How to Support a “Scattered” Child

8081866129_45189a1250_z“How can my child be so smart, yet fail every subject?” This is a common question from parents of bright children. The answer: your child is smart, but scattered. Peg Dawson, international author and presenter on executive functioning, described the impact of executive functioning in her presentation to special education staff in the Federal Way Public Schools.

Executive functions are brain-based skills that help us to be successful in monitoring and achieving goals. They include response inhibition, working memory, emotional control, flexibility, sustained attention, task initiation, planning/prioritization, organization, time-management, goal-oriented persistence, and metacognition. Executive functioning deficits are common in children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and in others who are neurodivese.

The impacts can have huge effects on their behaviors at school and home.

Common ASD deficits

  • Emotional reactions inconsistent with the incident

  • Difficulty being flexible when something changes

  • Struggling with sustaining attention in non-preferred situations

  • Impacts on prioritization, often seen in a child’s written expression

  • Difficulties creating and maintaining organization systems

  • Inability to self-reflect and change behavior based on these reflections

hyperactivityCommon ADHD deficits

  • Impulsive behavior, especially when the reward is immediate

  • Struggling to remember several steps to a task and implementing those steps effectively

  • Difficulty attending when the situation is not stimulating

  • Procrastinating on homework or chores

  • Struggling to plan out steps of a project

  • Inaccurately estimating how long something will take

  • Inability to persist towards a goal

How to Help

It’s our job as adults to help children develop these skills and provide opportunities for them to practice. For children with executive functioning deficits, these skills may not be learned from their surroundings; they need to be explicitly taught. Until they are developed enough to practice, adults will need to be surrogates for our kid’s executive skills.

Here are some ideas for facilitating the development of these skills:

  • Provide alternatives to highly stimulating environments. It may be hard for the child to effectively use executive skills when overstimulated.

  • Give close-ended tasks with explicit steps.

  • Shorten tasks or provide breaks

  • Make a checklist for your child first and show him how to use it; then, help your child to make his own checklist.

  • Give 3:1 positives to correctives feedback, with the positives specific to executive functioning (i.e. “Nice job leaving that cookie on the counter, I know that is not easy to do sometimes”; “You did great adjusting to our change of plans”, “I like how you made a goal and then planned out the steps to achieve it”

  • Ask your child two simple questions: “What do you have to do? When are you going to do it?” This helps facilitate the process of goal setting, planning, time management, and task initiation. Then, hold them accountable to their plan.

Want more information about how to help support your child’s executive functioning skills? Consider one of Aspiring Youth’s social skills groups, or red Smart but Scattered by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare, which is an excellent book that helps explain executive skills and how to intervene.


057-aspiring-headshots-webBreea. M. Rosas, Ed.S. graduated from Central Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in 2013. Her undergraduate major was Psychology, with a minor in Family Studies. She completed her Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology from CWU in 2016. She is currently a school psychologist for Federal Way Public Schools. Breea has worked with Aspiring Youth as a program coordinator/facilitator for summer camps and served on the curriculum development team. Additionally, Breea has experience working with adults of varying abilities, including autism spectrum disorder, as well youth in the school setting.

Through our eyes: What it’s like

The “Through our eyes” series invites you to hear and learn from the perspectives of young adults in our community living with autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, learning disabilities or other social challenges.

Before we begin, I would like to clarify that I only speak on behalf of myself and no one else on the autism spectrum. My experiences with Asperger’s syndrome are entirely my own, so your child or someone you know who is also on th spectrum may have some differences, whether it be with social interaction or sensory-motor skills. In fact, people will not always have the same experiences with any mental or developmental disorders — it’s entirely dependent on the individual.

As someone on the autism spectrum, I have to admit that it’s a little difficult to imagine the life of a non-autistic person. I can’t picture myself not being very sensitive to heat and cold or not being socially awkward. Asperger’s syndrome has been a part of my life since I was born.

I guess if I had to say something, though, it’s sort of like being a foreigner from a different country and having to learn the language and customs. Things feel similar to your own country, but learning to adjust to the differences is difficult. But once you’ve mastered that, it doesn’t erase the fact that you’re a foreigner. No matter what, you’ll always stand out in some way.

Now, that isn’t to say being on the spectrum is horrible. On the contrary, I find it annoying when people pity me for being different or because I “don’t understand”. It’s insulting, not just to me, but to others on the spectrum as well, regardless of what the intent was. Just because we might not pick up on social cues or have a vastly different outlook on life than most people, it doesn’t mean that we’re unable to learn.

