We provide treatment for children, adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder

about my practice with adults with autism spectrum disorder (Asperger’s Disorder)


In addition to services for children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder I am one of the few providers in BC with extensive experience working with adults with autism spectrum disorder or what was previously called “ Asperger’s Disorder/Syndrome.” As a matter of fact, over the past twenty years more and more of my practice has focused on working with adults and family, social, school or work-place issues. This services include diagnostic testing, social coaching, work-place evaluations, intervention planning and family consultations.

I also see numerous couples where one or both members have or suspect they have ASD. I see a number of women about autism spectrum disorder and feel confident in the structured and normed based test procedures we use. There has been some concern that women are not properly diagnosed, however, problems in the diagnostic process seem to come from situations in which appropriate tests were not used, and the diagnosis was based upon little more than a clinical interview.

 These assessments are often used for disability tax credits, qualifying for different types of disability support programs, or qualifying for accommodations and support services in school, university of the workplace. They meet the same standards that are required of the ministry for students in British Columbia obtaining support services.

While a referral isn’t necessary, often a short note from your doctor helps clarify what the concerns are, and that other medical issues have been ruled out. If you have been seen by other doctors who have provided a different diagnosis, I need to have those records available to me. These can usually be obtained simply by asking your medical provider. Most of the time I will request you see a medical doctor to rule out other plausible symptoms for your concerns.

Services for Autism and Asperger's Disorder / Syndrome

  • Assessment and Diagnostic Services (autism, Asperger’s, ADHD and related disorders). Assessments for Asperger's and high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD) cost a maximum of $2,400. Forensic assessment, those involving legal or workplace issues, are billed on an individual basis.

  • Workplace consultations and site-based education programs

  • Community-based social coaching programs for individuals with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s Disorder / Syndrome

  • Educational / Social coaching for young adults in the workplace, college, and similar settings

  • Social coaching for adults with high-functioning autism, Asperger's Disorder / Syndrome

  • Couples counselling for couples dealing with adult autism, adult Asperger's Disorder / Syndrome

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is Your Background for Providing Treatment for Adults with Asperger's and High Functioning Autism?

My background for working with adults starts with my work with children and adolescents for over two decades. Understanding adult ASD symptoms requires being familiar with the developmental issues of Asperger's and high-functioning autism. I have worked as a teacher of special education, a school psychologist, a district behaviour specialist for autism and a provincial consultant for autism and related disorders providing consultation throughout the province of British Columbia.

Three other important skills and experience also come into play in working with adults with Asperger's Disorder or high-functioning autism. First, I have several years of experience working as a neuropsychological consultant with Rehab Without Walls in California which provided me with experience in working with workplace related problems. Second, many adults come to me with concerns about their relationships, including couple relations and relations as a parent. Before becoming a registered psychologist I was a licensed and Registered Marriage and Family Therapist and have worked as a couple and family therapist for over 30 years. This includes advanced training in the Gottman Couple's Therapy technique. Third, one of the most commonly used individual therapy techniques when working with adults with Asperger's or High Functioning Autism is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT. I hold an advanced certificate in CBT from the Albert Ellis Institute in New York City. My original training in psychology was in behaviour therapy, which is often a critical knowledge base when teaching individuals specific compensatory skills.

What are some of the aims of therapy for adults with Asperger's or high functioning autism?

  • to teach new cognitive and behavioral skills that were never learned

  • to teach compensatory strategies for deficits that cannot be changed

  • to facilitate self-acceptance

  • to teach strategies to decrease or prevent symptoms of co-morbid mental health problems, such as anxiety disorders and depression

Most importantly, I try to help you discover ways to make life easier, how to reach your goals, and try to help you be as happy and fulfilled in life as you want to be.

Do you work with ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) and Executive Dysfunction?
ADHD is now often diagnosed along with Asperger's Disorder of High Functioning Autism. Much of my work with children, adolescents and adults focuses on ADHD and deficits of executive function. Executive function is the concept referring to the cognitive processes required to plan and direct activities, including what we refer to as task-initiation and follow-through, working memory, sustained attention, performance monitoring, inhibition of impulses, and goal-directed persistence. It also affects an individual's ability to control and modulate their emotions.

Many clients I see have deficits in executive functioning which prevents them from having the necessary skills to perform well in school, work or in social settings. With these clients we often need to make diagnostic decisions through testing and assessment, and then develop an individualized treatment plan addressing school, home and work. This might involve individual behavioural therapy, school or work consultation, referral to medical professionals, and psychoeducation. 

I often provide reading material, training videos and demonstrate and practice specific intervention techniques with clients. Much of the work we do in the area of ADHD is based upon the research and treatment programs developed by Dr. Russell Barkley. Please refer to my ADHD/ADD page for more information.

