C.L.A.S.S. Clinic – Changing Lives through Autism Spectrum Services
Every day, since I was a small child, I’ve asked myself with anger, “What’s wrong with you?!” After 50 years of frustrated social relationships at work and school, this year I finally put together the pieces of the puzzle with the help I received at the C.L.A.S.S. Clinic. Learning how Asperger’s makes me think and work differently enabled me to overcome chronic anxiety and depression and turn a career disruption into a big professional step forward. Twenty-five years into my marriage, I feel better prepared than ever to give my wife the emotional intimacy she deserves. The positive atmosphere of the treatment I received from the of professionals at the C.L.A.S.S. clinic helped me overcome a huge personal barrier, and I’ll always be grateful.
—D.B., age 51, diagnosed at C.L.A.S.S. with Asperger’s
The C.L.A.S.S. Clinic is one of the few clinics that specializes in serving intellectually able adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum, particularly those who were previously undiagnosed adolescents, transition age young people and adults. Autism Spectrum Disorder (“Asperger’s”) is a wide range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, affecting as many as 1 in 68 Americans. Some are not even identified until they are adolescents or adults, and it remains hard for these individuals and their families to find the services for ASD. In response to the gap of services, the C.L.A.S.S. Clinic was designed specifically to meet those needs. Our mission is to improve the lives of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders across the lifespan, by clinical diagnosis and treatment as well as research into the nature and causes of ASD and the factors that contribute to improved outcomes.
- Evaluation, testing and diagnosis (new diagnoses, neuropsychological and psychological testing) – Our clinicians will help to identify ASD and associated problems across the lifespan and to recommend and provide services to improve the lives of clients and their families. We also provide careful testing to determine what school services may be needed for students with ASD.
- Individual and family therapy – Topics may include difficulty moving forward, relationship problems, social anxiety or other emotional issues and trouble relating to peers. Treatment is adapted to the needs and abilities of the individual. We also work with families to provide the necessary skills, supports and therapeutic experiences to bring about lasting changes.
- Social skills and therapeutic groups for adolescents and adults – The focus of these groups is to help learn and practice skills to aid each person’s “launching” successfully an independent, adult life, with capable, useful skills. Topics may include goal setting, problem solving, emotional regulation, challenging automatic thoughts to change feelings, motivation for change and interpersonal communication.
- Replacing Problem Behaviors with Skillful Behaviors: For Young Adults – The focus of this group is to learn skills that help reduce problems by: gaining awareness of self and focus, clarifying personal goals, identifying behavioral obstacles, regulating and stabilizing emotions, tolerating distress, communicating effectively, navigating family challenges/conflict, correcting common thinking mistakes that influence mood.
- For Parents of Young Adults – Parents will learn skills to aid their adult child who is gaining independent living skills, such as emotional regulation, interpersonal communication, and problem solving, as he/she grows into a more mature adult.
- Medication management by adult and child psychiatrists – Often individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders can be helped effectively by the use of medications to reduce the symptoms of problems such as anxiety, depression, aggression and executive functioning difficulties. While not every person with ASD needs medication, for those who do, finding child and adult psychiatrists who understand their needs can be difficult. Our clinic ensures that clients are cared for by an interdisciplinary team of professionals who can collaborate on their care.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Why is it important to know if you have Autism Spectrum Disorder/Asperger’s Syndrome (ASD)?
A: People with ASD often say that it helps them to know why they have spent years feeling “different” from other people. Families report that they are relieved to better understand the person as well. The choice of treatments may be affected, and other problems may be reinterpreted in light of an ASD diagnosis.
Q: How can I tell if I or my family member has ASD?
A: Although a simple checklist of symptoms might suggest that a person has ASD, a careful evaluation by an expert in this area is needed to determine this with certainty. A thorough investigation of the person’s history and current behavior is needed, including psychological testing to identify other disorders that could also be present.
Q: If I go to the clinic, what will happen?
A: Every new patient is seen first for an initial evaluation that takes about 1.5 – 2 hours. At the end of the initial evaluation, you will receive recommendations for the next step. If needed, in-depth testing will be done at a separate appointment. Once a picture of your needs is obtained, treatment options can be discussed with you.
Meet our Team: