Our therapists are intimately involved in every aspect of life for these young men, love working with them, and find value in assisting them in recognizing their unlimited potential, developing a sense of self, and finding internal motivations to demonstrate the skills they learn.
One important aspect of skill development we focus on in the course our autism spectrum therapies is helping the young men manage through various anxieties they experience on a daily basis. When teaching young men with a learning disability (such as ADHD, Nonverbal Learning Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorder), our therapists use research based practices such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy along with the Four Pillars of Daniels Academy to assist the young men in their growth.
How we address the 4 pillars through Autism Spectrum therapies
Executive Functioning skills: There are a multitude of executive functions that allow people in general to down-regulate (down-regulate means using cognitive abilities to regulate our actions and choices) emotions, impulsiveness, rigidity, defense mechanisms, and ineffective behaviors. At Daniels Academy our autism spectrum therapies focus on relating and teaching four categories of executive function skills.
- Flexibility: Moving out of concrete stances that limit vision and scope such as only seeing one option available at any given moment and resisting neural-change; being able to see the perceptions and views of others as legitimate. As a result of their learning disability, our students are often seen as oppositional when in fact they are just rigid and concrete without the ability to be flexible.
- Perseverance: Not giving up on being effective. Being able to evaluate progress and change strategies. Setting and finding healthy, effective ways to reach goals.
- Inhibition: Choosing to inhibit inappropriate, ineffective, and unhealthy behaviors. Choosing to not let others dictate your emotional content and behaviors in difficult moments. Not comparing self to others especially around fairness issues. Focusing on things you can control rather than focusing on things you can not control.
- Initiation: Self Cuing to initiate appropriate healthy behaviors independently such as social interactions, emotion regulation, organization, independent life skills, and using electronics appropriately.