th Annual Seminar on Post-High-School Transition Planning. Orion Academy is a college-preparatory program for secondary students on the Autistic Spectrum with neurocognitive disabilities such as Aspergers syndrome, or NLD (Non-verbal Learning Disorder).... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2011 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
Several years ago, I took the online course in Dr Stanley Greenspan’s Floortime. Floortime is a flexible, useful approach for parents and professionals to use with autistic children, that I’ve discussed in several previous posts. Sadly, Dr Greenspan died recently, but the 10 week online course is still going to be available in March through video tapes of his presentations. This program is suitable for both parents and professionals. There are also programs on related topics such as managing meltdowns, and learning disabilities. For more info, visit the Floortime website. Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2011 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
I recently published a review of Buried in Treasures, Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding, by David Tolin, Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee, a hands-on workbook for those struggling with hoarding and disorganization. What led me to that book was a book I’d read a few weeks earlier, Stuff, Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, by Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee, two of the same authors. As a psychotherapist, I’m fascinated by all different types of minds, and differing ways of looking at the world. Hoarding, with its emphasis on and connection to the world of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2011 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
Hoarding is not a disorder that exists only among those on the autism spectrum, but certainly there can be a strong aspect of clutter and disorganization that goes along with Asperger’s, autism, ADHD and the accompanying deficits in executive function. Hoarding at its most severe really requires the help of a specifically trained mental health professional, because it’s about so much more than getting organized and cleaning things up. But for those who won’t, or can’t, access professional help, Buried in Treasures, Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding, by David Tolin, Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee can be... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2011 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
So much of what’s written about ADHD is aimed at parents. But the disorder doesn’t just disappear when these kids grow up. Based on information published on Russell Barkley’s website, 65 to 80% of children with the disorder continue to have impairments as adults. This can range from school, employment, and interpersonal issues to conditions as severe as mental illness, substance abuse and legal problems. I’ve published several good reviews on coping with ADHD in this blog. Smart But Scattered and Late, Lost and Unprepared are two favorites. Although they tend to focus on children’s issues, many of the technique... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2011 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
A while back, someone sent me a copy of Susan Senator’s The Autism Mom’s Survival Guide. Susan Senator is a gifted writer, with a blog as well as an earlier book about raising her autistic son. Susan Senator writes with a personal, honest voice that feels like you’re talking with a close friend over a cup of tea. Although I read the book immediately, and keep recommending it to friends and clients, somehow I’ve never reviewed it for my blog. I thought now would be a good time to rectify that lapse. The Autism Mom’s Survival Guide is really all... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2011 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
I think every family wants what's best for their autistic child, and one of their biggest worries is divorce. It's not surprising, since popular culture so often states that 80% of families with autistic children get divorced. Thankfully, that statistic seems to be more widespread than valid. I’ve published a few posts on the theme of divorce statistics among families with autistic children. You can find more details about divorce rates in the Kennedy Krieger study and the Easter Seals survey. Fortunately, it’s an intriguing issue, and researchers continue to investigate the question. Recently, The Journal of Family Psychology published... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2011 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
Hi Eric, I'm sorry to hear you've had such a rough time. I do want to state that drug addiction is a completely separate issue, one that would clearly impact a person's ability to be a good boss, and nothing to do with Asperger's. There is no good evidence that drug use is more prevalent for those on the spectrum. indeed, many people think it's probably less frequent.
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Happy holidays to all my readers! Thanks for your comments, suggestions and emails. I'm so fortunate to hear from you. Enjoy your celebration and I'll be back in the new year! Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2010 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
Are kids today over-medicated and over-diagnosed by their hovering helicopter parents? Or, is all the medication and treatment necessary to help kids manage their very real mental disorders? Those are the questions Judith Warner addresses in We’ve Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication. As Warner explains, she started writing this book based on the premise that today’s kids are over-medicated and over-diagnosed, but as she continued her research, she decided that the media and it’s anecdotal evidence were oversimplifying the picture. As an engineer, I love that Warner actually researched the topic, and allowed the evidence... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2010 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum
Every year I write a post to adults with Asperger’s and autism, about how to manage all the stress of holiday get-togethers. (Last week I did a similar post to parents of kids on the spectrum, because they deal with similar pressures.) And every year I hear the same comments and concerns from people on the spectrum. That all makes sense, because families, friends and coworkers can exert a lot of pressure on you to join in, be a part of the festivities, have fun. But, what’s fun for the crowd may not be fun for you. To balance out... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2010 at Thrive On the Autism Spectrum