Psychotherapy Services in South West London

Asperger’s developmental disorder: work difficulties

Adults with Asperger’s often need to feel comfortable in asking another individual perhaps a clinician, job coach, mentor or close trusted friend to clarify the meaning of words, phrases and challenging social situations. The mastery of the unstated rules can present an especially difficult problem in the work place. Many capable adults with Asperger’s fail to find or to keep a job, owing to their impaired social skills. In fact underemployment is one of the most persistent problems faced by adults with Asperger’s. The individual might not understand what is meant by “the customer is always right” or how to react to a disagreement with a supervisor or express anger towards a colleague. While psychotherapy an counselling are helpful the main goal of intervention planning should be the development of social and communicative competence through direct teaching, modelling, coaching and role playing activities in real world situations. Following an accurate diagnosis, education about the effects of Asperger’s at home and in the community is an important starting point. Providing reading materials and basic information about the disorder can result in greater self knowledge and self awareness. Modular skill based training programmes can be used to provide direct instructions in social skills. Structured programme includes specific individual and group lesson that focus on the teaching of social rules and perspective talking skills. Individual lessons address rules for interrupting appropriately, managing eye contact and body position, listening, talking about topics and initiating a conversation. Activities also emphasise the appropriate interpretation and self monitoring of body language (e.g. Eye contact, facial  expression and gestures) monitoring of speech (e.g. volume of voice, rhythm and rate of speech) beginning and maintaining interactions, modelling and maintaining friendships.

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