Page 1



Double Issue! featuring au t i s m spectrum disorders

winter 2012 / spring 2013 Volume 16, Number 1



effects of spirituality on your health


HOPE p. 70

p. 90

for Widows in Nepal

integrative medicine therapies for ankle injuries p. 54

$6.50 U.S./$9.50 CAN

<<< New Column! p. 68

natural remedies

Echinacea p. 52

2 WINTER 2012/SPRING 2013 |

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Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health速



Double Issue! featuring

winter 2012 / spring 2013 Volume 16, Number 1

au t i s m spectrum disorders

10 r its C o m m o n t r a i t s o f Females with Aspergers







11 book review


34 mind news


96 short story


70 investigating the potentials of religion and spirituality to reduce stress and improve health by marty mendenhall, PHD, LPC, BCPC


90 CRI brings new hope to widows in nepal by SANDRA L. RAMSEY, MA, LMFT, LPC, FAPA, FACFEI 4 WINTER 2012/SPRING 2013

100 new members

IN THIS ISSUE 08 ACCREDITATION 12 EDITOR’S PICK 17 10 traits OF asperger’s 22 AUTISM TIPS 36 AUTISM RESEARCH 44 FACCT association 46 ES-21 RECAP |

Integrative Health 51


52 Natural Remedies



53 healthy recipes QUINOA SALAD

by Pamela Hernandez





64 guided meditation

42 Success Files:



By Eve Eliot


50 Chaplain’s Column:




by Chaplain David J. Fair, PhD, CHS-V, CMC

94 Practice Management: FEELING DISCONNECTED?

By Ronald Hixson, PhD, LPC, LMFT, BCPC

97 culture notes:


98 chaplain’s brief:


LEADERSHIP THROUGH SERVIce by S. Kristine Farmer, MS, RP, PHR and Kim Nimon, PhD



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Michael W. Krumper, LCSW, DAPA Ryan LaMothe, PhD P. K. Frederick Low, MAppPsy, MSc, BSocSc, DAPA Edward Mackey, PhD, CRNA, MS, CBT Frank Malone, PsyD, LMHC, LPC, FAPA Beth McEvoy-Rumbo, PhD Thomas C. Merriman, EdD, SBEC (Virginia) Ginger Arvan Metcalf, MS, RN William Mosier, EdD, PA-C Natalie H. Newton, PhD, DAPA Kim Nimon, PhD Donald P. Owens, Jr., PhD Thomas J. Pallardy, PsyD, BCPC, LCPC, CADC Larry H. Pastor, MD, FAPA Richard Ponton, PhD Joel G. Prather, PhD, MS, BCPC, Helen D. Pratt, PhD Ahmed Rady, MD, BCPC, FAPA, DABMPP Daniel J. Reidenberg, PsyD, FAPA, CRS Arnold Robbins, MD, FAPA Arlin Roy, MSW, LCSW Maria Saxionis, LICSW, LADC-I, CCBT, CRFT Alan D. Schmetzer, MD, FAPA, MTAPA Paul Schweinler, MDiv, MA, LMHC, DAPA Bridget H. Staten, PhD, CRC, MS, MA Suzann Steadman, PsyD Ralph Steele, BCPC Moonhawk R. Stone, MS, LMHC Mary E.Taggart, LPC Patrick O.Thornton, PhD Mary A.Travis, PhD, EdS, MA, BS Charles Ukaoma, PsyD, PhD, BCPC, DAPA Lawrence M.Ventline, DMin Melinda L. Wood, LCSW, DAPA Cecilia Zuniga, PhD, BCPC

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CONTINUING EDUCATION The American Psychotherapy Association’s sister organization, American College of Forensic Examiners International (ACFEI), provides continuing education credits for accountants, nurses, physicians, dentists, psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, social workers, and marriage and family therapists.

Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health® (ISSN 2167-2113 / print • 2167-213X / online) is published quarterly by the American Psychotherapy Association. Annual membership for a year in the American Psychotherapy Association is $165. The views expressed in Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health® are those of the authors and may not reflect the official policies of the American Psychotherapy Association. Abstracts of articles published in Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health® appear in e-psyche, Cambridge Scientific Database, PsycINFO, InfoTrac, Primary Source Microfilm, Gale Group Publishing’s InfoTrac Database, Galenet, and other research products published by the Gale Group. Contact us: Publication, editorial, and advertising offices at 2750 E. Sunshine St., Springfield, MO 65804. Phone: (417) 823-0173, Fax: (417) 823-9959, E-mail: Postmaster: Send address changes to American Psychotherapy Association, 2750 E. Sunshine St., Springfield, MO 65804. © Copyright 2013 by the American Psychotherapy Association. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be distributed or otherwise used without the expressed written consent of the American Psychotherapy Association.

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American Psychotherapy Association’s Certification Programs what is certification? Certification is the process through which an organization grants recognition to an individual, organization, process, service, or product that meets certain established criteria. Certifications: • Are undertaken voluntarily • Are non-degree granting • Evaluate the individual’s current knowledge, skills, and competencies • Offer credentials • Do not require an educational or training program

what is a certificate program? A certificate program is a program of education that results in a certificate of completion rather than a degree. Certificate programs: • Are undertaken voluntarily • Are non-degree granting • Involve educational or training programs which provide participants knowledge that will be evaluated after completion of the program • Offers certificate of completion • Requires an educational or training program

American Psycotherapy Association and Certification American Psychotherapy Association and its sub-boards are creating certification programs in the various fields of psychotherapy such as counseling and relationship therapy. The goal of each program is to validate the professional knowledge and skills of certified individuals in the area as it relates to psychotherapy. This is no small task. The association is in the process of creating these certifications by completing the following steps: • Establishing certification program policies • Enforcing ethics • Developing tests • Operating continuing education programs

These processes align with industry standards such as those set forth by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and are driven by Subject Matter Experts. The Subject Matter Experts have many tasks, but they are currently writing Job Task Statements. These statements identify job tasks that entry-level professionals in that field can perform competently. These statements are used to shape and define the scope of each certification. In this way, those who hold certifications from the American Psychotherapy Association can be confident their credentials are credible and relevant to their specialty.

Those who hold certifications from the American Psychotherapy Association can be confident their credentials are credible and relevant. 8 WINTER 2012/SPRING 2013 |

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What is Accreditation? Accreditation is the process by which a credentialing or educational program is evaluated against defined standards, and when in compliance with these standards, is awarded recognition by a third party. The American Psychotherapy Association is currently aligning certification programs with NCCA standards in anticipation of applying for accreditation through NCCA for its certifications. Find out more about accreditation and NCCA below. About NCCA

The Institute for Credentialing Excellence is the most prestigious organization dedicated to providing educational, networking, and advocacy resources for the credentialing community. ICE’s accrediting body, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), evaluates certification organizations for compliance with the NCCA Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs. NCCA’s Standards exceed the requirements set forth by the American Psychological Association and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. ICE is a nationally recognized standards developer.

Benefits of Accreditation

Potential Benefits to the Field: • Standardizes practices and/or standards within an industry • Advances the specialty/field • Increases cooperation between organizations in the same discipline • Provides a means for an industry to self-regulate Potential Benefits to Those with Current Certification: • Grants recognition of knowledge and skills by a third party • Enhances professional reputation • Provides personal accomplishment • Supports continued professional development • Demonstrates a high level of commitment to the field of practice

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• Demonstrates a specific level of knowledge and skill • May increase opportunities for career advancement and/ or increased earnings • Serves as a differentiator in a competitive job market Potential Benefits to Employers: • Improves customer satisfaction • Increases competence level of employees • Useful in making employment decisions • Provides professional development opportunities for employees • Ongoing enhancement of knowledge and skills • Increases confidence in employees’ abilities • Demonstrates employers’ commitment to competence • Could provide means to establish and enforce an ethical code • Can provide compliance with industry regulation/ government requirements Potential Benefits to the Public: • Standardizes practice and/or standards within an industry • Advances the specialty/field and increases cooperation between organizations in the same discipline • Provides a means for an industry to self-regulate • Helps in identifying qualified service providers • Increases confidence in service providers • Provides disciplinary process to follow in case of complaints

Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health®




d from emme t s to m is I tried d Aut d n n a a e band ittle drom y hus heir l s Syn ’ t r M , e r . g e s r t spe ere s la order o year here w be on A ctrum Dis t w o t t T a e . h u 6 Spe 199 old, ced t s iss of thi utism I noti onths ers, une of s , J d A m l u a l e n c e 8 a i o h R 1 f t gan ain wins bout s to Dear ry sm she be the m with t were a ere ve arenes , e s w r w v d e n e a a t i s s h e a n s w e r i t if o le to the th as as the tw en the ing m were b o w r h ecision n t e b t e d n i W w i h o , y . t e M lked back efor te. W s, sters esire we wa thing ears b her si omple ooking e onal d y l c r t n s e n a t u r 0 i h e I 1 n h t i t p . o g a tly ere re ified n for akin he m ifferen here w e. The re terr hildre uri. T ily, m d T e c o e m . s m w e l e s a t a v e i n t n f i a i h h as f her our he on, M ne a l s if s joined called , she w cted o ys in t Brans cted a r e a a r e I f n e t w i e f t f l a a i h s e a i w s t s me rs. were ing; s tha s sho the th earing st cry thing ehavio hings e left istma h t u b r j w t e e h t o s s s ’ e e C n a n some h g th ee a soon t was nt of d of s if t causin nt to s d. As And i sn’t a learne he poi a . t a g o I y n l w o l i r t s b t e h we we , a t I v ol ngs ht. ome usin me. A ory o incons at nig on thi was s yndro My co e g sens p d r e S . n e e i e r s l s c e h ’ s u crying t n t r c e eri e fo er if augh ng to e her perge as exp becom my d in goi of As to hav e wond g y d t d t l n m s e l i u i she w e n b u o g i k r c t o i r w a , I lea ychol e desc g abou d diff . She r s s to m r l a n e e p l e i t h e n n w a m e r w i u t s a h h as wit I nd le word e enco hat s ough tment osis a tened, chanc if the ere en n n imes t i h t a w g o s g e a a p i e y i r e r p b e s d e w s an a the ere h it wa that, ut th attres made aving nses w ont, b as 12 ger’s, m e e H r r w s w f r . e e e e e , p r r h s p e h o m f til s at h took ,I th A r hel ndro n’t un ing th ith he and I ted wi vening r’s Sy s e e a w a w i d o g t c w n r d n a o e a t k n s h b p I et ep s as en, a hus . In d As it hom going to sle better , my havior childr he ha k t r e s o c e e i g t t t w a e s h i t h the be g ut dt ter w dau lty in t firs with A ts confirme re! Af ifficu d our . Tha o t d n t a h s d t g e a s l i works r resu in th unde ever h g at n . The ttress he’s n us to leepin a s S d m ! e n i tested p p p e l y o e ses. me!). y asle ficult illowt er sen er’s h d f p i a g h e r t d r r e s d for l o r e p f n a e t f a h s o ( As m a s t r r ou she w put a t the or he too fi red ab . and “fit” f ted to ked ou s just t c n m a i . c a e wonde w p p f w t e r n 0 r e perfec ping o e neve en a p ng. Sh ut 9:0 e n e i v o e ’ o b p l b I s p a g s . o a n n n i d sh ho h is her i worl can s ad bee e and ogist w daughter’s rs and o tuck she h c l t a i o e s o t h s y v n e c e r r g y w he at a ps my ngin matt beyond igate ays th iful si found . The e v t w s n a e i u i e n w a a w h e o , g t b s t a If he i ing w of as a nosed eart; s stood. st a fe who h e learn s diag r h u r e a y j a r d d w e e n e a r e d l u a w ese mis for a ten er sh elp, oung ly aft arder ds. Th vely y ’s been ist’s h s such n h o e a e g l e i h o h l r a l s t f o e t : Short i d s al ych her er. — sh s sai she i the ps to look ion for alway er bett tunate p d is who r e h a o v e m ’ f h d a h I With n s u h S , a er. erst se les es yo yal c little ” on h h a lo to und or tho e was metim f c o h d u e s s t n s “label ; e a a s c c n i s r o n advo d she ver sin elp he e plan a reas a n k E h s a ; a . o y l ; h t a r t m c i t n s w pi and s s al eet g ps u stude orld i ere wa ly hel lleges my sw w o h p ellent o t c c e t x m , t h i e n u a s T o n a look oon. uce y nosis eltdow ing to ram l too s e diag introd t l o h r a n t a T a s t t c r . n s I are utbu t poi eason d an o l. We ys a r at tha a o a o e h d! w b h l e c a l h l s s wi h blesse was g i d o e s n h r a e n h m t an Ia iors i it, but freshm d to them. re jun a a rnett s i a n i r B n e w i t t l k s y i e r s ill b d he ger Cher at it w she an r youn h i , t e Editor y h g a s T n l d i . a y s To n a e r r tu An mp eir fu nd I a a for th m e th g for waitin

10 WINTER 2012/SPRING 2013 |

Book Review

Practical Social Skills for Autism Spectrum Disorders Designing Child- Specific Interventions

Kathleen Koenig (Foreword by Fred R. Volkmar) W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, NY, 2012, 239 pages.

Building a child’s “social repertoire” for more effective autism treatment. Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are an alarmingly prevalent topic of conversation in the news, in pediatrician and therapists’ offices, in classrooms, among concerned parents, and at home, within families. The rate of diagnosis seems only to rise. It’s not surprising that professionals who work with kids on the autism spectrum are eager for effective resources on how to help children and their parents or caregivers manage it. With this book, readers have a new tool to add to their arsenal. Drawing on her work at the Yale Child Study Center, Koenig explains how critical it is for kids to not simply learn new social skills that fit their individual needs, but to be able to seamlessly integrate them into a range of day-to-day situations, from the classroom to the lunchroom to the dinner table at home. Building their “social repertoire” in this way, she argues, is key to effective autism treatment. Unlike other autism books that tend to be prescriptive in their approach to social skills training, this one teaches that the best social interventions are evidence-based, child-specific, and meaningfully integrated.

Submit your book for review today!


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editor’s pick by Cheryl Barnett

The Asperger’s

Diff e rence Photo provided by the Center for Spectrum Servicers

Not too many weeks ago, through one of those “chance” phone calls, I learned of a DVD that had been produced by The Center for Spectrum Services, located in Kingston, New York. In speaking with Elissa Cascio, the development coordinator for The Center, I learned that the DVD had been created to help young people with Asperger’s Syndrome and related disorders build self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-advocacy skills. With having a teenaged daughter that has Asperger’s, I was immediately interested in seeing what the DVD was like. The Center graciously sent us a copy to review. When it arrived in the mail, I couldn’t wait to put it in my computer to watch it. After having watched it once, I had to put it back in and watch it again. This DVD is an excellent resource for those diagnosed with Asperger’s, as well as those that are close to them, including educators and physicians.

Starring Annie, a middle school student, Noah, a high school student, and Jeffrey, who is attending college.

“This video would have been very helpful to me in high school…I also really like the way the video presented the positive side of being an “Aspie.” This is a fantastic video, and it should be used in schools across the nation.”

— Temple Grandin, PhD, FAS Scientist Author of The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s, Emergence: Labeled Autistic and Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism.

12 WINTER 2012/SPRING 2013

The Asperger’s Difference is 31 minutes in length and is an educational documentary created as a support for young people who are diagnosed with a high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. Through my own personal experience I’ve found that children and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome are often misunderstood and can face challenges such as loneliness as they navigate their way in a world that sometimes isn’t as kind as we wish it would be. The Stars of the DVD Annie, a middle school student, Noah, a high school student, and Jeffrey, who is attending college. Each of these three remarkable young people discuss their personal struggles with an openness that is sure to be able to help others learn more about Asperger’s. As the DVD cover states: “The more young people with Asperger’s Syndrome and related social and communication disabilities understand themselves, the greater will be their ability to compensate, advocate, and enjoy socially fulfilling lives.” Not only do you learn of the challenges that those diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome face, but you also get a glimpse of the strengths that accompany the challenges. I want to share a portion of the synopsis that the center provided for the DVD: The film is presented as a series of visual chapters. This format allows its stars to address typical difficulties such as struggles with social and communication skills, controlling |

thoughts and behaviors, and experiencing sensory sensitivity. 13-year-old Annie speaks convincingly of the pain and isolation experienced as the result of bullying and teasing which leaves her feeling like “the odd one out.” Sixteen-yearold Noah shares the frustration caused by his need for perfection as he shows us the reminder sign posted in his room that reads, “Perfection and procrastination are the enemy.” Eighteen-year-old college freshman, Jeffrey, helps the audience to understand the challenges faced in daily conversation, which he refers to as, “foot in mouth syndrome.” These remarkable young people also provide a window into the often-overlooked strengths that can accompany Asperger’s Syndrome. Individuals with AS often have heightened language and memory skills which are manifested in Noah’s exemplary academic performance. The sensory sensitivity, which can prove so challenging, also lends Annie musical talents and perfect pitch. The intense concentration that requires Jeffrey to employ an egg timer to limit his computer use, conversely provides him the focus to compose poetry. Each of these young people bring a poise, self-awareness, and sense of humor which helps the audience to see the full picture of what it means to live with AS. The final chapter of The Asperger’s Difference is designed to help young adults with AS to develop selfadvocacy by thinking about when to share their diagnosis with others. Viewers are invited to consider aspects of disclosure, such as the length and nature of a relationship, and the outcomes, which may occur. The Asperger’s Difference can be viewed by individuals with AS alone, in classrooms, with clinicians, teachers, or family members, in its entirety, or discretely by stopping and starting chapters with the support of an instructor or therapist. It has equal value for peers, siblings, and others who are touched by autism providing an important tool for diversity education. As many individuals with AS are strong visual learners, the video format and clearly presented graphic design creates an ideal tool for instruction and remediation. The film has an accompanying Discussion and Resource Guide that allows the viewer to further relate with the issues and personalize the information presented. The Asperger’s Difference is intended to promote self-understanding, selfconfidence, and self-advocacy skills and is a powerful vehicle for affirmation and personal growth.

I highly recommend this DVD to anyone with the Asperger’s diagnosis and to anyone within their world. This is an extremely well-done documentary and will be an essential resource to those whose lives have been touched by Asperger’s Syndrome.

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Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health®



by M a rc e l l e C i a m p i

Someone once told me that there are three doors to self: One door you willingly open and show the world. A second door you open to some. And a third door that usually remains closed, a place where you hold the deepest hurts, secrets that if exposed, might make you crumble.

In February of 2012, I opened the third door.

14 WINTER 2012/SPRING 2013 |

F e at u r e A rt i c l e

hrough a series of events, including the discovering of my Asperger’s Syndrome, my necessary exiting from a university counseling program, and my beloved dog’s death, I spiraled into a place of deep depression. Having been told by a licensed mental health practitioner that indeed she had no doubts I had Asperger’s, a massive vault of inner self was opened. It was as if I’d been carrying around a phantom secret my entire life, teetering on a finite point of self-knowledge, but never quite touching down to the answers. And now I stood, feet firmly planted in the muck and guck of all the places I’d traveled, both externally and internally, faced with all the years of wondering and searching, from priest to psychiatrist, mountain after mountain climbed, in hopes of figuring out essentially, “what was wrong with me.” I knew from a young age that I viewed the world differently. I am an observer of sorts, always an observer, analyzing and picking apart the pieces that intermingle about me, in the spaces between thought and reason, in the middle point where the black and white merge to form something beyond grey.  I see in pictures, vivid images. As I write now, the words are first filtered, almost simultaneously with first thought, into a stream of ex-

pression, each word carrying its own color, rhythm, and vibration. And the world, my world, is like this too: everything, everywhere, something moving and carrying its own awareness, as if screaming to be seen. My world is a constant mystery, a present to be opened time and time again, each new day a new beginning. I cannot help this. This is who I am and whom I have always been. I don’t understand rules and customs, not because I lack the ability to see what is happening, or to read between the lines, but because I see the infinite possibilities of other choices and options, of other paths, so to speak. I don’t understand dogma and criticism and rights and wrongs, as it seems there is always another side, another way, and in this way, somewhere a victim struggling to be heard. A passion so deep runs through me, a river of sorts, that twists and turns and carries a truth I understand, even if no one else does. In a sense I need no confirmation or validation, it is as it is, and just who I be. Yet, to live in this world, to walk where I walk, there is this way about me, this way I am supposed to be. Some societal-imposed rules of conduct and expected behavior that confuses me, for since I was a child, I was left to wonder, who are the inventors of these rules, and why do they invent?

