Autism Counselling in Sheffield

Photo of Susan Coldwell - Susan Coldwell Counselling and Supervision Online, MBACP Accred, Counsellor
Susan Coldwell Counselling and Supervision Online
Counsellor, MBACP Accred
Verified Verified
Sheffield S6  (Online Only)
I offer specialist counselling to adults diagnosed with autism.
In counselling you can speak to someone in confidence, who will listen as you talk through your thoughts feelings and problems. I offer a safe space where I will work with you to understand your difficulties without criticism or judgement. I can help you explore the things that are causing you trouble and come to a better understanding of yourself. Learning to accept and trust in yourself and your own natural inner resources, you will grow in confidence and self-esteem and draw on your own strengths to bring about real, meaningful change and growth.
I offer specialist counselling to adults diagnosed with autism.
In counselling you can speak to someone in confidence, who will listen as you talk through your thoughts feelings and problems. I offer a safe space where I will work with you to understand your difficulties without criticism or judgement. I can help you explore the things that are causing you trouble and come to a better understanding of yourself. Learning to accept and trust in yourself and your own natural inner resources, you will grow in confidence and self-esteem and draw on your own strengths to bring about real, meaningful change and growth.
0114 478 2504 View 0114 478 2504
Photo of Alexandra Leedham - Autism Unpicked: Assessment (child and adult 7-25), HCPC - Clin. Psych., Psychologist
Autism Unpicked: Assessment (child and adult 7-25)
Psychologist, HCPC - Clin. Psych.
Verified Verified
Sheffield S11
Autism Unpicked primarily offer neuroaffirmative private Autism assessment for children and young adults aged 7-25 in Sheffield, South Yorks (e.g. Doncaster, Rotherham, Barnsley), Derbyshire and Notts. Assessments will be online/by phone and in person for the direct element of the assessment (more details on our website - www.autismunpicked.co.uk). We are a team of specialist qualified clinicians (Clinical Psychologists and Specialist Speech and Language Therapists) trained and experienced in assessing people for Autism.
Autism Unpicked primarily offer neuroaffirmative private Autism assessment for children and young adults aged 7-25 in Sheffield, South Yorks (e.g. Doncaster, Rotherham, Barnsley), Derbyshire and Notts. Assessments will be online/by phone and in person for the direct element of the assessment (more details on our website - www.autismunpicked.co.uk). We are a team of specialist qualified clinicians (Clinical Psychologists and Specialist Speech and Language Therapists) trained and experienced in assessing people for Autism.
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Photo of Julie Dawn Frith, DCounsPsych, BACP, Counsellor
Julie Dawn Frith
Counsellor, DCounsPsych, BACP
Verified Verified
Sheffield S35  (Online Only)
Throughout my career, I've had the privilege of working with incredible individuals whose unique perspectives and strengths have inspired me every day. Witnessing their growth, resilience, and creativity has fuelled my commitment to making a difference in their lives. I am excited to leverage my experience and knowledge to provide dedicated, empathetic support to those navigating the challenges and celebrating the triumphs of living with ADHD and Autism. My goal is to create a space where everyone feels heard, valued, and empowered to thrive.
Throughout my career, I've had the privilege of working with incredible individuals whose unique perspectives and strengths have inspired me every day. Witnessing their growth, resilience, and creativity has fuelled my commitment to making a difference in their lives. I am excited to leverage my experience and knowledge to provide dedicated, empathetic support to those navigating the challenges and celebrating the triumphs of living with ADHD and Autism. My goal is to create a space where everyone feels heard, valued, and empowered to thrive.
0114 697 3216 View 0114 697 3216
Photo of Sharon Barker - MindScope Counselling, MNCPS Acc., Counsellor
MindScope Counselling
Counsellor, MNCPS Acc.
Verified Verified
Sheffield S26
Over the past 3 years I have worked predominantly with Autism & Neurodevelopment disorders, I emotionally support families, adults, parents, children & young people, from pre to post diagnosis and beyond.
Does anxiety control your life? Is everything just too overwhelming? Do you, or your child struggle to 'fit 'in? Have you lost your sense of direction or purpose?, or maybe you just don't feel 'good enough'. As a Person centred counsellor I will listen without judgement, empower and support you. 'You' are the expert, this is your life, your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behaviours are all important and extremely valid. Maybe your haunted by trauma, PTSD, phobias, bullying, nightmares or anxiety. By using Rewind therapy, together we can reframe the trauma and the fear offering you a happier, better quality of life.
Over the past 3 years I have worked predominantly with Autism & Neurodevelopment disorders, I emotionally support families, adults, parents, children & young people, from pre to post diagnosis and beyond.
Does anxiety control your life? Is everything just too overwhelming? Do you, or your child struggle to 'fit 'in? Have you lost your sense of direction or purpose?, or maybe you just don't feel 'good enough'. As a Person centred counsellor I will listen without judgement, empower and support you. 'You' are the expert, this is your life, your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behaviours are all important and extremely valid. Maybe your haunted by trauma, PTSD, phobias, bullying, nightmares or anxiety. By using Rewind therapy, together we can reframe the trauma and the fear offering you a happier, better quality of life.
0114 697 0117 View 0114 697 0117
Photo of Carolyn Hart, MA, ACP, Psychotherapist
Carolyn Hart
Psychotherapist, MA, ACP
Verified Verified
Sheffield S10
I am a consultant child and adolescent psychotherapist with over 25 years of experience in the NHS and NSPCC, treating clients with difficulties including, autism, anxiety, developmental delay, trauma and attachment difficulties. I work with parent-infant pairs, young children, adolescents and young adults. I aim to create a safe, non-judgemental, accepting and nurturing environment. For young children and those who find it difficult to speak, I work through play and the arts. To get a better understanding of how this works, please look at the videos on my website.
I am a consultant child and adolescent psychotherapist with over 25 years of experience in the NHS and NSPCC, treating clients with difficulties including, autism, anxiety, developmental delay, trauma and attachment difficulties. I work with parent-infant pairs, young children, adolescents and young adults. I aim to create a safe, non-judgemental, accepting and nurturing environment. For young children and those who find it difficult to speak, I work through play and the arts. To get a better understanding of how this works, please look at the videos on my website.
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Photo of Sara Bartlett Brown, MBACP, Counsellor
Sara Bartlett Brown
Counsellor, MBACP
Verified Verified
Sheffield S4  (Online Only)
I've completed a Post Grad Cert in Autism with Dr Luke Beardon and I read widely the writing & research by autistic writers & advocates.
I work online with adult autistic Individuals and with Couples in the UK. I provide an accessible & compassionate service that reduces distress & enables people to address what is difficult. If we have not been understood and accepted we may develop ways of being and doing that do not support our well being. We keep our true selves hidden from others and whilst this protects us, it can cause much pain and limit us. With an understanding therapist we can trust, we begin to make sense of who we are, how we are and what has happened to us in our lives. We can be truer to ourselves and live with more confidence, ease and acceptance.
I've completed a Post Grad Cert in Autism with Dr Luke Beardon and I read widely the writing & research by autistic writers & advocates.
I work online with adult autistic Individuals and with Couples in the UK. I provide an accessible & compassionate service that reduces distress & enables people to address what is difficult. If we have not been understood and accepted we may develop ways of being and doing that do not support our well being. We keep our true selves hidden from others and whilst this protects us, it can cause much pain and limit us. With an understanding therapist we can trust, we begin to make sense of who we are, how we are and what has happened to us in our lives. We can be truer to ourselves and live with more confidence, ease and acceptance.
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Photo of Dr Samantha Lewis - Dr Samantha Lewis: ADHD and Autism specialist , HCPC - Clin. Psych., Psychologist
Dr Samantha Lewis: ADHD and Autism specialist
Psychologist, HCPC - Clin. Psych.
Verified Verified
Sheffield S1
I am a Consultant Clinical Psychologist who has worked exclusively in the area of adult Autism (previously known as Asperger’s syndrome) and ADHD for over 20 years, both in the NHS and in private practice. People I see pursue an assessment as they are experiencing difficulties in their lives and wonder if it may be due to Autism and / or ADHD. I complete comprehensive, detailed diagnostic assessments which provide understanding and meaning and help people find ways to manage areas they are struggling with.
I am a Consultant Clinical Psychologist who has worked exclusively in the area of adult Autism (previously known as Asperger’s syndrome) and ADHD for over 20 years, both in the NHS and in private practice. People I see pursue an assessment as they are experiencing difficulties in their lives and wonder if it may be due to Autism and / or ADHD. I complete comprehensive, detailed diagnostic assessments which provide understanding and meaning and help people find ways to manage areas they are struggling with.
0116 366 8080 View 0116 366 8080
Photo of Dr Sarah Rodgers, HCPC - Clin. Psych., Psychologist
Dr Sarah Rodgers
Psychologist, HCPC - Clin. Psych.