But I digress.

Asperger’s has had its perks growing up. For instance, as I have a passion for writing (especially creative writing), I always did really well in English class, especially when it came to essays and vocabulary tests. I also have very sensitive hearing, so if someone needs help but no one can hear them, I can hear them and help them to the best of my ability.

I think the point I’m trying get at is: autism isn’t that bad. I mean, yes, there are times where we struggle with socializing and sensory-motor skills. With a bit of support and understanding, we get by pretty well on our own. I believe that there are people out there who need to be reminded of that sometimes.

There are pros and cons to everything. Autism is no exception.


Sara Breidenbach is an intern helping with Aspiring Youth summer camps. She is also a student at Bellevue College where she will graduate with an Associates Degree in Digital Media Arts in the fall of 2016.

Through our eyes: School

The “Through our eyes” series invites you to hear and learn from the perspectives of young adults in our community living with autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, learning disabilities or other social challenges.

Asperger’s (along with other autism spectrum disorders) sometimes come in a nice little package along with ADD/HD, depression and social anxiety. And, naturally, these did impact my school life. I always struggled with focusing and developing my social skills the most.

I went to a Montessori school until I was twelve, so kids had to do hands-on education where we would sometimes scatter across the classroom to work on one math assignment, one reading assignment, one writing assignment and one “other” or elective. We wrote all of our progress on a little worksheet of what we did. Because I was so easily distracted, whether it was because someone making noise or because I was spacing out too much, I didn’t always finish my work, so sometimes I would have to stay inside during recess to finish it.

I did have friends (or at least, acquaintances) that I got along with, but because I got nervous and didn’t know how to behave around my peers, I would try to spend time with people outside my age group. I guess it was because that they were more patient around me and understood some of what I was going through in life, so I could rely on them for advice.

I hopped around from service to service trying to “alleviate” the problem, but nothing ever really worked until my college years. I was in something called the Autism Spectrum Navigation Program (ASN for short) at Bellevue College. I’m not really sure how, but having a navigation assistant and taking classes on things like self-advocacy and job hunting for people on the spectrum really helped me be more responsible about school.

School life wasn’t horrible though. Since I have a fixation on creative writing, English class was always my best subject. I was always excited when my teachers in middle and high school announced an assignment involving creative writing or using a favorite movie or game as the subject of a compare and contrast essay. I also managed to avoid hanging out with kids my age that would have obviously been a bad influence on me.

Currently, I am on course to graduate in the fall of this year with an Associates Degree in Digital Media Arts (which is basically an umbrella term for video production, video games, animation, graphic design etc.). I am really glad that despite my challenges, I have been able to make it this far. I’m really looking forward to the future outside of school.

If your student is having trouble focusing in school or building lasting friendships, consider Aspiring Youth’s programs for children and teens such as our social skills groups or individual tutoring.


Sara Breidenbach is an intern helping with Aspiring Youth summer camps. She is also a student at Bellevue College where she will graduate with an Associates Degree in Digital Media Arts in the fall of 2016.

Through our eyes: Discussing autism

The “Through our eyes” series invites you to hear and learn from the perspectives of young adults in our community living with autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, learning disabilities or other social challenges.

I usually never tell people that I’m on the autism spectrum (specifically that I have Asperger’s Syndrome) unless it’s relevant to the situation.

For instance, when someone makes a passing comment about the spectrum and the conversation goes from there. Or when I’m at school or work and need to advocate for myself for certain reasons. And yet, it seems that almost every time that I tell people I’m on the spectrum, they seem surprised.

“You don’t act like you have Asperger’s,” they say.

“You seem pretty social for a person on the spectrum,” they say.

I’m not entirely sure if they’re just saying that to be nice or if they really mean it, but it’s a pet peeve of mine. But I also need to remind myself that some people don’t understand the autism spectrum and that getting annoyed isn’t going to help.

But the fact remains: yes, I was diagnosed with it. Since I was eleven years old.

I am a firm believer that autism (and any other mental disorder, for that matter) doesn’t affect each person the same way. Some people struggle more in the social aspects than the sensory-motor aspects, and vice versa. There seems to be a stereotype where autistic people are very blunt, do not socialize with others period, and that they come off as non-empathetic to the point of being borderline (if not, completely) sociopathic, which is not always the case.