My world is a constant mystery, a present to be opened time and time again, each new day a new beginning. I cannot help this. This is who I am and whom I have always been. (800) 592-1125 | (877) 718-3053

Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health®



I was left to wonder why the others, which I did not understand. I was alone who weren’t me, but seemed an exten- in my compassion to want to touch ansion of me, behaved in predictable pat- other at a level they were uncomfortable terns determined by some unknown touching. I was a traveler who knew not structure, endowed with the gifts of where she touched down and know not evidently knowing when there is noth- with whom she was supposed to meet. ing to be known, at least nothing to be I was alone. feasibly discovered in the infiniteness of I was alone until I reached out, not to variables of truth. another, but into the deepest corridors of I discovered early on that my only self. I was alone until I sat within the inner solace was in my faith, that being, by makings of what rested behind my door my choosing, and my choosing alone, a number three. Until I purged out all of universal maker that I call God. In here, the demons and hauntings and broken inside my faith, and only here, I found pieces of self, and set about to reform the answers. I began to see the scope of the being I truly was. And then, as I began world as so narrow, at least when viewed to see me, unleashed from the fear that through the eyes of so many lost travel- had once buried me, others began to see ers. I began to see that I too was lost with me too; for it was in my true self that they them, in this collective of nonsense rec- recognized a part of their own true self. It reating games in an attempt to be seen. was in the opening of my third door that I stepped out. I removed myself from other were freed to open theirs. the game, and was immediately ostraTogether, myself intertwined with cized and shunned, repeatedly corrected others who knew of me and who underfor not being as everyone else; even as stood the axe of isolation and disconI watched and knew that all about me nection, we began to emerge–one door was imaginary: people filling in the holes upon the next, opening and reopening. with their ways, when they weren’t really And with this opening, we began to see their ways at all. we were no longer alone. For to be inside me, is to be inside We began to see beauty. complexity. Everything mixed and unWe began to heal. muted, painted and swirled with endless For finally someone could see us. possibilities. But it appeared that to be Finally we were no longer invisible. inside of another, at least most of anothFinally we were understood. er, was limiting and restricted, honed in And this is my door number three, by self-inflicted leashes. these words I have shared, above and I was isolation. below, and out there, in the circling space I was what the experience of isolation of energy; not because I needed to find encompasses: the observer knowing she another, but because I needed to be free. is different, not knowing why, and forced without reason or cause to walk outside of the line. I was a loner; though I stood alongside my peers, I was always alone. by M a r c e l l e C i a m p i I was alone in my creation of different See the Author’s article “ten traits: selves in an attempt to move through a common traits of females with world that made no sense. I was alone in asperger’s” on the following page. my attempt after attempt to be like that

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10 2 1 r its C o m m o n t r a i t s o f Females with Aspergers

by Marcelle Ciampi

We are deep philosophical thinkers and writers;

gifted in the sense of our level of thinking. Perhaps poets, professors, authors, or avid readers of nonfictional genre. I don’t believe you can have Asperger’s without being highly-intelligent by mainstream standards. Perhaps that is part of the issue at hand, the extreme intelligence leading to an over-active mind and high anxiety. We see things at multiple levels, including our own place in the world and our own thinking processes. We analyze our existence, the meaning of life, the meaning of everything  continually. We are serious and matter-of-fact. Nothing is taken for granted, simplified, or easy. Everything is complex.

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We are innocent, naive, and honest. Do we lie? Yes. Do we like to lie? No. Things that are hard for us to understand: manipulation, disloyalty, vindictive behavior, and retaliation. Are we easily fooled and conned, particularly before we grow wiser to the ways of the world? Absolutely, yes. Confusion, feeling misplaced, isolated, overwhelmed, and simply plopped down on the wrong universe, are all parts of the Aspie experience. Can we learn to adapt? Yes. Is it always hard to fit in at some level? Yes. Can we out grow our character traits? No.

Nothing is taken for granted, simplified, or easy. Everything is complex.

Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health®



We escape through our fixations, obsessions, over-interest in a subject, our imaginings, and even made up reality.



We are escape artists. We know how to escape. It’s the way we survive this place. We escape through our fixations, obsessions, over-interest in a subject, our imaginings, and even made up reality. We escape and make sense of our world through mental processing, in spoken or written form. We escape in the rhythm of words. We escape in our philosophizing. As children, we had pretend friends or animals, maybe witches or spirit friends, even extraterrestrial buddies. We escaped in our play, imitating what we’d seen on television or in walking life, taking on the role of a teacher, actress in a play, movie star. If we had friends, we were either their instructor or boss, telling them what to do, where to stand, and how to talk, or we were the “baby,” blindly following our friends wherever they went. We saw friends as “pawn” like; similar to a chess game, we moved them into the best position for us. We escaped our own identity by taking on one friend’s identity. We dressed like her, spoke like her, adapted our own self to her (or his) likes and dislikes. We became masters at

imitation, without recognizing what we were doing. We escaped through music. Through the repeated lyrics or rhythm of a song–through everything that song stirred in us. We escaped into fantasies, what-could-be, projections, dreams, and fairy-tale-endings. We obsessed over collecting objects, maybe stickers, mystical unicorns, or books. We may have escaped through a relationship with a lover. We delve into an alternate state of mind, so we could breathe, maybe momentarily taking on another dialect, personality, or view of the world. Numbers brought ease. Counting, categorizing, organizing, rearranging. At parties, if we went, we might have escaped into a closet, the outskirts, outdoors, or at the side of our best friend. We may have escaped through substance abuse, including food, or through hiding in our homes. What did it mean to relax? To rest? To play without structure or goal? Nothing was for fun, everything had to have purpose. When we resurfaced, we became confused. What had we missed? What had we left behind? What would we cling to next?

We have comorbid attributes of other syndromes/disorders/conditions. We often have OCD tendencies (Obsessive Compul-

sive Disorder), sensory issues (with sight, sound, texture, smells, taste), generalized anxiety and/or a sense we are always unsafe or in pending danger, particularly in crowded public places. We may have been labeled with seemingly polar extremes: depressed/over-joyed, lazy/over-active, inconsiderate/over-sensitive, lacking awareness/attention to detail, low-focus/high-focus. We may have poor muscle tone, be double-jointed, and lack in our motor-skills. We may hold our pencil “incorrectly.” We may have eating disorders, food obsessions, and struggles with diet. We may have irritable bowel, Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and other immune-challenges. We may have sought out answers to why we seemed to see the world differently than others we knew, only to be told we were attention seekers, paranoid, hypochondriacs, or too focused on diagnosis and labels. Our personhood was challenged on the sole basis that we “knew” we were different but couldn’t prove it to the world and/or our personhood was oppressed as we attempted to be and act like someone we were not. We still question our place in the world, who we are, who we are expected to be, searching for the “rights” and “wrongs;” and then, as we grow and realize there are no true answers, that everything is theory-based and limited, we wonder where to search.

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Choices can be overwhelming: what to wear, to shower or not, what to eat, what time to be back, how to organize time, how to act outside the house…all these thoughts can pop up.

6 5

We seek refuge at home or at a safe place. The days we know we don’t have to be anywhere, talk to anyone, answer any calls, or leave the house, are the days we take a deep breath and relax. If one person will be visiting, we perceive the visit as a threat; knowing logically the threat isn’t real, doesn’t relieve a drop of the anxiety. We have feelings of dread about even one event on the calendar. Even something as simple as a self-imposed obligation, such as leaving the house to walk the dog, can cause extreme anxiety. It’s more than going out into society; it’s all the steps that are involved in leaving—all the rules, routines, and norms. Choices can be overwhelming: what to wear, to shower or not, what to eat, what time to be back, how to organize time, how to act outside the house…all these thoughts can pop up. Sensory processing can go into overload; the shirt might be scratchy, the bra pokey, the shoes too tight. Even the steps to getting ready can seem boggled with choices–should I brush my teeth or shower first, should I finish that email, should I call her back now or when I return, should I go at all? Maybe staying home feels better, but by adulthood we know it is socially “healthier” to get out of the house, to interact, to take in fresh air, to exercise, to share. But going out doesn’t feel healthy to us, because it doesn’t feel safe. For those of us that have tried CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), we try to tell ourselves all the “right” words, to convince ourselves our thought patterns are simply wired incorrectly, to reassure ourselves we are safe…the problem then becomes this other layer of rules we should apply, that of the cognitive-behavior set of rules. So even the supposed therapeutic selftalk becomes yet another set of hoops to jump through before stepping foot out of the house. To curl up on the couch with a clean pet, a cotton blanket, a warm cup of tea, and a movie or good book may become our refuge. At least for the moment, we can stop the thoughts associated with having to make decisions and having to face the world. A simple task has simple rules.

We learn that to fit in we We use our grasp of the world as our founhave to “fake” it.  Through trial dation, our way of making sense of anoth-

and error we lost friends. We over-shared, spilling out intimate details to strangers; we raised our hand too much in class, or didn’t raise our hand at all; we had little impulse control with our speaking, monopolizing conversations and bringing the subject back to ourselves. We aren’t narcissistic and controlling—we know we are not, but we come across that way. We bring the subject back to ourselves because that is how we make sense of our world, that is how we believe we connect.

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er. We share our feelings and understandings in order to reach out. We don’t mean to sound ego-centered or over zealous. It’s all we know. We can’t change how we see the world. But we do change what we say. We hold a lot inside. A lot of what we see going on about us, a lot of what our bodies feel, what our minds conjecture. We hold so much inside, as we attempt to communicate correctly. We push back the conversational difficulties we experience, e.g., the concepts of acceptable and accu-

rate eye contact, tone of voice, proximity of body, stance, posture–push it all back, and try to focus on what someone is saying with all the do’s and don’ts hammering in our mind. We come out of a conversation exhausted, questioning if we “acted” the socially acceptable way, wondering if we have offended, contradicted, hurt, or embarrassed others or ourselves. We learn that people aren’t as open or trusting as we are. That others hold back and filter their thoughts. We learn that our brains are different. We learn to survive means we must pretend.

Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health®



7 8

We are sensitive. We are sensitive cepted. It seems we have inferiority com-

We can gain the ability to love ourselves, accept ourselves, and be happy with our lives, but this usually takes much innerwork and self-analysis.

when we sleep, maybe needing a certain mattress, pillow, and earplugs, and particularly comfortable clothing. Some need long-sleeves, some short. Temperature needs to be just so. No air blowing from the heater vent, no traffic noise, no noise period. We are sensitive even in our dream state, perhaps having intense and colorful dreams, anxiety-ridden dreams, or maybe precognitive dreams. Our sensitivity might expand to being highly-intuitive of others’ feelings, which is a paradox, considering the limitations of our social communication skills. We seek out information in written or verbally spoken form, sometimes over-thinking something someone said and reliving the ways we ought to have responded. We take criticism to heart, not necessarily longing for perfection, but for the opportunity to be understood and ac-

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plexes, but with careful analysis, we don’t feel inferior, but rather unseen, unheard, and misunderstood. Definitely misunderstood. At one point or another, we question if in fact we are genetic hybrids, mutations, aliens, or displaced spirits—as we simply feel like we’ve landed on the wrong planet. We are highly susceptible to outsiders’ view points and opinions. If someone tells us this or that, we may adapt our view of life to this or that, continually in search of the “right” and “correct” way. We may jump from one religious realm to another, in search of the “right” path or may run away from aspects of religion because of all the questions that arise in theorizing. As we grow older, we understand more of how our minds work, which makes living sometimes even more difficult; because now we can step outside ourselves and see what

we are doing, know how we are feeling, yet still recognize our limitations. We work hard and produce a lot in a small amount of time. When others question our works, we may become hurt, as our work we perceive as an extension of ourselves. Isn’t everything an extension of ourselves—at least our perception and illusion of reality? Sometimes we stop sharing our work in hopes of avoiding opinions, criticism, and judgment. We dislike words and events that hurt others and hurt animals. We may have collected insects, saved a fallen bird, or rescued pets. We have a huge compassion for suffering, as we have experienced deep levels of suffering. We are very sensitive to substances, such as foods, caffeine, alcohol, medications, environmental toxins, and perfumes; a little amount of one substance can have extreme effects on our emotional and/or physical state.

We are ourselves and we aren’t ourselves. Between imitating others and copying the ways of the world, and trying to be honest, and having no choice but to be “real,” we find ourselves trapped between pretending to be normal and showing all our cards. It’s a difficult state. Sometimes we don’t realize when we are imitating someone else or taking on their interests or when we are suppressing our true wishes in order to avoid ridicule. We have an odd sense of self. We know we are an individual with unique traits and attributes, with unique feelings, desires, passions, goals, and interests, but at the same time we recognize we so desperately want to fit in that we might have adapted or conformed many aspects about ourselves. Some of us might reject societal norms and expectations all together, embracing their oddities and individuality, only to find themselves extremely isolated. There is an in-between place where an aspie girl can  be  herself and fit in, but finding that place and staying in that place takes a lot of work and processing. Some of us have a hard time recognizing facial features and memorize people by their clothes, tone of voice, and hairstyle. Some of us have a hard time understanding what we physically look like. We might switch our preference in hairstyles, clothes, interests, and hobbies frequently, as we attempt to manage, to keep up, with our changing sense of self and our place. We can gain the ability to love ourselves, accept ourselves, and be happy with our lives, but this usually takes much inner-work and self-analysis. Part of self-acceptance comes with the recognition that everyone is unique, everyone has challenges, and everyone is struggling to find this invented norm. When we recognize there are no rules, and no guide map to life, we may be able to breathe easier, and finally explore what makes us happy. |

10 9 Feelings and other people’s actions are confusing. Others’ feelings and our own feel-

ings are confusing to the extent there are no set rules to feelings. We think logically, and even though we are (despite what others think) sensitive, compassionate, intuitive, and understanding, many emotions remain illogical and unpredictable. We may expect that by acting a certain way we can achieve a certain result, but in dealing with emotions, we find the intended results don’t manifest. We speak frankly and literally. In our youth, jokes go over our heads; we are the last to laugh, if we laugh at all, and sometimes we ourselves are the subject of the joke. We are confused when others make fun of us, ostracize us, decide they don’t want to be our friend, shun us, belittle us, trick us, and especially betray us. We may have trouble identifying feelings unless they are extremes. We might have trouble with the emotion of hate and dislike. We may hold grudges and feel pain from a situation years later, but at the same time find it easier to forgive than hold a grudge. We might feel sorry for someone who has persecuted or hurt us. Personal feelings of anger, outrage, deep love, fear, giddiness, and anticipation seem to be easier to identify than emotions of joy, satisfaction, calmness, and serenity. Sometimes situations, conversations, or events are perceived as black or white, one way or another, and the middle spectrum is overlooked or misunderstood. A small fight might signal the end of a relationship and collapse of one’s world, where a small compliment might boost us into a state of bliss.

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We have difficulty with executive functioning. The way we process the world is different. Tasks that others take for granted, can cause us extreme hardship. Learning to drive a car, to tuck in the sheets of a bed, to even round the corner of a hallway, can be troublesome. Our spacial awareness and depthawareness seems off. Some will never drive on a freeway, never parallel park, and/ or never drive. Others will panic following directions while driving. New places offer their own set of challenges. Elevators, turning on and off faucets, unlocking doors, finding our car in a parking lot, (even our keys in our purse), and managing computers, electronic devices, or anything that requires a reasonable amount of steps, dexterity, or know-how, can rouse in us a sense of panic. While we might be grand organizers, as organizing brings us a sense of comfort, the thought of repairing, fixing, or locating something causes distress. Doing the bills, cleaning the house, sorting through school papers, scheduling appointments, keeping track of times on the calendar, and preparing for a party can cause anxiety. Tasks may be avoided. Cleaning may seem insurmountable. Where to begin? How long should I do something? Is this the right way? Are all questions that might come to mind. Sometimes we step outside of ourselves and imagine a stranger entering our home, and question what they would do if they were in our shoes. We reach out to others’ rules of what is right, even in isolation, even to do the simplest of things. Sometimes we reorganize in an attempt to make things right or to make things easier. Only life doesn’t seem to get easier. Some of us are affected in the way we calculate numbers or in reading. We may have dyslexia or other learning disabilities. We may solve problems and sort out situations much differently than most others. We like to categorize in our mind and find patterns, and when ideas don’t fit, we don’t know where to put them. Putting on shoes, zipping or buttoning clothes, carrying or packing groceries, all of these actions can pose trouble. We might leave the house with mismatched socks, our shirt buttoned incorrectly, and our sweater inside out. We find the simple act of going grocery shopping hard: getting dressed, making a list, leaving the house, driving to the store, and choosing objects on the shelves is overwhelming. This list is based on workshops, videos, literature, personal accounts, and my own experience. Females with Asperger’s Syndrome present themselves very differently than males. This is not an all-encompassing list. It’s not a criteria.  It’s limiting and bias-based, as it’s only my view. It is my current truth. I don’t claim to be an expert or professional…but I do know an awful lot about the subject. I hold a masters degree in education, have Asperger’s, one of my sons has Asperger’s, and I have several graduate-level classes in counseling psychology…I guess I am sort of an expert, after all.


Marcelle Ciampi, an adult female with Asperger’s Syndrome, is a former schoolteacher and advocate for children with special needs. She holds a masters degree in education. She writes under the penname of Samantha Craft on her blog, Everyday Asperger’s, and is the founder of an online support group for females with Asperger’s Syndrome. Marcelle resides with her husband and three boys in the state of Washington.

Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health®





Early in my son’s autism diagnosis, we were on the six-to-nine month waiting list for Occupational Therapy at one of the top sensory centers in Atlanta. I’m not one to sit idly by and hope for someone to “rescue” us, so I embarked on a journey while we were waiting to try to really understand what my child was experiencing, how it compared and contrasted with what other children experienced, what were all of the components involved in the big picture, and what I could do at home to help him. If you are struggling, as I was, with the feeling that you can’t give your child the proper help you believe he or she may need, there are things you can easily do at home to improve your situation. Here are some tips and tools:


Physical Movement

There is a lot of talk about the importance of fitness, but that doesn’t necessarily mean pushups, squats, and boot camp for your Autistic or Asperger Syndrome child. There are so many fun ways to get your children moving, and the ripple effect of this effort can be seen immediately. For exercise you can do animal crawls and walks, relay races, or obstacle courses. You can also do fun games like “clay modeling”—have your child stand still and put him or her in different poses, then let them do the same with you. Mirroring is also a fun one, but start easy! Get outside if you can, the fresh air and sunlight does wonders.

2 Nutrition Many children on the Autism Spectrum have benefited greatly from a gluten free diet. Gluten and gluten-like proteins are found in wheat and other grains as well as foods made from those grains. They are also found in food starches, semolina, couscous, malt, some vinegars, soy sauce, flavorings, and artificial colors. Casein is a protein found in milk and dairy products. Four types of casein protein make up about 80% of all proteins in cow’s milk. Many children with Autism may have gastrointestinal difficulties that make it hard for them to digest milk protein properly. Having a drug-like affect on behavior, these foods can reduce their desire for social interaction, block

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lor Tay bi De

Practical Home-Based Tips and Tools for Children on the Autism Spectrum

pain messages, and increase confusion and spatial issues. They also cause addiction to the very foods that are at the center of the issues. Even if you can’t remove these foods completely from your child’s diet, baby steps can be taken to help improve overall nutrition. Gradual replacements for gluten and casein products include Almond or Rice milk, coconut milk ice cream, and gluten-free cereals and bars. I think it’s more effective to look at the bigger picture and start by eliminating or decreasing fast food, heavily processed foods, soft drinks, and excessive sweets. Also look at foods with chemical dyes. Digestive enzymes and probiotics are not a replacement for a diet free of gluten and casein, however digestive support is essential in children on the Autism spectrum. There is a direct link between digestion and behavior. These enzymes and probiotics help step in and support where we fall short with diet alone.

3 Sensory Activities There are tons of things you can do at home without expensive sensory equipment or a huge gym! Some of our favorite activities include rolling on a yoga ball, body wrapping in a blanket, wearing double and triple shirts to create the “bear hug” feeling his nervous system craves, and pushing heavy objects. We also like to play with bubbles, shaving cream, sand, wear a blindfold and smell scented oils and other distinct household foods, have music time, and crawl through homemade forts and tunnels. It is also helpful to put on sounds of nature, classical music, or meditation and chanting CDs during sensory time. |

4 Support System This is so important! I have frequently let myself get depleted and had nothing left to give. Parents, make sure you are getting support and feeding yourself with what you need to enjoy and replenish your spirit! You are of no good to your family or yourself when you are drained. We can also get so caught up in the world of Autism that we forget the siblings. They need our support, too! It is essential to keep the lines of communication open with your entire family, and give them permission to feel what they are feeling. If you can, arrange for special activities and extra one-on-one time with your neurotypical child. It also helps to get them involved! I sometimes ask my daughter’s input on how to deal with certain behaviors or feelings. Together, we come up with “emergency plans” in anticipation of meltdowns in public places, so we feel prepared for outings.