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Sheffield S7
I offer Autism and ADHD assessments to adults in person or online .
Have you always felt like you never quite fitted in and life has always been a bit of a struggle for you? It may be that you have felt misunderstood or that other people simply do not 'get' you. Everyday life may have always felt challenging, but the increased demands of adult life have been overwhelming and exhausting. You may worry a lot about tasks or relationships. You may also find that you have differences that are areas of significant strength for you, for example an ability to be creative, to hyper-focus and attend to detail. Would you like to discover if Autism or ADHD form a part of your identity?
I offer Autism and ADHD assessments to adults in person or online .
Have you always felt like you never quite fitted in and life has always been a bit of a struggle for you? It may be that you have felt misunderstood or that other people simply do not 'get' you. Everyday life may have always felt challenging, but the increased demands of adult life have been overwhelming and exhausting. You may worry a lot about tasks or relationships. You may also find that you have differences that are areas of significant strength for you, for example an ability to be creative, to hyper-focus and attend to detail. Would you like to discover if Autism or ADHD form a part of your identity?
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Photo of Katy Mary Atkinson-Jones - Umbrella Assessment & Therapy, HCPC - Clin. Psych., Psychologist
Umbrella Assessment & Therapy
Psychologist, HCPC - Clin. Psych.
Verified Verified
Sheffield S7
At Umbrella Assessment and Therapy we offer gold standard and comprehensive autism assessment to children and adults. We are a specialised multi-disciplinary team who go above and beyond to provide you with the support and understanding that you need.
At Umbrella Assessment and Therapy we offer gold standard and comprehensive autism assessment to children and adults. We are a specialised multi-disciplinary team who go above and beyond to provide you with the support and understanding that you need.
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Photo of Dr Lucy Murray, PsychD, HCPC - Clin. Psych., Psychologist
Dr Lucy Murray
Psychologist, PsychD, HCPC - Clin. Psych.
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Sheffield S11
I offer psychological therapy to people on their path to becoming pregnant, pregnancy and the first few years of parenthood. In my role as an NHS Neonatal Clinical Psychologist, I have the privilege of supporting parents whose babies have been born prematurely. I have helped my clients with difficulties including complex fertility journeys, worries during pregnancy, birth trauma, loss or bereavement, concerns about attachment and bonding and adjustment to having a child with longer-term health needs. I support parental mental health needs including anxiety, depression, Autism and ADHD. I look forward to speaking to you.
I offer psychological therapy to people on their path to becoming pregnant, pregnancy and the first few years of parenthood. In my role as an NHS Neonatal Clinical Psychologist, I have the privilege of supporting parents whose babies have been born prematurely. I have helped my clients with difficulties including complex fertility journeys, worries during pregnancy, birth trauma, loss or bereavement, concerns about attachment and bonding and adjustment to having a child with longer-term health needs. I support parental mental health needs including anxiety, depression, Autism and ADHD. I look forward to speaking to you.
0114 697 1116 View 0114 697 1116
Photo of Sarah French, MSc, MBABCP, Psychotherapist
Sarah French
Psychotherapist, MSc, MBABCP
Verified Verified
Sheffield S11  (Online Only)
Many people have experienced misdiagnosis often with autism or ADHD overlooked and misunderstood by therapists.
My name is Sarah and I have over 20 years experience working as a Psychotherapist in the NHS and in private practice. I specialise in CBT, ACT, Compassion focused approaches and in EMDR. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), includes a range of talking therapies, all based on the idea that thoughts, feelings, what we do, and how our bodies feel, are all connected. If we change one of these we can alter all the others. When we’re low or upset, we often fall into patterns of thinking and responding which can worsen how we feel. CBT works to help us notice thinking styles or unhelpful things that we do so we can live better.
Many people have experienced misdiagnosis often with autism or ADHD overlooked and misunderstood by therapists.
My name is Sarah and I have over 20 years experience working as a Psychotherapist in the NHS and in private practice. I specialise in CBT, ACT, Compassion focused approaches and in EMDR. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), includes a range of talking therapies, all based on the idea that thoughts, feelings, what we do, and how our bodies feel, are all connected. If we change one of these we can alter all the others. When we’re low or upset, we often fall into patterns of thinking and responding which can worsen how we feel. CBT works to help us notice thinking styles or unhelpful things that we do so we can live better.
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Photo of Bex Fennell, MNCPS Acc., Psychotherapist
Bex Fennell
Psychotherapist, MNCPS Acc.
