Asperger Syndrome and Psychotherapy: Understanding Asperger Perspectives

By Paula Jacobsen | Go to book overview

9
School Collaboration and Consultation

The Child Therapist's Role

For many years, as a child psychotherapist, my work was primarily with children and their parents. The issues of the children I saw did not necessarily include significant difficulties at school. Some, of course, were having problems at school. If a child was experiencing significant learning, emotional, or behavioral issues, I sometimes had contact with a teacher and with other school personnel. Occasionally, I included a school observation as part of my assessment, or arranged for another child therapist to observe a child to better understand the school issues. When the parents and I thought that would be helpful, I attended a meeting at the school. I was available for telephone contact with a teacher, principal, school psychologist or counselor. My role was as a resource for understanding the child developmentally and emotionally. I could be an advocate for the child and a participant in planning, when we felt that it was appropriate and would not be disruptive to my relationship with the child.

As I worked with more Asperger Syndrome children, I found that I became more involved in working with the schools. Even the most capable and high functioning of these children might have difficulty with organization, with understanding expectations, and with homework. Many had interpersonal problems with peers and sometimes with adults. As they got older, they often were frustrated with literature. The language became more abstract. They were expected to understand what is implied, rather than stated. Writing, the decision of what to write or the act of writing it, could be a challenge. Creative writing could be an area of difficulty if it did not follow a tight structure or learned formula. Early in my work with these children, a parent or the school might initiate contact in response to a crisis or a signifi-

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