5 Alternative Therapies I am thrilled to see all the amazing alternative therapies popping up for our children! I see music therapy, art therapy, martial arts for special needs, theatre improv groups, animal therapy, and more. There are also more energy-based options to supplement your efforts such as Reiki, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), and yoga.

6 Visual Schedules How many repetitions does it take for my son to understand a routine? How many times have I thrown extra variables into that routine that end up confusing him? An easy way to take the whole struggle and guesswork out of the mix is by using visual schedules. A visual schedule is a set of pictures and words that communicate a series of activities or steps to help children understand and manage the daily events in their lives. Ideally, they should communicate clear expectations for the child, as well as decrease the need for constant reminders and unwanted arguments. At home the schedule can be created around basic morning, afternoon, and evening tasks such as brushing teeth, getting dressed, eating breakfast, and gathering a backpack

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for school. They can incorporate any chores assigned to the child, such as empty the garbage or feed the dog. Posted in a central and convenient place, the schedule can easily be referred to any time the child gets off task and distracted. For older children, school-specific schedules can be placed into notebooks for easy reference. This would be extremely helpful for transitions and the last segment of the school day.

7 Emotional Stage Index Cards I wanted my child to start to recognize when his body or senses started feeling a little squirrelly so that he could either self-correct if able, or ask for help appropriately. By teaching him to identify the signs and stages of losing control, he could hopefully have access to the support he needs and could decrease the number of incidents where his behavior did reach that point of no return. This number system quickly became a simple means to have him check in with himself throughout the day. There is no magic answer, but there are so many modalities and support systems available to aid our children with Autism. Find ones that resonate with you. You don’t have to feel helpless and alone, especially if traditional therapies are not an option.



Debi Taylor is an Autism over six year Specialist w ith s of research and implem tation of re al-life tools enand solutio children an ns for d families aff ected by A Through her utism. experience and dedicat her own ch ion to ild, she crea ted a transf tional system ormafor children on the Auti Sp ec tr u m that cove tips and too sm ls for identify rs fitness & ing sensory nutrition, egies, calmin vs . behavior, co g techniques ping strat, Autism safe for parents, and more. ty, emotion al support She is also a Special N eeds Counse sponders. D lor for Emer ebi has bee n an active gency Rewith DeKalb co-founder County Fire and volunte Rescue Reser which inspir er ve for the p ed her to cr ast six years, eate severa lums for Polic l Autism trai e, Fire, Disas ning curricu ter founded Sp irit Of Autism Response, and CERT g roups. She to educate and public and empow safety secto rs. She is gra er families her own Au teful for her tistic child, w journey wit hich drives ways to mak h her to keep e a global d searching fo ifference wit the increasin r h healing and g number o support for f children on more inform the Autism Sp ation go to w ectrum. For ww.SpiritOfA

Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health®



F e at u r e A r t i c l e

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Asperger’s Syndrome

hy is my son struggling so? It’s not an “anger problem” — he has been attacked by every bully on the playground! He is distractible sometimes, but not really Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) as much as he is forgetful of the oddest things! In fact, I can’t seem to distract him from his favorite interests—I wish I could! And he is so smart! Why can’t he just manage to turn in his homework? He has only two friends... and an “arch nemesis” (his words!) on the playground. And why does he turn in on himself in frustration, even when something isn’t his fault? These struggles plagued my son’s experience through nearly his entire public school career. Fortunately, as a professional homeopath trained in the biomed-

Our Struggle to Find a Label

A Journey, Not a Destination by Cindy L. Griffin, DSH-P, DIHom, FBIH, BCIH, DCNT, FAAIM

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ical model of autism, I had worked with a number of children on the autism spectrum. I saw some of those characteristics in my son—but he was not severe and would not fit the diagnosis of autism. Asperger’s shares many common traits with a number of social, anxiety, academic and psychological disorders. My “ah hah! moment” came at the end of a very long day of homeopathic clients when I realized a young boy I was working with shared an almost identical set of traits that my son demonstrated—and he already had a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. It opened a door in my mind, and an important one at school for my son.

Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health®



F e at u r e A r t i c l e

A s p e rg e r ’ s S y n d ro m e j o u r n e y, not d e s t i n at i o n , p e r s o n a l ly

26 WINTER 2012/SPRING 2013



inability to grasp abstract or “gray areas” of (HFA) and high-end Asperger’s Syndrome. thought. While most who are diagnosed There can be many overlaps with anxiety with AS are of high intelligence and wide disorders as well. Many children and adults vocabularies, there is typically a very con- have struggled to find an appropriate diagcrete viewpoint of life and understanding nosis before finally being diagnosed with of words. Often a person with AS may be AS; some struggling far longer than my son. Many parents we speak to professionally considered “quirky” or “dry” or even “emoshare my frustrations about their children. I had to work with many children on the autism spectrum as a homeopath before I, as a mother, ultimately set the school diagnosticians on the right path. Without the correct diagnosis, my son was ineligible for the social and organizational support skills he needed. While Asperger’s Syndrome may be a journey, it does not have to be a final destination, as we can personally attest. Within two years of his initial diagnosis, he was retested and had completely lost his diagnosis. He was fully Opp mainstreamed in all academic arort eas during the process of healing unit with the Houston Homeopathy ies Method (HHM) with the head start we had on clearing his vaccines, his history of chronic ear infections, and resultant antibiotic administrations (all given before I was “enlightened” as to tionless,” as they often have a flat affect, and the overuse of antibiotics and the help howhile they certainly experience emotions, meopathy could have given). Even prior to they may not have a typical means of ex- formal diagnosis, under homeopathic treatpressing them appropriately. The diagnos- ment, he advanced from crawling inside his tic issues are further complicated for those jacket from the noise at his sister’s choir conmore deeply affected. It is a blurry line certs in 5th grade to choosing to play drums indeed between High Functioning Autism in the band his first year of middle school!


Asperger’s Syndrome was a difficult diagnostic challenge even a mere 6-8 years ago, and sometimes still is. There may be overlaps with other disorders, such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Strep (OCD/PANDAS), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), anger disorders, and more. Diagnosticians and psychologists have become much more in tune as its prevalence, research, and awareness has increased. AS is typically diagnosed through a school diagnostician or psychologist. While diagnosis is a black-and-white process, persons with AS run across an entire spectrum. The level of impairment can be as mild as simple ADD, disorganization, an obsession a particular subject matter, with little or no eye contact, inappropriate social and verbal skills, or can include some significant levels of rigidity, ritualism, anxiety, inability to express emotions appropriately (and often manifest as self-harming behaviors such as turning in on oneself, striking one’s head in anger and frustration, etc.). Individuals with AS often find themselves bullied or ostracized, as they may have difficulty reading and interpreting social cues such as body language or facial expressions, as well as misunderstanding double-meanings such as sarcasm and name-calling, because of their |

Within two years of his initial dianosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, he was retested and had completely lost his diagnosis.

Homeopaths work from symptoms and personal and health history, not diagnostic labels, so the only reason I needed my son to be formally diagnosed was because the school could not provide any special help for him without it. Ultimately, he only held that formal diagnosis and the school help for less than two years before he formally and officially lost his diagnosis. He graduated with his high school class, has taken some college courses, and is now a healthy 20-year-old with a driver’s license, a car, and a girlfriend. Starting as a senior in high school, without my knowledge, he successfully sought out, applied for, and landed two different responsible jobs—moving up in the world with the job change after successfully holding the first job for 18 months, and the current one continues to go well a year later. Nobody knows or suspects my son ever had any problems, and he has many friends through work, school, and hobbies. How did we get here? As a professional homeopath since 1998, I knew that homeopathy would hold the ultimate answer for my son. I did not feel that psychotropic drugs would effect a long-term cure, and I knew that side-effects of drugs could be as bad or worse than dealing with the social and behavioral problems of Asperger’s Syndrome. All five of our practitioners have worked with children with Asperger’s, autism, ADD, ADHD, sensory, and developmental disorders since 2003. As we will demonstrate, homeopaths do not require a diagnostic label or named condition in order to help people. My homeopathic colleagues and I had already taken my son on—even before I had a formal label—as a very per(800) 592-1125 | (877) 718-3053

sonal project to help him to overcome the physical contributors to his diagnosis—and to lose that diagnosis, permanently, by addressing the layers of chemical, physical, medical, and emotional insults that had all collided to create my son’s condition.

Homeopathy 101 The basic system of homeopathy is a 200+ year old alternative health remediation system that is still relevant and very effective today. The choice of remedy or remedies is based upon this “Law of Similars,” an ancient principle in medicine, but codified and developed into the system of homeopathy in the early 1800s by Samuel Hahnemann, MD. Hahnemann detested the purgatives, poisons, and blood-lettings that were common then, and had watched too many patients die at the hands of wellmeaning doctors. He sought a gentler, rapid, and permanent approach to healing that would not create more problems with the cure than existed in the illness in many cases with conventional medicine of his day. By using smaller and smaller doses, and finally diluted amounts of medications, he found that his patients often got well faster, and with fewer side-effects. As he experimented with higher dilutions, he had even faster and gentler successes. Patients flooded his practice, seeking help with “incurable” conditions, both physical and mental. Soon other doctors and lay persons began to flock to him for teaching. He applied his diluted “homeopathic remedies” according to the Law of Similars, coined the term “homeopathy,” and taught other doctors. Homeopathy began to spread across Europe, then to the US in the early 1800s. The Law of Similars, simply stated, says that if a sub-

stance can cause disease symptoms in a healthy person, it can be prepared in such a way as to trigger a healing response in a sick person who exhibits similar symptoms. It is this attention to matching of a client’s symptoms to a highly diluted amount (the remedy) of a substance that creates similar symptoms that is the focus of homeopathic practice. Because the nuances of the person’s symptoms lead to the correct remedy choice, a diagnostic label is not required by homeopaths. In fact, most of us feel that a diagnosis can be a distraction for the client, and can sometimes lead an inexperienced homeopath down a completely wrong trail of analysis. In its infancy, the system of homeopathy became renowned for “curing the incurable,” including those with mental illnesses—persons who were often locked away and forgotten by society. It gained its biggest start in the US in the early 1800s with its success with the cholera and yellow fever epidemics. Even in the great 1917–1918 Spanish Flu epidemic in the U.S., the death rate in Philadelphia was 28.2%, in 24,000 cases treated allopathically (conventional medicine) while 26,000 cases treated homeopathically had only a 1.05% death rate. Since then, homeopathy has gained a reputation for helping, even eliminating, many of today’s chronic conditions for which modern medicine may offer only “symptom management” through a life-long tie to drugs and their side-effects.

Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health®



F e at u r e A r t i c l e How Homeopathy Works Unlike pharmaceuticals, homeopathic remedies do not act by chemically suppressing or masking symptoms, or by attacking “germs.” Rather, by matching symptoms to remedy, the remedies are believed to create a gentle, very precise energetically matching “nudge” to help

symptoms of the sick person, as representative of the energetic (electrical) pathogenic imbalances of that person, this energetic match will stimulate a response in the body to detoxify, rebalance and heal itself using the body’s inborn, natural healing mechanisms. Pathogens may include bacteria,


Asperger’s the system recognize and correct the imbalances and stimulate the body to detoxify, restore homeostasis, and heal itself. The means of preparation is through a serial dilution and “succussion” or striking of the vial between each dilution. This both mixes the tincture and dilutent, and releases the medicinal, energetic signature to the dilutent. It is this energetic signature that will convey a sort of “harmonic” message to the body’s systems that is the most likely basis of homeopathy’s action. Electrical energetic activity is a wellaccepted fact in modern medicine, and has been accessed through assessment tests such as EEGs, EKGs, MRIs, and other imaging systems for decades. It is the balance of systems of the body, and the messaging system that regulates and operates them that determines health vs. illness. Homeopathy harnesses the natural energetic signatures of each substance. By matching remedy signature symptoms (those created by the crude substance in a healthy person) to the 28 WINTER 2012/SPRING 2013

viruses, fungi, chemical toxins, radiation, medicines, or even emotional and physical traumas, from the homeopathic perspective. Homeopathy acts, much like the experiment we saw in high school physics class, whereby a tuning fork is struck to vibrate, then held next to a similarly tuned fork that will begin to vibrate due to the harmonic resonance. If one considers a sick person’s ill health as an “out of tune” piano, just as the piano tuner will use a tuning fork or tuning

mechanism and match the out of tune string to the harmonic frequency of the tuning fork, the homeopath uses his/her remedy to seek out the imbalances of illness and helps the body’s natural forces of healing and detoxification to bring itself into attunement. Because of the ultra-high dilutions involved, detractors point to lack of chemicals as a reason why homeopathy “can’t possibly be doing anything because nothing’s there, therefore any effect is merely a placebo effect.” However, in modern medical science, homeopathic remedies have been tested with positive therapeutic outcomes on infants, animals, and even cells in vitro by such great research institutions as MD Anderson Cancer Center. That in vitro study on breast cancer and normal cells, demonstrated that four different homeopathic remedies “exerted preferential cytotoxic effects against the

two breast cancer cell lines, causing cell cycle delay/arrest and apoptosis.” (Frenkel, 2010) This one study clearly demonstrated that since cell lines in vitro have no expectation, the effect of the remedies could not be explained as a placebo effect, by definition. This ultra-high dilution factor should also be considered as a major reason that there is a high degree of safety in homeopathic remedies. No remedy has ever been forced into a recall for any legitimate safety |

reason, there are no “black box” warnings on any homeopathic remedy, and no one has ever suffered permanent harm or death from use of homeopathic remedies. In the hands of a qualified homeopath, these remedies are capable of very specific or general detoxification, and can help the body heal even decades old injuries, toxic exposures, emotional, and physical traumas, while very gently offering immediate relief of current symptoms. The remedies work to allow healing to happen naturally, the way our systems were designed to heal themselves. For people who have had multiple diagnosis, or have been told their ailments are “in their heads,” or that their conditions are “incurable,” homeopathy offers both a genuine path back to good health and a sigh of relief. Even before his diagnosis, my son was still well down the road to recovery from Asperger’s through homeopathy before I was able to get the formal diagnosis required by the school to access the appropriate skills classes. And as soon as it was evident to the school that he no longer required those supports, I pushed for retesting. I felt certain his diagnosis would be lost, and indeed it was. He no longer qualified for services and is living Asperger’s-free. While the school was delighted to have him out of their expensive special services program, the diagnosticians, psychologists, and teachers were all amazed that anyone ever lost the diagnosis. Why?

A Different Viewpoint of Asperger’s While the visible, palpable manifestations of Asperger’s (and other disorders above) are mostly behavioral, social and cognitive, there are very real physiological factors at play which then manifest as some of the fogginess, social inappropriateness, inability to “read” others’ feelings and body language, compulsions, and obsessions. The prevailing viewpoint of both the medical and psychological professions is that Asperger’s (as well as autism, ADD, ADHD, anxiety disorders, OCD, etc.), are psychological disorders without physical basis.”

We believe, and our clinical experience

supports, that this is an incorrect premise.

Houston Homeopathy Method—Complex Homeopathy for Complex Problems We knew that a single homeopathic remedy

A “Layers Theory” Model for simply have a slow decline into ill health. would only effect a full recovery in most Asperger’s, (and Autism, ADD, Neurological/psychological/sociological health issues about 20% of the time, and ADHD, and Chronic Illness) issues can arise in a similar manner, in- typically that 20% was in the case of very

Chronic health problems, whether men- cluding Asperger’s— and there is no single simple, uncomplicated acute problems like tal, emotional, behavioral, developmental, cause. Some children may have seemed colds, flu, minor injuries, etc. But most of or physical, typically aren’t “caused” by “different” almost from birth. No person’s our clients came to us looking for help with a single germ. They more typically stem genetic programming for illness nor his- chronic health problems—some of which from a lifelong layering of impact upon tory is like any other person’s, even among stemmed back to childhood or teen years, impact layered on the genetic predispos- identical twins. Certainly there may be a and then ultimately, children on the aution of the system. Sometimes clients may genetic tendency or susceptibility to have tism spectrum started coming to our doors. recall a triggering point of being “never a particular response to some triggering A more complex approach using multiple well since” this or that event. Others may event, toxin, and/or pathogen. remedies, supporting organs and systems (800) 592-1125 | (877) 718-3053

Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health®



F e at u r e A r t i c l e that were toxic and weakened, and elimi- gens—with good results. In doing so we many of our clients with AS includes a history nating one trauma at a time from current have “backed into” many events and patho- of chronic ear or throat infections, scarlatina, health backwards was necessary. Based gens that can contribute to many chronic scarlet fever, rheumatic fever or some other upon “sequential therapy,” the work of Jean physical, emotional, developmental, and streptococcus associated infection, typically Elmiger, MD, the Houston Homeopathy behavioral problems in both children and treated with antibiotics shortly prior to the Method encompasses a “sequential homeo- adults. We have also developed a number of onset of behavioral shifts noted by the parpathic unlayering” of trauma upon trauma, proprietary combination remedies to sup- ents. Many of the mothers and/or fathers of in reverse chronological order. In the 1800s, port the detoxification, rebalancing, and these children are streptococcus positive as Constantine Hering, MD, the “Father of healing process, and help reduce current “carriers” or the mother’s tested positive durAmerican Homeopathy” observed illness symptoms for our clients while we work ing pregnancy for streptococcus. Another tends to heal itself in reverse chronologi- backwards through the layers of each per- commonality is a history of vaccination with cal order, in both chronic and acute ill- son’s unique history. It is this approach that a pneumonia vaccine, which is derived from streptococcus pneumoniae (Components of ness. Elmiger applied this to vaccinations, we took with my son. Pneumococcal Vaccine; www.vaccinesafety. which he saw as an impact on health, and edu/components-Pneumo.htm http://www. a “blockage to cure” with his patients in Asperger’s Syndrome: What the 1960s. He would use homeopathic the HHM Has Taught Us remedies to undo the damage of those im- With Asperger’s we commonly find a history htm). There may be a tendency (or childpacts and saw long-term problems vanish of chronic ear or throat infections, scarlatina, hood history) to run very high, sudden onset within weeks. The Houston Homeopathy scarlet fever, rheumatic fever or some other fevers that seemingly come out of nowhere. Method has expanded on the approach to streptococcal-related infection, which has Many of the parents state that their children address not only the impact of vaccinations, been treated with antibiotics. Many mothers are “never sick” and never run fevers. Sadly but those of surgeries, accidents, chemical of children with Asperger’s were strep carriers the inability to run a fever may be a sign of and heavy metal exposures, drugs, patho- during pregnancy. Dads aren’t off the hook, an overburdened, sluggish, and chronically gens, and even inherited toxins and patho- either. A common finding in the history of struggling immune system.