Verified Verified
Sheffield S8
Not accepting new clients
I have experience of working with additional needs, specifically Autism/ ADHD and have worked for agencies offering counselling for survivors of sexual abuse, bereavement and loss and adolescent trauma.
Hi, I am Bex and I am an Accredited Integrative Psychotherapist (NCS/ MBACP) and Counsellor with over 20 years’ experience of working within mental health. I work with both adults and children. I know that seeking counselling can be a daunting process, however, I offer a warm, supportive and non- judgemental space where we can explore any issues that could be preventing you from living a more fulfilling life. My years of training and experience in becoming a counsellor have taught me that each client is unique with their own perspective and understanding- it is my work to sit alongside you and understand your pain.
I have experience of working with additional needs, specifically Autism/ ADHD and have worked for agencies offering counselling for survivors of sexual abuse, bereavement and loss and adolescent trauma.
Hi, I am Bex and I am an Accredited Integrative Psychotherapist (NCS/ MBACP) and Counsellor with over 20 years’ experience of working within mental health. I work with both adults and children. I know that seeking counselling can be a daunting process, however, I offer a warm, supportive and non- judgemental space where we can explore any issues that could be preventing you from living a more fulfilling life. My years of training and experience in becoming a counsellor have taught me that each client is unique with their own perspective and understanding- it is my work to sit alongside you and understand your pain.
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Photo of Natalie Kendall, MBBS, MBACP, Counsellor
Natalie Kendall
Counsellor, MBBS, MBACP
Verified Verified
Sheffield S1
Hello! Nice to meet you! I'm Natalie (Nat)—an integrative therapist based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Welcome to Spectrum Counselling. I am a registered member of the B.A.C.P. I offer a safe, kind, and non-judgmental counselling services. I embrace neurodiversity as I have years of personal and professional experience. ADHD, ADD, Autism, Dyslexia and other cognitive conditions (diagnosed and undiagnosed.) However, it is your experience that counts. It can be difficult to Reach out and I am here for you to listen and understand your needs.
Hello! Nice to meet you! I'm Natalie (Nat)—an integrative therapist based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Welcome to Spectrum Counselling. I am a registered member of the B.A.C.P. I offer a safe, kind, and non-judgmental counselling services. I embrace neurodiversity as I have years of personal and professional experience. ADHD, ADD, Autism, Dyslexia and other cognitive conditions (diagnosed and undiagnosed.) However, it is your experience that counts. It can be difficult to Reach out and I am here for you to listen and understand your needs.
01226 445164 View 01226 445164
Photo of Dawn Cooper - Hope Therapy Hub, MBABCP, Psychotherapist
Hope Therapy Hub
Psychotherapist, MBABCP
Verified Verified
Sheffield S10
Hi, my name is Dawn. My background is as a registered mental health nurse and I have worked with children, young people, and families for over 25 years. I am also a dual-qualified psychotherapist and I work privately helping people from all age groups to overcome a wide range of mental health challenges which include: eating disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, trauma work including PTSD, relationship difficulties, autism, and attention deficit disorders to mention a few. I love my job and I am passionate about helping people achieve their goals and getting their lives back on track.
Hi, my name is Dawn. My background is as a registered mental health nurse and I have worked with children, young people, and families for over 25 years. I am also a dual-qualified psychotherapist and I work privately helping people from all age groups to overcome a wide range of mental health challenges which include: eating disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, trauma work including PTSD, relationship difficulties, autism, and attention deficit disorders to mention a few. I love my job and I am passionate about helping people achieve their goals and getting their lives back on track.
01433 447544 View 01433 447544
Photo of Sian Alexandra Spencer-Bray - Therapy & Lifestyle Clinic (TLC), MSc, COSRT General, Psychotherapist
Therapy & Lifestyle Clinic (TLC)
Psychotherapist, MSc, COSRT General
Verified Verified
Sheffield S1
Sex therapy, CBT, EMDR, psychodynamic counselling, couples therapy, child therapy (11+), person-centred counselling, trauma focused therapy and Autism assessments.
TLC is a clinic of experienced and highly qualified professionals working towards helping you better yourself. We work with individuals, couples and groups to offer a confidential service where clients can discuss sensitive issues with no judgement. Sian’s (the founder) career has been namely in mental health and sexual health, two areas which she is hugely passionate about. At TLC we work with a range of difficulties including anxiety, depression, bereavement, stress, bullying, low self-esteem, relationships and offer Autism assessments, to name a few. All our professionals are registered with COSRT, BABCP, BACP, HCPC or BPS.