What about Anxiety, Depression or Family Issues?
 
Adolescents and adults are seen for both diagnostic assessments and treatment of depression, anxiety and behaviour problems that might arise out of environmental or interpersonal situations. These individuals might take part in cognitive based therapy or counselling, or they might be provided with more traditional supportive therapy.  Anxiety and depression are frequent co-morbid disorders for adults with Asperger's Disorder or high-functioning autism and need to be addressed in treatment.

How Do I Make an Appointment and is there a Waiting List?
You may phone my office at 604.7262651 or email me to begin setting up an appointment. I always start by meeting for an initial session to gather a developmental history, hear about your current issues, and to develop a plan of where to go from here. An assessment may or may not be the best choice, and you should fully understand what your options are before proceeding. Fees for initial and ongoing sessions are $200 per hour and may be paid by cash, check, eTransfer or through PayPal.


About My Practice with Children, Adolescents and Adults with Autism and Asperger's Disorder

The focus of my ASD (autism and Asperger's Disorder / Syndrome) practice is to provide an array of options for families to learn and apply a systematic and comprehensive approach to home and school-based intervention for children, adolescents and adults. I am one of the few area providers whose experience includes working with children, adolescents and adults with ASD (Asperger's Disorder). My offices are located in Burnaby at the Production Way Skytrain station.  I am a Registered Psychologist and an approved service provider on the ACT-BC RASP list of behaviour consultants. I have served as a school district autism program coordinator, facilitator, teacher trainer and consultant for school districts in New York, California and British Columbia. I serve families in my offices in Burnaby.  For a list of books I often recommend to parents about Autism and Asperger's Syndrome, click here: BOOKS

The services I provide include:

Diagnostic Services

  • Diagnostic services for children, adolescents and adults for autism, Asperger’s Disorder, PDD and other developmental disabilities (Burnaby and Vancouver offices) (ADOS-2 and ADR-I assessments)

  • Psycho-educational and developmental assessments and intervention planning. This includes assistance with Individual Education Plans (IEP) for students with autism, Asperger’s Disorder, ADHD and related cognitive deficits

  • I provide Functional Behaviour Assessments (FBA) and can assist in writing Positive Behaviour Support Plans (PBSP) for school settings in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Vancouver, New Westminster, Delta and Surrey. These are often essential for students with autism, Asperger’s and other related disorders.

  • I provide Behaviour Intervention Plans with appropriate supports whenever possible and can consult with you either in my office of in your home in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Vancouver, Port Moody, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, Delta and Surrey

Family Support and Education

  • Parent education and support both in of my offices and in your home

  • Educational consultation and advocacy can be provided in schools in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Vancouver, New Westminster, Port Moody, Maple Ridge, Delta and Surrey

Adult Services

  • Adult Assessment Services (autism, Asperger’s ADHD and related disorders)

  • Workplace consultations and site-based education programs

  • Community-based social coaching programs for individuals with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s Disorder

  • Educational / Social coaching for young adults in the workplace, college and similar settings

  • Social coaching

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Do you provide Diagnostic Services for Autism and Asperger’s Disorder?

Yes. I provide comprehensive assessments and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Asperger's Syndrome or Disorder, as well as other social cognitive deficits and learning disabilities. A comprehensive assessment for autism costs $2,400.  If a psychoeducational assessment is also needed there is an additional fee as this requires several more hours of testing, test scoring and report writing.  These assessments usually take two to three weeks to complete, and the entire process is on average completed within 20 days.  I see children ( age 6 and above ), adolescents and adults for testing and assessment of autism. Please contact me to discuss the details and procedure, as it is highly individualized. I have provided services in the area of diagnosis and treatment of autism for over 20 years, and have worked with the provincial outreach program for autism, individual school districts and as a consultant to parents, teachers and school psychologists.

Adult Asperger's assessments cost from $2,000, depending upon the complexity.

What social and language based interventions do you provide?

I provide individual social-cognitive skills training for children and adolescents with autism and Asperger’s focused on developing “theory of mind” and reciprocal social interactions using methods developed by Michelle Winner. I additionally use a variety of approaches when and where appropriate, these include interventions techniques based upon Pivotal Response, RDI, SCERTS and language based interventions as appropriate to individual cases. Each intervention plan is individualized to meet the needs of you and your child.

Do you provide behaviour intervention services such as ABA?

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is the oldest and most fully researched treatment specifically developed for autism. ABA is a very intensive system of reward-based training which focuses on teaching particular skills. You may or may not need a full ABA treatment program for your child, however at a minimum you should be familiar with the basic techniques used in ABA which are often used to teach specific skills even with higher functioning children. These services are available throughout the Coquitlam, Burnaby, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Surrey, Vancouver and the surrounding areas. Much of my time is spent addressing behavioural issues, including non-compliance, toileting issues, school behaviour problems and social/relational issues with adolescents and adults. Stress and anxiety issues are often center to these issues and are often dealt with using behaviour interventions, environmental changes and modified Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

Do you provide communications focused interventions?