Patterns of Asperger’s Habits · Picky diet and irresistible cravings · Anxiety and social problems · Minor, but constant complaints · General sense of low energy · Obsessions, compulsions, rituals or rigidity · Anxiety, tics, OCD, and social problems 30 WINTER 2012/SPRING 2013 |

At different times, my son manifested all of the above—each a sign of strep infections. As a toddler, my son had a bout of scarlatina, which is caused by streptococcus, and he was treated with a shot of penicillin. Soon after that he stopped having ear infections and instead would spike high fevers seemingly at a moment’s notice. When my son was about three years old, after I had started studying homeopathy, I discovered he had climbed up to my medicine cabinet (which now thankfully contained homeopathic remedies, instead of drugs!) and had eaten almost a whole bottle of homeopathic Belladonna 30c. As a highly dilute homeopathic remedy, Belladonna is completely non-toxic, but is actually highly toxic in herbal form. I immediately called my homeopath/mentor, explained the situation and she started laughing. She reassured me that the remedy would have no ill effect, and in fact, she pointed out that his chronic ear infection and spiking high fever history made Belladonna the perfect remedy for his chronic fever, sore throat and ear problems. He had intuitively self-medicated. Shortly thereafter, I realized that the fevers had stopped, and when he had a simple cold or flu I now knew it because he would run a normal fever at the beginning, which would then subside as he improved. Unfortunately, there were other factors at play in my son’s history. While sharing similar genetics with his siblings, he was my only child to receive a Hepatitis B vaccine at birth. In my professional experience with adults, many have reported significant declines in memory, focus and attention, and uncharacteristic angry frustration with themselves, or rages at others following administration of a Hepatitis B vaccine series. I believe that some of my son’s AS symptoms were directly related to his Hepatitis B vaccine. On his first day of life, breastfeeding went perfectly, with a good latch-on, and strong sucking and rooting reflexes. The next morning, he was given his Hepatitis B vaccine, and immediately I recall having difficulty with his breastfeeding impulses. His sucking was weaker, and sometimes when I touched his cheek, he would have no rooting tendency. (800) 592-1125 | (877) 718-3053

Neither of his older sisters had any problems with breast-feeding. As he grew older, while my son did not rage at others, he would angrily turn in on himself and shake in frustration whenever things would go

among those with Asperger’s include dark circles around or sunken eyes. Often there is a very picky diet, and irresistible cravings for foods high in natural or chemical excitotoxins and carbs, often accompanied

Houston Homeopathy


wrong. My son had great difficulty staying by minor but constant complaints such as on task and remembering to turn in his gut discomfort, gassiness, etc., plus a general homework papers. When we homeopathi- sense of low energy. One of the “unofficial” cally corrected for his Hepatitis B vaccine, ways we recognize that children may need we saw a huge improvement in attention, our attention to generalized inflammation, ability to finish tasks, and he even began and may require us to consider a history of to turn in his homework on time. He also streptococcus even if there are no outward stopped raging at himself, and happily, nev- symptoms, is that they eat what we affecer started raging at others! Over time, as we tionately call “The Orange Diet.” Our hyrepeatedly “cleared” him homeopathically pothesis is based upon the work of Russell for all of his other vaccines, many contain- Blaylock, MD in his book Excitotoxins: ing aluminum and thimerosal (a preser- The Taste that Kills. Blaylock characterizes vative made from mercury), his memory excitotoxins as chemicals (food additives) continued to improve, and his academic that are highly addictive, and can have an skills with it. Because aluminum and mer- excitatory effect on the central nervous syscury are each known neurotoxins, and to- tem (a “high”) followed by nerve death. At gether are significantly more damaging to the same time, some of these foods can carry the nervous system (Binstock, 2009), we somewhat of a pain-numbing effect. (Zioudid many homeopathic clearings through drou, Streaty, & Lee, 1979) Many children his entire history of vaccines to be sure that with autism have this effect from gluten or as many heavy metals as possible would casein, and some of them are equally adbe naturally excreted. As we addressed the dicted to these foods high in orange food chronic streptococcal issues we found that coloring. The foods most of these children his handwriting, social skills, and most of (and adults!) may crave will be orange sodas his anxieties and fears subsided. And while and other artificially orange flavored/colas a young boy he remained very interested ored beverages, orange-colored cheese puff in video games and certain characters, he snacks, orange colored cracker snacks, barwas no longer obsessed with them and becue potato chips (orange colored), nacho, could easily carry on conversations that or cheese flavored corn chips. Outside the had nothing to do with his favorite game orange realm, pizza and spaghetti, breaded, deep fried chicken nuggets, especially from and cartoon characters. one particular fast food chain restaurant, Patterns of Asperger’s Habits seem to be a dietary staple for those with Other similarities that we have found Asperger’s. All of these contain high levels Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health®



F e at u r e A r t i c l e of artificial colors, MSG, plus the gluten from the pizza and pasta are hypothesized to create an “opioid effect” in the brain that both gives a “high” and numbs pain. In our experience, many of those who have very high titers or a long history of streptococcus infections are also the ones most likely to be addicted to this high excitotoxin diet, often to the point of aggression and violence when they either can’t have their “fix” or shortly thereafter, as the neurons are thrown into the state of excitement. Per Blaylock, brain inflammation and excitotoxin presence go hand in hand. And due to the “high” that is achieved, those with more inflammation may get more of a boost and more numbing, hence tend to be more highly addicted to these foods. (Blaylock, 1997) And streptococcus is associated with many other problems of central nervous system inflammation, as we will see below. Some people with AS may also have an overlay of obsessions, compulsions, rituals or rigidity. An association has been found between sudden-onset of OCD-like anxiety and behaviors, or tic and movement disorder symptoms in many children after a streptococcal infection (Snider & Swedo, 2003), which is most often treated with

For my son, we applied the

Houston Homeopathy

Method by homeopathically peeling away the layers of trauma. 32 WINTER 2012/SPRING 2013

antibiotics (Swedo, 1998). While long-term antibiotics are proposed as an answer to this form of OCD, some of our clients have reported to us that the use of long term an-

above, when we cleared his Hepatitis B shot he was given at birth he became much more clear-headed, less forgetful, and a better student. He lost his self-harming anger

I have come to appreciate our conversations about everyday life, and see in my son a deepthinking intellect. tibiotics to work with PANDAS/OCD has actually made matters worse for some with these post-streptococcal infection obsessions—sometimes the triggering factor that led them to us for help. Since learning of this and subsequent studies on OCD, anxiety and tics, which all seem to have an interrelationship with past strep infections, we have been able to help others with overlays of anxiety, tics, OCD, social problems, inability to make eye contact, bullying problems, as we have broadened the scope of remedies to address these symptoms. We can see the contributing patterns now that we have worked with many children and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome. While our theory as to the streptococcal history association to, Asperger’s, anxiety, and OCD is purely based on our clinical and my son’s personal experience, this is a definite pattern, and we have seen it resolve with attention to that relationship with many other AS, anxiety, and OCD sufferers, including those with autism.

Recovering Stephen For my son, we applied the Houston Homeopathy Method by homeopathically peeling away the “layers of trauma,” including his past vaccines, ear infections, scarlatina, and the antibiotics given for them, and we saw amazing improvements. He became less sensitive to sound, less anxious, and less obsessed with Pokemon® characters. As stated

tendencies, his eye contact improved, and he became much more emotionally expressive—all things he had struggled with. An interesting sidebar to his progress occurred when my son entered 6th grade. We started working to eliminate the layers of vaccines and he was doing extremely well between the beginning and end of 5th grade. But as he entered 6th grade, about 2 months into the school year, he started slipping backwards. I was devastated. He had been happier and more academically successful at the end of 5th grade than ever before, yet two months into 6th grade he began old patterns, such as turning in on himself in anger, forgetting to turn in completed homework assignments, and returned to obsessing on Pokemon®. A few months of frustration later for both mother and son, I had another “ah-hah” moment: his peers had been revaccinated at the start of school for chicken pox (he never received the varicella vaccine, because he had the disease as a baby) and Hepatitis B. By then, we had chosen to opt out of further vaccinations, so while he did not directly receive them, I realized that his peers had all been vaccinated, many right before school started or in the early weeks of the school year. Because our experience in seeing the Hepatitis B vaccine create anger and rage in some clients shortly after their vaccines, and because varicella is drawn to the nervous system, and varicella viruses are |

known to “shed” from a vaccinee to some- all my experience, I have never seen a student one who was not vaccinated (Brunell & with Asperger’s or any other diagnosis with Argaw, 2000), we needed to clear my son an IEP actually LOSE their diagnosis and again for these vaccines, this time for his their IEP!” I explained again about the hosecondary exposure through his age peers. meopathy. Heads shook around the room in Almost immediately he began to calm disbelief—and awe. I was asked by several of down, his self-abuse stopped, self-esteem the professionals for business cards. It is very improved, and homework assignments sad, having worked successfully with many became easier to do and were once again others with AS, developmental delays, ADD, being turned in. It spoke volumes to me ADHD, etc., that the suffering of so many about how important it would be for him that could be relieved will actually continue to never receive another vaccination again. because of prevailing belief that “once Aspy, Stephen again recovered his balance, and always Aspy.” In these times of cut-backs in sailed through middle school. But by the special education, so many children with AS, end of 8th grade, I realized that some de- autism, ADD, ADHD, sensory disorders, velopmental steps had been skipped and and processing disorders, one would think needed remediation through the school. I that recovery might become more of a goal. petitioned the school for some social skills Yet, to my knowledge, not a single referral practice, counseling, and some organiza- has ever come out of those professionals. tional skills help for his academics. He was finally granted access to the school’s Our Happy Ending Asperger’s program. It was perfect for him. My son’s journey taught us well that AsHe was able to participate in role-playing perger’s doesn’t have to be the final destiand practice in various social situations nation. I have come to appreciate our conwith the others. He had a wonderful teacher, versations about everyday life, and see in who also shepherded “her” boys in the class my son a deep-thinking intellect. He has through their first year of high school pres- become much more expressive of not only sures, watched to be assured they turned emotions, but his desires for himself and his in homework assignments, and through future life. He is a remarkable young man, the year as my son’s abilities improved, she very compassionate, and a great listener. stepped away more and more. Interestingly, For my son, psychotropic drugs were the teacher voiced her observations to me never even considered. He takes no drugs, privately that she was “in awe” at my son’s only calls me for remedies for colds or the great improvements through the school occasional flu bug, and is quite the vocal adyear, where the other boys never really vocate for homeopathy and healthy living seemed to “get it” and move forward in any among his peers. For others who wish to avoid the psychotangible or lasting ways. I explained about homeopathy. At the end of the school year tropic drug route, or tried them and found we attended an IEP meeting. The district them not useful, or could not deal with the and I were in agreement that he required side effects, homeopathy is a more natural retesting, to determine whether he still and permanent approach, and in particular, needed services. During the course of my sequential homeopathy, as outlined above, challenges with the district, I had become offers an answer that is drug-free, non-toxsomewhat friendly with the district psy- ic, and has no side effects. As my son (and chologist who oversaw our large suburban other clients) have demonstrated, it is posschool district’s special education program. sible to work through causational factors When we were given the final word that to gain long-term, permanent help with he no longer tested with any deficits other many of the internal factors that directly than the occasional missed assignment affect external affect, social skills, OCD, (typical for high school boys), I will never anger, and other problems and recovery forget this psychologist’s words to me: “In of full health—and loss of the “Aspy” di-

(800) 592-1125 | (877) 718-3053

agnosis. For us, homeopathy has been a way of life since my son was only two years old. Since 2003, our practice has changed the lives of over 100 children with Autism and Asperger’s. And it restored my son and strengthened our family!

