What is CBT?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Autism has been widely researched over the last 30 years seeing such courses which claim to practically cure young people of Autism. Of course CBT alone does not. There is no cure for Autism. However, with careful intervention of a number of alternative therapies, diet and lifestyle, there can always be a significant change in the individual.
I believe that Autism is a disorder which is the result of the environment the person is in at that moment. Shift the environment and the traits of Autism ‘disappear.’ The key to the ultimate intervention is the environment. All the other methods and strategies simply support rather than remedy.
CBT was designed to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and eating disorders such as anorexia. Yet the intervening CBT with Autism is still a relatively new concept which is being found to be highly beneficial with many clients and their families.
Who will it help?
CBT will help your child enormously if they fit into the following criteria;
- They are of an age where they can be responsible for their own actions (for example, from the age of 8 upwards)
- They have at best some reasonable control over their behaviour
- That behaviour is led by a thought process.
- They have the following disorders: Asperger’s syndrome and/or high functioning Autism.
Cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on how someone thinks and encourages them to identify negative thought patterns which cause unwanted behaviour. For your child, CBT can be highly effective for helping ease meltdowns and outbursts; shouting, swearing, pathological demand avoidance syndrome and communication.
CBT helps people who have social and communication issues and also those who would benefit from developing these skills for a more rewarding lifestyle. It looks at how we think and who we behave in relation to how we interact with others and how our behaviours affect people and society around us.
Will it help my child to cope with society?
Where people are keen to develop a sense of being so that they can fit into society, then CBT is a very good place to start. With my son, Jon, he found CBT very effective as his belief was not to stand out from the crowd as being ‘different’ but the desire to want to fit into the world and live as normally as possible. With many young people on the spectrum who have a capacity to think outside their Autism, there is a notable wish to be accepted in society, therefore CBT is another pathway that is open to them to make the transitions needed. CBT gives these people the right tools to help them overcome situations which they would ordinarily find troublesome and stressful.
Can it help stop meltdowns?
We covered thought processes and keep a though log in the first part of the Masterclass course. This is an exercise which is widely used to help people understand the link between thoughts and behaviours. We looked schemas and negative thought patterns which are often the cause misinterpretation thus leading to meltdowns. In my book ‘Extraordinary Journey’ I talk about the time when my son Jon, had the most incredible meltdown in a café which had been triggered by his misinterpretation of my mother’s actions. A meltdown that would have been avoided had he realised what she was doing.
CBT can help enormously with the following:
- Anger and aggressive behaviour
- Depression in teenagers
- Social difficulties
- Repetitive behaviour
- Communication problems
Where Can I Find Out More?
You can find out more by downloading our FREE guide here which covers signs and symptoms of Autism, Asperger’s syndrome and early intevention. Or you can sign up below if you want to join our Member’s Only Unleashing The Positive Masterclass
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Michelle Hatcher is the author of the Progress Pentagon parenting courses and founder of the best-selling : Unleashing The Positive Mind Masterclass. She is a certified CBT Therapist, NLP Practitioner, mother of 15 year old Jon who has Autism and PDA and certified Life Coach.
She is also a member of the Complimentary Medical Association, the International Alliance of Holistic Therapists
and The Association of Integrative Psychology. Her autobiography, How To… uncovers the secrets of Autism and how to overcome it plus it tracks her life as a mother of an Autistic child, how she developed her best-selling courses using CBT and NLP with Autism. She is also a public speaker on Autism Awareness.
She lives in Wiltshire with husband Nick, son, Jon and three cats; Apple, Missy and Augusta.