Sex therapy, CBT, EMDR, psychodynamic counselling, couples therapy, child therapy (11+), person-centred counselling, trauma focused therapy and Autism assessments.
TLC is a clinic of experienced and highly qualified professionals working towards helping you better yourself. We work with individuals, couples and groups to offer a confidential service where clients can discuss sensitive issues with no judgement. Sian’s (the founder) career has been namely in mental health and sexual health, two areas which she is hugely passionate about. At TLC we work with a range of difficulties including anxiety, depression, bereavement, stress, bullying, low self-esteem, relationships and offer Autism assessments, to name a few. All our professionals are registered with COSRT, BABCP, BACP, HCPC or BPS.
01246 607005 View 01246 607005
Photo of Jack Brown, MBABCP, Psychotherapist
Jack Brown
Psychotherapist, MBABCP
Verified Verified
3 Endorsed
Sheffield S1  (Online Only)
I also specialise in helping clients adjust to autism or ADHD, to process big life changes or loss, to develop lifechanging insights or to work on coping with long standing beliefs.
My name is Jack, I am a Psychological Therapist specialising in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). If you are finding parts of being human tough or confusing at the moment and don't know what to do, you are not alone. CBT and ACT are powerful psychotherapies that offer you the means to deeply understand your individual story and the unhelpful patterns keeping you stuck. They also offer long-term tools to break these patterns and to learn to live life flexibly and with purpose. To find out more, please check out my website or send me a message and I will get back to you ASAP
I also specialise in helping clients adjust to autism or ADHD, to process big life changes or loss, to develop lifechanging insights or to work on coping with long standing beliefs.
My name is Jack, I am a Psychological Therapist specialising in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). If you are finding parts of being human tough or confusing at the moment and don't know what to do, you are not alone. CBT and ACT are powerful psychotherapies that offer you the means to deeply understand your individual story and the unhelpful patterns keeping you stuck. They also offer long-term tools to break these patterns and to learn to live life flexibly and with purpose. To find out more, please check out my website or send me a message and I will get back to you ASAP
0161 524 4157 View 0161 524 4157
Photo of Louise Willetts -  Women/Girls: Self-esteem, Relationships, Anxiety., MBACP Accred, Counsellor
Women/Girls: Self-esteem, Relationships, Anxiety.
Counsellor, MBACP Accred
Verified Verified
Sheffield S25
Are you often unhappy and anxious? Do you often feel overwhelmed or have difficulty making decisions? Do you struggle to build healthy relationships, always putting everyone else before yourself? In counselling, we will work towards developing coping skills that you can use outside of therapy to make your life better, reduce anxiety, and become more confident. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Rewind Technique can help you move forward. You can identify the patterns in your life that cause you difficulty, and learn to change those unhelpful patterns. Contact me via phone, text, or email. I am looking forward to helping.
Are you often unhappy and anxious? Do you often feel overwhelmed or have difficulty making decisions? Do you struggle to build healthy relationships, always putting everyone else before yourself? In counselling, we will work towards developing coping skills that you can use outside of therapy to make your life better, reduce anxiety, and become more confident. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Rewind Technique can help you move forward. You can identify the patterns in your life that cause you difficulty, and learn to change those unhelpful patterns. Contact me via phone, text, or email. I am looking forward to helping.
07404 448713 View 07404 448713
Photo of Linda Hardwick, MBABCP, Psychotherapist
Linda Hardwick
Psychotherapist, MBABCP
Verified Verified
Sheffield S11
Hello, my name is Linda and I am a CBT therapist and Sensory practitioner. I have over 13 years experience of working in the NHS. Since qualifying in 2009 I have worked with older adults, adults and with children and adolescents in a variety of different settings. These have involved working in educational environments, hospitals and in community mental health teams. The majority of my work has been within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). I have worked with children, young people and their families helping them with a wide range of issues. I provide face to face sessions on Thursday afternoons in Sheffield.
Hello, my name is Linda and I am a CBT therapist and Sensory practitioner. I have over 13 years experience of working in the NHS. Since qualifying in 2009 I have worked with older adults, adults and with children and adolescents in a variety of different settings. These have involved working in educational environments, hospitals and in community mental health teams. The majority of my work has been within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). I have worked with children, young people and their families helping them with a wide range of issues. I provide face to face sessions on Thursday afternoons in Sheffield.