About the Author Cindy Griffin, DSHP, DIHom, FBIH, BCIH, DCNT, FAAIM, Cindy Griffin is a homeopathic consultant, author, speaker and educator. She became interested in homeopathy through her own physical and emotional healing experience while she was a master’s level psychology student. Cindy has a full-time private homeopathic practice where she has developed a broad following of both clients and students due to her desire to help others heal gently, completely, and to their greatest potential. She specializes in the chronic health problems found in autism spectrum disorders in all their many manifestations and facets. She has authored many articles that have appeared in print and online magazines, including Latitudes, Autism Science Digest, The Autism Perspective, The Autism File, and has authored book chapters for all three editions of Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism. She sits on the editorial advisory boards of two magazines, Autism Science Digest and The Annals of Psychotherapy and Integrative Medicine. Cindy Griffin is not and does not represent herself nor her colleagues to be medical doctors, or licensed mental health professionals. The practitioners are professional homeopaths. No information contained herein is to be construed as individual medical nor mental health advice for self-care, nor to be interpreted as a prevention, treatment nor cure of any disease. The article merely reflects the observations and experience of Cindy Griffin as a parent and professional homeopath, and her son’s experience with the Houston Homeopathy Method. Each person’s physical and mental health needs are individualized and should be overseen by a professional practitioner of their choosing.

Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health®



Mind News ‘Could My Child Have Autism?’ Ten Signs of Possible Autism-Related Delays in 6 To 12–Month–Old Children Though autism is often not diagnosed until the age of three, some children begin to show signs of developmental delay before they turn a year old. While not all infants and toddlers with delays will develop autism spectrum disorders (ASD), experts point to early detection of these signs as key to capitalizing on early diagnosis and intervention, which is believed to improve developmental outcomes. According to Dr. Rebecca Landa, director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Md., parents need to be empowered to identify the warning signs of ASD and other communication delays. “We want to encourage parents to become good observers of their children’s development so that they can see the earliest indicators of delays in a baby’s communication, social and motor skills,” says Dr. Landa, who also cautions that some children who develop ASD don’t show signs until after the second birthday or regress after appearing to develop typically. For the past decade, Dr. Landa has followed infant siblings of children with autism to identify red flags of the disorder in their earliest form. Her research has shown that diagnosis is possible in some children as young as 14 months and sparked the development of early intervention models that have been shown to improve outcomes for toddlers showing signs of ASD as young as one and two years old. Dr. Landa recommends that as parents play with their infant (6–12 months), they look for the following signs that have been linked to later diagnosis of ASD or other communication disorders: 34 WINTER 2012/SPRING 2013

1. Rarely smiles when approached by caregivers 2. Rarely tries to imitate sounds and movements others make, such as smiling and laughing, during simple social exchanges 3. Delayed or infrequent babbling 4. Does not respond to his or her name with increasing consistency from 6–12 months 5. Does not gesture to communicate by 10 months 6. Poor eye contact 7. Seeks your attention infrequently 8. Repeatedly stiffens arms, hands, legs or displays unusual body movements such as rotating the hands on the wrists, uncommon postures or other repetitive behaviors 9. Does not reach up toward you when you reach to pick him or her up 10. Delays in motor development, including delayed rolling over, pushing up and crawling

Unusual Use of Toys in Infancy a Clue to Later Autism

“If parents suspect something is wrong with their child’s development, or that their child is losing skills, they should talk to their pediatrician or another developmental expert,” says Dr. Landa. “Don’t adopt a ‘wait and see’ perspective. We want to identify delays early in development so that intervention can begin when children’s brains are more malleable and still developing their circuitry.”

Researchers at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute have found that infants later diagnosed with autism exhibited unusual exploration of objects long before being diagnosed. Studying a group of children at high risk for developing autism, the researchers found that those eventually diagnosed with the disorder were more likely to spin, repetitively rotate, stare at and look out of the corners of their eyes at simple objects, including a baby bottle and a rattle, as early as 12 months of age. These findings could help pediatricians diagnose and treat autism earlier, reducing some of the social and educational challenges associated with the disorder. “There is an urgent need to develop measures that can pick up early signs of autism, signs present before 24 months,” said M.I.N.D. researcher Sally Ozonoff, first author of the current study, which was published in the October issue of Autism, the journal of the National Autistic Society. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that all infants be screened for autism twice before their second birthdays. Currently, pediatricians look for the hallmark social and communication signs of autism, which include language delays and lack of interest in people.

Kennedy Krieger Institute (2012, March 26). ‘Could my child have autism?’ Ten signs of possible autism-related delays in 6 to 12-month-old children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2012, from­/releases/2012/03/120326160700.htm

University of California - Davis - Health System (2008, November 6). Unusual Use Of Toys In Infancy A Clue To Later Autism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2012, from­/releases/2008/11/081106153540.htm |

Computer Game Helps Autistic Children Recognize Emotions An interactive computer software program called FaceSay™ has been shown to improve the ability of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to recognize faces, facial expressions and emotions, according to the results of a study conducted by psychologists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). FaceSay™, created by Symbionica L.L.C., features interactive games that let children with ASD practice recognizing the facial expressions of an avatar, or software “puppet.” Specifically, the computer games teach the children where to look for facial cues such as an eye gaze or a facial expression. The study found that the children with Asperger Syndrome who used the FaceSay™ program made significant improvements in their ability to read facial expressions. The children with autism made less improvement. Children in both the autism and Asperger groups, however, both improved their ability to recognize emotions.

Specifically, the children with autism who used FaceSay™ averaged a mean score of 14.8 on a facial recognition test. The control group averaged 12.8. The children with Asperger Syndrome scored much higher with an average score of 18.4 compared to 15.4 by the control group. On an emotion recognition skills test, the children with autism who used FaceSay™ scored an average of 6.53. The control group’s average score was 5.2. The children with Asperger Syndrome had a mean test score of 8.7 compared with the control group score of 6.79. UAB doctoral student Maria Hopkins, PhD, and UAB associate professor of psychology Fred Biasini, PhD, conducted the study. University of Alabama at Birmingham (2007, June 22). Computer Game Helps Autistic Children Recognize Emotions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily. com­ /releases/2007/06/070622183516.htm

Schoolyard Designed for Children

With Autism

A Kansas State University graduate student is creating a schoolyard that can become a therapeutic landscape for children with autism. Chelsey King, master’s student in landscape architecture, St. Peters, Mo., is working with Katie Kingery-Page, assistant professor of landscape architecture, to envision a place where elementary school children with autism could feel comfortable and included. “My main goal was to provide different opportunities for children with autism to be able to interact in their environment without being segregated from the rest of the school,” King said. “I didn’t want that separation to occur.” The schoolyard can be an inviting place for children with autism, King said, if it provides several aspects: clear boundaries, a variety of activities and activity level spaces, places where the child can go when overstimulated, opportunities for a variety of sensory input without being overwhelming and a variety of ways to foster communication between peers. “The biggest issue with traditional schoolyards is that they are completely open but also busy and crowded in specific areas,” King said. “This can be too overstimulating for a person with autism.” Kansas State University (2012, May 7). Schoolyard designed for children with autism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily. com­ /releases/2012/05/120507131944.htm (800) 592-1125 | (877) 718-3053

Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health®



AAIM Accreditation Commission

What Does Accreditation Mean for You? AAIM Accreditation Commission The purpose of the American Association of Integrative Medicine Accreditation Commission® is to provide specialized accreditation for mental health or integrative healthcare practices. This includes, but is not limited to, mental health, chiropractic, osteopathy, acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, and nutrition practices. The AAIM Accreditation Commission is founded on the belief that specialized accreditation contributes to the patient, healthcare provider, and public good, and provides maintenance and enhancement of high standards for integrative or mental healthcare practices. Accreditation indicates to the general public that a mental health or integrative healthcare practice has met and is in compliance with established standards.

The Value of Accreditation Accredited status is a reliable indication of the value and quality of the practice to the public. Without accredited status, it is hard to evaluate the quality of care and processes of the practice or to be confident that the practice can deliver on their promises. Accreditation supports professionalism, ethical responsibility, fiduciary responsibility, and commitment to improvement. Remember that accreditation of a practice may not mean that a specific program within that practice is accredited.

What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is both a status and a process. As a status, Benefits of AAIM Accreditation accreditation provides public notification that an institution or There are many benefits of AAIM Accreditation. program meets standards of quality set forth by an accrediting agency. As a process, accreditation reflects that in achieving • Authentication of your practice by applying a comprehensive set of standards for quality of services. recognition by the accrediting agency, the instituion or program is committed to self-study and external review by one’s peers, • The practice and its programs listed in the American in seeking not only to meet standards, but to continuously Association of Integrative MedicineSM (AAIM) seek ways in which to enhance the quality of services provided. Directory of Accredited Institutions, creating AAIM’s accrediting body, the AAIM Accreditation Commission, market visibility and credibility. publishes guidelines and procedures by which its accreditation • A one-year free membership with the American process is carried out. It also publishes its accredited practices Association of Integrative MedicineSM (AAIM) for on the AAIM website at the authorized representative. •

Prestige within a competitive field.

Access to new markets.

Recognition from peers.

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Evidence of improved performance.

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A basis for standardized quality.

Achieving accreditation demonstrates recognition and adherence to standards related to mental health and mental healthcare practices and quality management systems. 40 WINTER 2012/SPRING 2013 |

If you are affiliated with a mental health or integrative healthcare practice and would like to find out more about how to become accredited through the AAIM Accreditation Commission, please contact us today at


Steps to Accreditation Review AAIM Accreditation Policies and Procedures to gather a greater understanding of this process and how to complete each step. The following are steps on how to become accredited through the AAIM Accreditation Commission:

1 Complete the Self Evaluation Report We encourage all potential applicants to review the AAIM Accreditation Commission Standards for Practices before completing this report to fully understand our requirements. Then begin filling out the Self Evaluation Report (SER). This is simply a tool for your success. See where you measure up and what areas need improvement before you apply for accreditation.



Complete the Application

Granting Accreditation

Next, fill out the application form. All applications must be accompanied by the required fee. Once received, the application is reviewed. A member of the AAIM staff will contact the applicant within seven business days of submission. The application can be filled out online and then printed and submitted by mail, e-mail, or fax.

Upon approval by the Commissioners Committee, the applicant will receive a congratulatory letter, plaque, and certificate of accreditation.

AAIM Accreditation Commission Office 2750 E. Sunshine Street, Springfield, MO 65804 Fax: 417.823.9959 | E-mail:

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