“The Role of Counseling in the Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder
by Marlene Driscoll, MA, LMFT

This week, we’re excited to share with you an exclusive article “The Role of Counseling in the Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder” by Marlene Driscoll, MA, LMFT. In this article, Marlene explores the benefits of counseling on both children with ASD and their parents. For children, counseling may be beneficial in increasing independence and responsibilities when fading intensive services. For parents, counseling can help them navigate the world of ASD treatments through the many financial, emotional, and physical stressors they face.

Traditionally, intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has focused upon reducing interfering behavior and teaching language, academic and self-help skills. More recently there has been a greater emphasis upon social skills awareness and skills to independently navigate the social world. This change is in response to the widening of the diagnostic criteria, allowing for the identification of a greater number of individuals with social skill and social understanding impairments. Prioritizing social skill development within treatment has been essential in improving the lives of all children and adolescents with ASD, regardless of the severity of symptoms presented. This evolution of treatment services has also helped us recognize how counseling services can be an essential companion to skill-based intervention for many individuals on the spectrum. Children experiencing emotional issues such as anxiety, frustration, and depression require counseling services as an instructional intervention and supportive environment to address the challenges of growing up with ASD. 

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Marlene Driscoll is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has specialized in working with those impacted by ASD for over 20 years. She joined Autism Partnership in 1994 and has provided program supervision, school consultation, mentoring and Site Direction. She contributed to the writing of several ABA related books including A Work in Progress, It’s Time for School!, and Crafting Connections. She is currently the Clinical Director for Autism Partnership and provides counseling services to children, individuals, and couples.