The way that autism may “appear” depends on the individual and his or her life. In fact, there are tons of people who have been confirmed to be on the spectrum who you would not expect to have the disorder. One of the most prominent is Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of the Pokémon franchise. Another example would be the actor Dan Aykroyd.

In summary, just because you’ve seen a little bit of this person, it doesn’t mean you know everything that goes on with them. Take what people say to you into consideration and privately generate your own conclusions from there.


Sara Breidenbach is an intern helping with Aspiring Youth summer camps. She is also a student at Bellevue College where she will graduate with an Associates Degree in Digital Media Arts in the fall of 2016.

The United States of Autism

USofAutismUnderstanding autism throughout the country

 It’s no secret that autism spectrum disorder is increasing in prevalence, especially in the United States. There is no race, region, or social class exempt from the impacts of autism. This is clearly demonstrated in the 2013 documentary The United States of Autism, whose host and director, Richard Everts, travels across the country and interviews 20 families who have been affected by autism. The documentary is enlightening, and there are some important themes worth discussing.

 Access to interventions

Access to providers differs, especially when the family and providers do not speak the same language. One family from Puerto Rico speaks Spanish, and they came to the contiguous United States so that their son would have more opportunities. Another family came all the way from Japan. Leaving their homes and their support systems behind for a less familiar place, these families are trying to navigate a complex system in a place that has a foreign culture and foreign language—just so their children can find growth.

Other families indicated that they’ve moved to metropolitan areas to access providers. Financing therapies and interventions is also a factor, as one family from Oklahoma explained, where they are fighting for Nick’s Law to pass so insurance companies would be required to pay for services.

 
Siblings

The interviews highlighting siblings’ perspectives were particularly interesting to me personally since I do have a sibling who is on the spectrum. A few parents expressed concern regarding the attention that was given to the child with autism—resulting in less attention for the puzzle-210786_1280typically developing children. When the children were interviewed though, they often did not express that point of view. Rather than feelings of resentment, their answers reflected compassion with “It makes him who he is,” or “She’s better at some things than I am, and I’m better at some things than her.”

In my house, aside from my mother and me, we don’t often discuss autism. When my 15-year-old brother saw “autism spectrum disorder” marked on a form for my 13-year-old brother, he asked, “Mom, why did you mark that? Tyler is just Tyler.”

I think in many families, this sentiment is shared.

Finding a cure vs. teaching acceptance

The film portrays the cycle that many families go through: wishing for a cure for the poor communication and dysregulation when a child is younger, but as the child grows up, developing a greater appreciation for their quirks. One mother reported “It was a tragedy—that was my initial thought. But now, I see it as a gift.” One set of parents indicated that they desperately wished they could cure their child.

But many felt differently, claiming that autism has made their child who he or she is. From my work with families, this is pretty typical, though it may not be true for all.

Picture 047_resultOne really important perspective expressed in the film is, of course, that of those with autism. One teen said, “Don’t try to cure autism; learn from it and about it.” Another stated, “I believe in the idea of neurodiversity,” compared to finding a cure.

Regarding the effects of vaccines, at least a handful of families reported strong convictions regarding their role on their child’s development. To date, vaccines or mercury contributing to autism is not clear, as countless studies have yet to find a significant link. However, I think many families may hold on to this correlation. We really don’t know the cause of autism. What’s arguably as or more important is finding effective treatments and interventions for those who are affected.

I encourage families and providers to view the documentary and think critically about some of the points brought up. Examine the similarities and differences you find among your family and others.

Remember that you are not alone in your feelings; they are being felt all across the United States.


Breea. M. Rosas, B.A., Ed. S. Candidate

Breea graduated from Central Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in 2013. Her undergraduate major was Psychology, with a minor in Family Studies. She completed the coursework for an Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology in Spring 2015, with an anticipated graduation date of Spring 2016 upon the completion of an internship with the Franklin Pierce School District. Professionally, Breea has worked with Aspiring Youth as a lead facilitator for summer camp and served on the curriculum development team. Additionally, Breea has experience working with adults of varying abilities, including autism spectrum disorder, as well youth in the school setting.

Developmental vs. Chronological Age: What’s the difference?

A psychologist at my first internship rotation hammered into all the students who would cross her path the concepts of developmental age and chronological age. She emphasized how important they would be in all of our future careers—she was right.

background-84678_1280But how are they important to parents?