0114 697 7003 View 0114 697 7003
Photo of Kirsty Woodhead, MBACP, Counsellor
Kirsty Woodhead
Counsellor, MBACP
Verified Verified
Sheffield S10  (Online Only)
Not accepting new clients
Whether you grew up knowing you were autistic/ADHD or realised later in adulthood, it can have an influence on your ability to connect, express emotions & to let go of neurotypical (NT) standards & thrive as a neurodivergent (ND) adult. Navigating these difficulties can lead to feeling disconnected & split from oneself, burnt-out, & being confused about the future. Counselling is a great place to build a secure sense of self that helps you feel calm & centred even through the most difficult times. Together we can heal the disconnection, build coping strategies to recover from burn-out & develop strength from the challenges you face.
Whether you grew up knowing you were autistic/ADHD or realised later in adulthood, it can have an influence on your ability to connect, express emotions & to let go of neurotypical (NT) standards & thrive as a neurodivergent (ND) adult. Navigating these difficulties can lead to feeling disconnected & split from oneself, burnt-out, & being confused about the future. Counselling is a great place to build a secure sense of self that helps you feel calm & centred even through the most difficult times. Together we can heal the disconnection, build coping strategies to recover from burn-out & develop strength from the challenges you face.
01484 627590 View 01484 627590
Photo of Dawn Saxton - Dawn Saxton Counselling, MBACP Accred, Counsellor
Dawn Saxton Counselling
Counsellor, MBACP Accred
Verified Verified
Sheffield S11  (Online Only)
Hello and a warm welcome. I'm Dawn, an experienced Accredited Therapist, working online from my practice in South Yorkshire. I offer a safe space for you to come & be as you are. My warm & caring approach will be the support that you need to help you on your journey & bring about the changes you want to see in your life. Together we can explore ways to move forward, making sense of your difficulties & who you are. We can find practical steps to take control, build healthy coping mechanisms & stronger resilience to overcome any challenges & difficulties you are experiencing.
Hello and a warm welcome. I'm Dawn, an experienced Accredited Therapist, working online from my practice in South Yorkshire. I offer a safe space for you to come & be as you are. My warm & caring approach will be the support that you need to help you on your journey & bring about the changes you want to see in your life. Together we can explore ways to move forward, making sense of your difficulties & who you are. We can find practical steps to take control, build healthy coping mechanisms & stronger resilience to overcome any challenges & difficulties you are experiencing.
01226 107468 View 01226 107468
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Autism Counsellors

What is the most effective treatment for autism?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has come to be considered the standard treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder, and research has confirmed its effectiveness for many children. Therapists trained in ABA techniques work with children (and their parents) on developing social skills, communication and learning abilities, and everyday habits of hygiene and grooming. The clinician will tailor their program to the child’s particular need but the overarching goal will be to help them advance as far as possible toward independence based on their level of symptoms and decrease the need for additional special services. Families should seek a mental health professional specifically trained in ABA, and holding special certification in the technique, who has extensive experience not only with the approach but in using it with children with the same level of symptoms as the child who needs care.

How does ABA work?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) sessions, which typically focus on positive reinforcement, can be intensive, lasting two or more hours several times a week, and continuing for two years or more. Therapists can also be expected to ask parents to take an active role in reinforcing lessons. Research has found that the technique can lead to major improvements that decrease the need for additional special services.

How does treatment for autism work?

Therapy sessions based on Applied Behavior Analysis will likely be frequent, intensive, and highly structured. After a thorough assessment, a therapist will help a child understand and develop skills in a range of areas, including communication, motor skills, social skills, self-care, play, and academic skills, as well as routines of daily living like hygiene. Typically, the therapist will help a child break down the components of a behavior—often referred to as the antecedent (what prompts an action), the behavior, and the consequence(what immediately follows)—and then reward the child at every step, while also asking parents to reinforce the lessons, and the rewards, throughout the day. This core therapy may be supplemented by occupational or speech therapy, and antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anticonvulsants may be prescribed to address specific severe symptoms.

How long does therapy for autism take?

Some people with autism spectrum disorder may be engaged in some level of therapy for many years, but research shows that treatment will be most effective if it is begun early and delivered intensively. When therapy begins by age 3, children tend to be better able to grasp and adopt the skills needed to manage everyday life, including attending school and establishing social relationships. This type of early-intervention treatment regimen is highly structured, typically involving 20 to 40 hours of one-on-one therapy per week, along with additional hours of engagement managed by parents, for a period of two years or more, although the duration of treatment is dependent on the child’s level of symptoms and pace of progress.