Almost people with autism have issues with speech and language. Sometimes these issues are obvious, many people with autism are non-verbal or use speech very poorly. Sometimes the issues relate not to articulation or grammar but to “speech pragmatics” (the use of speech to build social relationships). Across the board speech, language and communications interventions are likely to be helpful. In addition to therapy I provide assessments for pragmatic speech and communications deficits and will help develop a method to include these issues in your overall intervention program. I provide direct services as well as family and school-based consultation to help develop communications skills for children with ASD.

Do you provide sensory interventions?

Sensory therapy focuses on building daily living skills. Since many people with autism have delays in fine motor skills, sensory or neuropsychological based interventions can be very important. Sensory integration therapy – a technique which may help autistic people manage hypersensitivity to sound, light, and touch is often part of an overall intervention plan. I usually suggest a referral to a registered occupational therapist for you and work with them on more difficult issues.

Do you provide social/relational interventions?

One of autism’s “core deficits” is a lack of social and communication skills. Many children with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome or Aspergers Syndrome need help in building the skills they need to hold a conversation, connect with a new friend, or even navigate the playground. Social skills therapy can help out setting up and facilitating peer-based social interactions. We often use books and programs developed by Michelle Garcia Winner such as her “Social Behaviour Mapping” to address these issues. 

Do you provide play therapy?

Children with autism and Asperger’s Disorder often need help learning to play, and play can also serve as a tool for building speech, communication, and social skills. I provide consultation and training in using play therapy techniques in your home, including therapeutic techniques such as Floortime or The Play Project. In using techniques such as play therapy having an understanding of ABA (behavioural) techniques is often not only useful, but necessary. Many therapy programs use a one size fits all approach and rule out the use of techniques from other intervention programs. I attempt to use the most effective techniques that meet both you and your child’s needs.

What about basic behaviour therapy for problematic behaviours

Children with autism and Asperger’s Disorder are often frustrated. They are misunderstood, have a tough time communicating their needs, suffer from hyper-sensitivities to sound, light and touch and constant anxiety. Using Functional Behaviour Analysis we will help you figure out just what lies behind negative behaviors, and recommend both changes to the environment and routines to improve behavior as well as what specific new skills are needed to address the function of the behaviour (called a Functionally Equivalent Replacement Behaviour or FERB). Behaviour interventions are developed for use in the home, school or community.

Do you believe in using other “developmental” therapy?

Floortime, Sun-rise, and Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) are all considered to be “developmental treatments.” This means that they build from a child’s own interests, strengths and developmental level to increase emotional, social and intellectual abilities. Developmental therapies are often contrasted to behavioral therapies, which are best used to teach specific skills such as shoe tying, tooth brushing, etc. However, a successful program for a child with autism or Asperger’s Disorder will use each when and where they are appropriate. We always attempt to incorporate our understanding of developmental therapy in our interventions. You need a large tool box to be successful! Most of these types of interventions are provided in your home through ABA providers.

What about visually based therapy like PECS?

Many people with autism are better visual (external) thinkers. Some do very well with picture-based communication systems such as PECS (Picture Exchange Communication). Video modeling, video games and electronic communication systems also tap into these children’s visual strength to build skills and communication. We have found visual therapies to be a strong focus point in developing a rounded home based intervention. Often we use the PECS system as part of an initial assessment, and then implement visual supports to make sure that our interventions are used successfully in a variety of settings such as the home, school and community. Visual supports give us the ability to externalize learning, often making new skills easier to grasp, and avoids the problem of children becoming “prompt dependent” upon one or more individuals and being unable to fully function in a variety of settings. We are able to develop a comprehensive PECS system for use in your home that will support your child in their development of communications skills.

Do you do adult therapy for those with Asperger's Disorder or high-functioning autism?

In addition to services for children and adolescents I am one of the few providers with extensive experience working with young adults and adults with autism and Asperger’s Disorder or as it is sometimes called, Aspergers Syndrome. As a matter of fact, over the past few years more and more of my practice has focused on working with young adults and social/work-place issues. This includes social coaching, workplace evaluations, intervention planning and family consultations. Full comprehensive evaluations and diagnosis of adult Aspergers is also available.

Do you work with ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyper Activity Disorder) and Executive Dysfunction?