Chronological age is pretty straightforward: it is simply how physically old your child is. When a small child holds up her fingers and says, “I’m this many old,” she is telling us her chronological age (if she’s right, of course).

Determining a child’s developmental age is trickier.

Developmental age measures someone’s behavioral, cognitive and physical development in contrast to the typical person in the same age range. Consider behaviors and learning tasks that a typical 1st grader displays: learning to read, basic addition, cooperative play and taking turns. If a person’s developmental and chronological ages match, we tend to not notice because it’s expected.

However, it can be a problem when the two don’t match.

Stevie and his different “ages”

Recognizing that a child’s developmental and chronological ages can be different is an important first step.

Let’s consider 10-year-old “Stevie,” who has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. While he has the vocabulary and memory of a typical 10-year-old, his ability to read body language and control impulses (such as interrupting people or angry outbursts) is more typical for a 6-year-old. Stevie is going to have a challenging time in school and in making friends.

child-929935_1280Often, adults and other kids expect Stevie to “act his age” because they see a 10-year-old and expect 10-year-old behavior. This potentially creates a problematic cycle:

  • Adults expect 10-year-old behavior when he legitimately cannot give it in all ways

  • They get angry at him for not meeting that expectation

  • Stevie gets frustrated that, despite his attempts, he continues to fail and get punished

  • Stevie starts viewing himself as “broken” or “dumb” and stops trying

  • Adults get more angry as his skills continue to fall behind

What can parents do? Think in different domains.

Parents and professionals should work together to identify what areas correlate to the child’s chronological and developmental ages. I often coach parents on how to think about their child’s developmental age in different domains.

For Stevie, his parents can expect him to use the language of a 10-year-old. Their behavior should reinforce, challenge and support his behavior in that domain. However, they shouldn’t expect a 10-year-old’s emotional or behavioral control.

An important clarification is this adjustment of expectations is not done to convince them that Stevie cannot succeed in the future. Quite the opposite, in fact. It can help parents have realistic expectations of where his challenges are right now, in order to help build foundational skills for future success.  If they are looking for him to master typical 6-year-old skills, they can praise them instead of being frustrated at Stevie’s lack of “obvious” skills. Ironically, this lowering of (certain) expectations can lead to the increase of skills that parents are seeking.


R BoccamazzoR. Boccamazzo, PsyD, LMHCA

Dr. Boccamazzo is a doctor of clinical psychology and social skills coach with Aspiring Youth. In addition, he is the clinical director of TakeThis.org, a national nonprofit focused on mental health and the gamer community, runs a private psychology practice in Bellevue offering individual therapy and psychological assessment to adolescents and adults, and provides parent and clinician trainings on technology in psychology. Much of his work focuses on high functioning autism, problematic technology usage, social anxiety, trauma and games. In his spare time, he enjoys acting, cooking, board games and video games.

Transitions: Optimizing life as an adult with autism

A talk with Dr. Gary StobbeCapture

As individuals with autism age into adulthood, many new barriers emerge than interfere with success, happiness, and accessing the community as an adult. To better understand these barriers and to better identify opportunities to promote successful transition to adulthood, Dr. Stobbe will review what is currently known about the autism trajectory, co-occuring medical and mental health conditions, and the balance of assisting our loved ones while at the same time promoting their independence.

Light refreshments served. Click here to RSVP.

 

About Dr. Gary Stobbe

Dr. Stobbe is a Board Certified Neurologist sub-specializing in the field of cognitive and behavioral neurology. Dr. Stobbe joined the University of Washington School of Medicine faculty in 2008 and is Clinical Assistant Professor of both Psychiatry and Neurology, specializing in autism spectrum disorders, multiple sclerosis, and traumatic brain injury. In 2009, Dr. Stobbe helped establish the Seattle Children’s Autism Center, and currently serves as Director of Adolescent and Adult Services. Dr. Stobbe also helped establish the UW Medicine Adult Autism Clinic and is currently serving as Medical Director, and is the Director of the Adults and Elders Program at the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at UW. Research experience includes numerous medication treatment clinical trials in autism as well as heath care systems and delivery.


Suggested reading: Roux, A.M., Shattuck, P.T., Rast, J. E., Rava, J. A., and Anderson, K.A. (2015). National Autism Indicators Report: Transition into Young Adulthood. Philadelphia, PA: Life Course Outcomes Research Program, A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, Drexel University.

