Craig House: - The Watson Institute

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Transcript Craig House: - The Watson Institute

Addressing the Needs of Girl’s With Autism Spectrum Disorders

Hillary A. Mangis, M.S.Ed.

Mobile Therapist – The Watson Institute


Boys:Girls = 4:1 Girls not diagnosed until later May over identify with male population

• • • •

Dressing preferences Grooming habits Hair styles Interests


Body Image Bullying Communication Dating and Relationships Emotional/Mental Health Friendship


Hygiene Peer Pressure Pop-culture Self-awareness Self-esteem Sexuality

Madeline – laughs at inappropriate times, uses slang incorrectly, has difficulty differentiating between fantasy and reality and often lacks insight into her difficulties Chavonne –thoughtful and polite. Hums, talks to self, and escapes to fantasy. Has a cell phone that no friends call. Prefers to be alone Bridgette – beginning to realize that people are making fun of her and excluding her from activities, struggles academically Samantha –outcast at school due to past quirky behavior patterns. Has a tendency to talk excessively, particularly when nervous Rachel – odd speech, difficulty processing and understanding others Elizabeth – many appropriate and trendy interests, difficulty relating to others, uses blunt language, gets too silly

Sample Group: Dealing with Emotions

The Watson Institute Girls Group

How to Cope with an Unpleasant Emotion 1.


your feelings. 2.


you act. and take "time out" before 3.


about ways to help yourself. 4.


something to help yourself.

How to Handle Your Emotions

• Be honest with yourself.

• Find positive ways to express anger that are • Talk to somebody about your feelings.

• Don't ignore your emotions. not hurtful to others.

• Remember, whatever you are feeling, you're not alone.

• Think of something you can do that will help, • If you do get overwhelmed —ask for and then do it.




Stress is an overwhelming reaction to events

Answering questions in class

Too much homework

Problems with friends

Having too much to do

Problems with family Feeling pressure, strain, anxiety, constant worry, and/or tension

Body Reactions To Stress

Heart rate speeds up Breathe more quickly Blood pressure increases Metabolism increases

Body Reactions to Stress

Muscles feel tense Pupils dilate Feel full of energy (ready to explode) Start sweating

Signs that you’re too stressed:

Anxiety or panic attacks Feeling constantly pressured, hassled, and hurried Irritable or moody Stomachaches Headaches

Signs that You’re Too Stressed

Chest pains Problems sleeping Overeating Feel sad or depressed Nightmares Trouble concentrating

Stress Check school demands and frustrations negative thoughts and feelings about themselves changes in their bodies problems with friends unsafe living environment/neighborhood separation or divorce of parents

Stress Check

chronic illness or severe problems in the family death of a loved one moving to a new community changing schools taking on too many activities or having too high expectations family financial problems

Ways to reduce stress:

Exercise and eat regularly.

Avoid excess caffeine intake

which can increase feelings of anxiety and agitation.

Don't use illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

Learn relaxation exercises –

breathing and muscle relaxation techniques.

Develop assertiveness training skills.

Ways to reduce stress:

Rehearse and practice situations which cause stress.

– Practice talking in front of the mirror – Role play with your family Learn practical coping skills.

break a large task into smaller tasks.

Decrease negative self talk. Learn to feel good about doing a competent job.

Ways to Reduce Stress

Take a break from stressful situations.

Build a network of friends

cope in a positive way. who help you

Limit your schedule –

turn down or decrease number of activities, clubs, organizations to which you belong

Sleep –

Get a good night of sleep

Breathing Exercise

Step 1: Calm your mind Step 2: Maintain good posture Step 3:Breathe in through your nose Step 4: Breathe out through your mouth Step 5: Repeat at least 2 more times


Now you give advice:

Have the girl’s read letters sent in to girl magazine advice columns. (Make sure advice from magazine is covered).

Have the girls come up with a solution to their problem Review as group. After each one, compare what group member said with what was said in magazine