Pathology and Identifying Problems

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Pathology and Identifying Problems

What is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism is a developmental, neurological disorder that causes impairments in the areas of language development, communication, and social interaction. Autism is usually observable at around age two and a half. However, recent research has identified symptom presentation and subsequent diagnosis as early as 18 months. A child with Autism may present with disruptions in or lack of language, social and interpersonal withdrawal, and unusual interests that are often stereotypical and repetitive. Further challenges that might be present include impairments in attention and concentration, listening and following through with directions and commands, as well as behavioral displays that maybe excessive for the event/circumstance. The individual may be very routine driven and become upset/disorganized when unable to anticipate changes or alterations in the normal progression of the routine. Sensory issues may be present and the individual may respond differently to textures and touch. Although the level and severity of these issues is on “spectrum” and impact individuals in varying ways, the diagnosis often requires one-on-one assistance and intervention or, at the very least, a setting that affords a low student to teacher ratio. Some individuals with ASD are integrated into the general education setting with little to no accommodations and others will require more intensive academic and behavioral support obtained through a specialized educational setting. Although there is no cure for Autism, many individuals who are property treated early on in development will mature to be happy, productive, well-adjusted contributors to society.

If you are interested in receiving psychological or developmental services, or have questions about the treatment methodology or services provided by OBH, please call us at 619-297-4300.

Psychological Problems & Mental Illness

Mental illness, or psychological disturbance, can manifest itself in a variety of forms, and symptom presentation will differ according to the particular diagnosis. Typically, mental illness is thought of as a psychological or behavioral pattern that occurs in an individual that causes significant distress, impaired functioning, or disability. Its presentation or manifestation is a substantial departure of what is expected during the course of normal developmental progression. Mental illness can affect a person’s cognitive, emotional, behavioral, social, and interpersonal life. It is not uncommon for individuals experiencing abnormalities in one or more of these areas to have difficulty in navigating everyday situations, maintaining relationships or employment, or caring for themselves or others. At times, these issues are treated with a combination of therapy to adjust environmental and personal factors as well as pharmacology (medication). Although OBH does not write prescriptions for medication, we work closely with your psychiatrist or physician to ensure continuity of care.

OBH primarily utilizes a cognitive-behavioral approach to understanding and treating a variety of mental health diagnoses and disorders. We seek to identify the source of maladaptive thoughts, feelings, and/or perspectives that lead an individual to experience life differently and help them to adapt in order to function more positively in the environment. This is conducted in a goal-oriented, systematic way as to preserve the person’s individuality, while facilitating them in reaching their full potential. Symptom reduction and an increased quality of life are often foundational goals that are continually processed and analyzed within a supportive, nurturing therapeutic environment.

Professional Services Offered

Diagnostic Evaluation Center (Psychological & Developmental)

OBH provides on-site, comprehensive psychological and developmental evaluation services for children, adolescents and adults age birth – adulthood. Whether you are looking to establish a formal diagnosis, clarify an existing diagnosis, obtain present levels of functioning or are in need of professional recommendations, a licensed clinical psychologist at OBH can assist you. Through a comprehensive, standardized process that uses state of the art technology in the field, a professional will evaluate a variety of functional domains including

  • cognitive and intellectual functioning,
  • motor skill development,
  • adaptive skills,
  • socialization
  • communication
  • attention & concentration
  • emotional & behavioral issues

It is imperative that a formal diagnosis is established early in the life of a child as this informs treatment recommendation and, in many cases, dictates eligibility and the allocation of associated services. Each evaluation concludes with a summary session with parents (and/or examinee when appropriate) to review and discuss the results and diagnostic impressions as well as providing a comprehensive written report for you to distribute to professionals (e.g. school districts, physicians, psychiatrists, insurance providers) or anyone else involved with the care and development of the examinee. Our goal is for you to understand the fundamental issues involved in each evaluation and have a clear and concise set of recommendations that will guide effective treatment.

Functional Behavior Assessment

Dysfunctional behaviors that result in negative consequences for the individual and those around them need to be identified and fully understood before treatment interventions are applied. Functional Behavior Assessment is a systematic, scientific method for assessing the function of the behavior and often times, identifying and teaching a more pro-social replacement behavior that has a similar function or result on the environment. The behavior analyst collects a variety of formal and informal data concerning frequency, duration, contingency, as well as antecedents and consequences of the behavior in question. Commonly, the result of such assessment leads to the implementation of both proactive and reactive techniques and strategies to appropriately address and treat the behavioral problem.

Autism Intensive Behavior Intervention Programming

Research indicates that the earlier intervention/treatment is applied to individuals with developmental disabilities, the better the associated long-term prognosis will be. OBH provides in-home early intervention programming for children and toddlers that are either “at-risk” or already have an established diagnostic label of Autism or Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). This service provides the child with highly trained, home-based therapists who work with the child in a one-on-one setting on a variety of functional, educational, and behavioral goals.

Individual, Family, & Group Psychotherapy

Therapeutic services are offered in a variety of contexts depending on the particular need of the client. Often times a client may find it helpful to associate with other individuals whom are experiencing similar life challenges in a group therapy setting. Other times, the client may feel more comfortable being seen in a personal, one-on-one situation with the therapist. Family sessions can also help members connect on new levels and strengthen relationships in a safe and nurturing environment. Psychotherapy assists the client in emotional growth and fosters effective personal problem solving skills.

Parent Training/Consultation

Parent training services teach an alternative way of perceiving and responding to a child through the appropriate choice of effective interventions. Through instruction, education, and modeling, parents work in conjunction with the professional to more clearly understand the origins of behavior and address it in more effective ways. There are significant benefits to ensuring that immediate family members are trained in these management techniques so that behaviors are responded to consistently and deliberately.

If you are interested in receiving psychological or developmental services, or have questions about the treatment methodology or services provided by OBH, please call us at 619-297-4300.