Much of my work with children and adolescents focuses on ADHD and deficits of executive function. Executive function is the concept referring to the cognitive processes required to plan and direct activities, including what we refer to as task initiation and follow-through, working memory, sustained attention, performance monitoring, inhibition of impulses, and goal-directed persistence. It also affects an individuals ability to control and modulate their emotions.

Many children I see have deficits in executive functioning which prevents them from having the necessary skills to perform well in school and in social settings. With these children we often need to make diagnostic decisions through testing and assessment, and then develop an individualized treatment plan addressing school, home and play. This might involve individual behavioural therapy, school consultation, referral to medical professionals, and parent training and education. I often work closely with schools in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Vancouver, New Westminster and Port Moody.

I often provide reading material, training videos and demonstrate and practice specific intervention techniques with parents and children. Much of the work we do in the area of ADHD is based upon the research and treatment programs developed by Dr. Russell Barkley. Please refer to my ADHD/ADD page for more information.

Can you help us with School Problems?

School academic and behaviour problems are a major focus of my practice. We can help you understand what the problem is through diagnostic assessments, and then develop a school based intervention plan that will work in conjunction with your home interventions. I have provided school based consultation and training throughout British Columbia, as well as in California, New York and elsewhere.

What about Anxiety, Depression or Family Issues?

Children, adolescents and adults are also seen for both diagnostic assessment and treatment of depression, anxiety and behaviour problems that might arise out of environmental or other situations. These individuals might take part in cognitive based therapy or counselling, or they might be provided with more traditional supportive therapy. I have provided child and adolescent therapy for over twenty years using scientifically sound treatment techniques to meet the child or adolescent’s needs. Often this is in combination with parent education, training and consultation. I provide consultation to families in my offices in Burnaby and Vancouver, in-home consultations and school observations (Burnaby, Vancouver, New Westminster, Coquitlam areas). My services range from working individually with children one-to-one in the office to providing training about writing and implementing behaviour plans for entire school districts. For information on children and anxiety: http://www.anxietybc.com/

How Do I Make an Appointment and is there a Waiting List?

You may phone my office at 604.726.2651 or email me to set up an appointment. EMAIL is the best way to reach me, as often I am in meetings, testing or away consulting on cases and unable to get to my phone. The home page of this website has an email form you may use. Fees are $200.00 per hour and may be paid by cash, e-transfer, check or through PayPal on this site.  Often extended health care covers the cost of seeing a registered psychologist. As a member of the RASP approved behaviour consultant list and my services qualify for reimbursement through provincial autism funding. There is usually no longer than a one to three week waiting period.

Are there any on-line screening tools that are useful?

(Information from AutismCanada’s website)
I  don’t like on-line screening tools for autism, depression, ADHD or any other disorder. My reasoning is very simple: A diagnosis of any disorder is complex. Much of what goes on in a diagnosis is about “ruling out” other possible causes for the symptoms or behaviours. ADHD can look just like autism, or depression, and autism and several language disorders are very difficult to distinguish. Still, I know parents and adults are looking these tools up. So here is some information from the AutismCanada website:


There are a number of screening tools available for autism spectrum disorder, however most are available only to professionals as part of a large testing kit.  These include:

  • Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ)

  • Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales (CSBS)

  • Parent’s Evaluation of Development Status (PEDS)

  • Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT)

  • Screening Tool for Autism in Toddlers and Young Children (STAT)

  • Observation tools such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-G)

  • The Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS)

  • The Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R)

For Children and Toddlers

Of all of the on-line tools that are available for young children-toddlers I would suggest the M-CHAT-R.  The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers-Revised (M-CHAT-R™) is a scientifically validated screening tool for children between 16 and 30 months of age that assesses risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children receive an autism screening at 18 and 24 months of age.
Autism Speaks is an international advocacy organization "dedicated to advancing research into causes and better treatments for autism spectrum disorders and related conditions both through direct funding and collaboration; increasing understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorders; and working toward solutions for the needs of individuals with autism and their families across the spectrum and lifespan through advocacy and support." [Website]

For full text or more information

Visit www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/diagnosis/screen-your-child

Autism Screening Tool for Children ages 3-11

For children ages 3-11, I would suggest The Childhood Autism Spectrum Test (CAST)  Here is a link to an on-line version:

https://autismcanada.org/about-autism/diagnosis/screening-tools/child/

Autism Screening Tool for Teens ages 12-15

For teens I would suggest The Adolescent Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ). Here is a link to an on-line version:

https://autismcanada.org/about-autism/diagnosis/screening-tools/teen/

Autism Screening Tool for Adults Ages 16+

For adults I would suggest the The Adult Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ)

https://autismcanada.org/about-autism/diagnosis/screening-tools/adult/

If after looking over these webpages and taking a screening test you would like to contact me about an assessment for adult autism spectrum disorder I would ask that you read over my webpage about the procedures and the costs.