Can my teen attend college?

woman-690216_640Thinking about college can be an intimidating challenge for teens on the autism spectrum, but maybe even more so for their parents.

How will children manage without their special education case managers? How will they do without their social-emotional or behavioral supports in place? Might they flounder in the seas of large lecture classrooms? And of course those executive functioning skills: attention, organization, planning…

You may be thinking: “Is this even an option for my child?”

College is challenging for all, but more so for adolescents who have difficulty with changing environments, new social dynamics and handling responsibility. Thankfully, there are some programs in place to make the high school to college transition a little bit easier. Aspiring Youth offers adult transition programs and individual coaching that can help. Some colleges are now offering support or transition programs to young adults on the autism spectrum. Specifically, there are two options in Washington state:

  • Seattle Central College offers a program called SAILS (Supported Academics and Independent Life Skills). In College 101, students tour the campus, explore interests and develop organizational, time management and independent living skills. Building a relationship with staff helps throughout the year. Once school starts, students in the SAILS program benefit from small class sizes and continued individualized assistance. Your student could even get a job through the Mainstay program which offers employment for students of varying abilities.

  • Bellevue College offers a support program: Autism Spectrum Navigators (ASN) Program. The program focuses on supporting the development of executive functioning, social interaction, self-advocacy and self-regulation skills. ASN provides regular meetings with a trained peer mentor, quarterly career preparation classes, quarterly parent meetings, facilitated communication with instructors and campus awareness and training.

If your child is leaning toward an out-of-state college experience, there are also options for support programs. Post-secondary programs range from community colleges to universities, such as a Rutgers University, University of Alabama and Virginia TECH. For a list and brief overview of schools, visit this website.


Breea M. Rosas, B.A., Ed. S. Candidate

Breea graduated from Central Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in 2013. Her undergraduate major was Psychology, with a minor in Family Studies. She completed the coursework for an Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology in Spring 2015, with an anticipated graduation date of Spring 2016 upon the completion of an internship with the Franklin Pierce School District. Professionally, Breea has worked with Aspiring Youth as a lead facilitator for summer camp and served on the curriculum development team. Additionally, Breea has experience working with adults of varying abilities, including autism spectrum disorder, as well youth in the school setting. She is interested in social emotional learning, educational implications of social/emotional and behavioral disorders, supporting youth with behavioral disorders, and the trajectory of students with disabilities post-high school. In her spare time, she likes to read, particularly historical fiction and non-fiction, bake, and spend time with her family.

Social Skills: Beyond being nice


We’ve all seen it.

The kid who walks up to you, stares you right in the eyes, gives you a big cheesy smile and says “Hello!” while awkwardly shaking your hand. We train our kids to do this. I’ve worked with people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in various capacities and hate to admit that I’m very guilty of this. I’ve put kids on behavior plans to increase eye contact or to increase the number of people they say hello to. I have explicitly taught them to shake someone’s hand when you approach them and to always smile so people know you are happy.

teen-412054_640Over the summer, I was at lunch with my 13-year-old brother who has ASD. He ordered his drink and stared our waitress right in the eyes. I could tell she was uncomfortable. After she walked away, I explained to my brother that staring like that could make people feel awkward. He looked at me, confused, and said “But you said I have to look people in the eyes when I talk to them.”

Yes, I failed.

Last week, some Aspiring Youth staff and I attended the Social Thinking conference. The founder of Social Thinking, Michelle Garcia Winner, said something so simple that really resonated: “Good social skills do not mean being nice all the time.” Absolutely true. As Michelle explained, good social skills are a person’s ability to adapt behavior based on the situation and what you know about the person. The goal is that people react in the way you hope. This doesn’t always mean looking at them right in the eye and smiling. It means that you can use social skills to navigate a situation – any situation. We need our children to differentiate between greeting a peer and greeting an adult; when to be pleasant and when to be a firm advocate for something they believe in.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/maxwellgs/4267310664/in/photolist-7v65MN-89Pzn4-8x58zj-xukB7D-8TTT4C-869vEo-866knM-869vxA-869vvW-869vtE-866kdV-4z7FwW-cHKZYm-8S2ZCj-asF6u1-6RuNEs-5SsDL3-ch816-7v65E9-6y8hqQ-7SmrQ3-mQiJBL-bvkJkS-88TGHU-6vwwiV-4dJwrs-9AXSue-9o9ju-5CFgVX-nB844-93Q4Rz-7v65Ud-3aWiph-4oDYQU-6LxAu3-8WQ8dh-9HTBwc-KA9rU-8F792i-7nEiJU-7nAopc-7nAohe-7nAo56-7nEhWS-7nEhMj-7nEhF9-7nAnAx-7nAnuk-7nAnhz-7nEh9s

