Children and adolescents with Asperger
Syndrome: Social work assessment
Kevin P. Stoddart, Barbara Muskat, and Faye Mishna
There is a considerable paucity of literature on social work interventions with respect to autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), and specifically Asperger Syndrome (AS). An ecological systems approach to assessment and intervention, the most widely used approach in social work, has much to offer in the work with this population of children, adolescents, and their families. Moreover, social work's commitment to groups who are marginalized, including the profession's attention to stigma, is salient.
The purpose of this chapter is to demonstrate the relevance of social work assessment and intervention to children and adolescents with AS and their families. The psychosocial issues of children and youth with AS and their parents will be reviewed. Following this, theoretical considerations for social work assessment and intervention are highlighted. We then discuss five social work service areas that are applicable to this population. These consist of case management, parent therapy, family therapy, individual therapy for the child or adolescent, and group work. This discussion is based on the emerging literature on AS and on our clinical experience in the field of AS, ASDs, and learning disabilities.
In their groundbreaking article on the clinical features of AS, Szatmari, Bremner, and Nagy (1989) noted, “The predicament of these children [with AS] is especially poignant as they try to grapple with a world that is essentially social.