The Social Thinking conference was a great opportunity to learn how to teach social cognitive skills. It is how to consider our own thoughts and others’ thoughts to interpret and respond to information. The idea of perspective taking is more complex than considering another person’s perspective. As Michelle explains, there are 4 steps:

  1. I think about you.

  2. I think about why you are near me.

  3. I think about what you think about me.

  4. I adjust my behavior to keep you thinking about me the way I want you to think about me.

At Aspiring Youth, from the curriculum we follow in social skills groups to our summer camp social learning goals, we focus on teaching and supporting those important social cognitive skills to our children. If you’re interested in some free articles related to Social Thinking, you can visit this website.


Breea M. Rosas, B.A., Ed. S. Candidate

Breea graduated from Central Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in 2013. Her undergraduate major was Psychology, with a minor in Family Studies. She completed the coursework for an Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology in Spring 2015, with an anticipated graduation date of Spring 2016 upon the completion of an internship with the Franklin Pierce School District. Professionally, Breea has worked with Aspiring Youth as a lead facilitator for summer camp and served on the curriculum development team. Additionally, Breea has experience working with adults of varying abilities, including autism spectrum disorder, as well youth in the school setting. She is interested in social emotional learning, educational implications of social/emotional and behavioral disorders, supporting youth with behavioral disorders, and the trajectory of students with disabilities post-high school. In her spare time, she likes to read, particularly historical fiction and non-fiction, bake, and spend time with her family.

Autism in Love Screening and Q&A in Bothell

Aspiring Youth was recently asked to lead a discussion for King County Public Library. We are honored to have the privilege and are proud to send one of our lead facilitators, R. Boccamazzo PsyD, who wrote the below post:


“Given the prevalence of the autism diagnosis (1 in 68), this movie is for everyone.”

Frequently, I encounter individuals who believe that those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders have no interest in socializing. While the degree of interest varies widely from individual to individual, the truth is I have yet to encounter someone on the spectrum in either my personal life or psychology practice who has zero interest in socializing with other people.Capture

The trouble is people on the autism spectrum do want contact with others, but it is often coupled with idiosyncratic rigidity about social rules and confusion about how other, more neuro-typical individuals socialize. Imagine being a long-time resident of a foreign country where you are still unclear on the local customs of behavior, or maybe even how to speak the language. You would likely be lonely, confused, anxious and pessimistic. This is how many of my clients view their social lives. They desperately wish to have the sort of relationships that others have, especially romantic, but are unsure how to achieve them. If they are achieved, maintaining those relationships is often a confusing, heartbreaking challenge where one partner does not understand the motivations of the other.

Nevertheless, the longing for human contact is there.

The universal need for love is the focus of the documentary Autism in Love, which will be screening for free on Saturday, December 5th at 2pm at the Bothell library north of Seattle. The film follows the lives of four people with autism diagnoses as they navigate the tumultuous waters of love across the lifespan. The film achieves a remarkable balance in shining a light on both the ups and the downs of relationships for its participants. It highlights the fact that, while they may have different ways of understanding and expressing it, all of the people in this film seek out love, companionship and acceptance. At the same time, the film does not shy away from presenting the significant challenges and struggles that the participants face as a result of their unique way of understanding the world.

Given the prevalence of the autism diagnosis (1 in 68), this movie is for everyone: teachers, parents, mental health clinicians, those on the autism spectrum and the general public. The odds are that you will eventually know someone on the autism spectrum at some point in your life, if you don’t already. Register for the free screening and following question and answer session.

Autism in Love Screening and Q&A

Where: Bothell library

When: 12/5/15 at 2pm

Cost: Free – register here


R BoccamazzoR. Boccamazzo, PsyD, LMHCA

Dr. Boccamazzo is a doctor of clinical psychology and social skills coach with Aspiring Youth. Additionally, he has a private psychology practice in Bellevue offering individual therapy and psychological assessment to adolescents and adults, as well as parent and clinician trainings on technology in psychology. Much of his work focuses on high functioning autism, problematic technology usage, social anxiety, trauma, and schizophrenia. In his spare time, he enjoys acting, board games, video games, and weight lifting.