Full Course Description

Autism Assessment in Adults: Differentiating the Complexities of Autism from Co-Occurring Mental Health Issues

Autism diagnoses in adults are on the rise.

Adults are now reporting that their childhood diagnosis of anxiety, ODD, OCD, alone doesn’t make sense – autism is suspected.

How do you separate the complex characteristics of autism from common co-occurring mental health diagnosis?

In this session, autistic psychologist, speaker, and author, Dr. Wenn Lawson will teach you to how to assess for autism and separate it from other co-occurring mental health issues in adults.

Watch and learn:

  • How to interlace a neurodiversity affirming lens with DSM-5™ diagnostic criteria
  • The interplay between poor mental health and autism and impact of unmet needs
  • How autism presents differently in different gender identities

The impact of a diagnosis in adulthood can lead to self-injury, employment and relationship problems, other mental health issues including suicidality.

Program Information


  1. Integrate a neurodiversity affirming lens with DSM-5™ diagnostic criteria to assess for adult autism.
  2. Appraise whether exhibiting symptoms are related to autism or a co-occurring mental health diagnosis.
  3. Determine how autism presents differently in different gender identities.
  4. Evaluate the interplay between autism and poor mental health and the clinical implications including when to refer.


  • Autism Assessment in Adults 
  • Teasing out autism from co-occurring mental health diagnosis 
  • Integrating a neurodiversity affirming lens with DSM-5™ diagnostic criteria 
  • How autism presents differently in different gender identities 
  • The interplay between poor mental health and autism 
  • Reasons for a referral

Target Audience

  • Addiction Counselors
  • Counselors
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physicians
  • Psychologists
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Social Workers
  • Teachers/School-Based Personnel
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

Copyright : 03/24/2022

Trauma Processing with Neurodivergent Youth: Adaptive strategies to support communication, sensory needs, cognition and more

Each child’s path to healing is as unique as their fingerprint.

But when kids with autism, ADHD, and developmental delays are also facing trauma, the way forward can seem impossible to find.

Communication impairments. Concrete thinking. Sensory needs.

It can start to feel like a puzzle you’ll never solve. A door you can’t unlock.

Often, the trauma gets overshadowed by the more visible needs, becoming an unseen barrier preventing progress.

Watch Dr. Aditi Mehra, occupational therapist and trauma expert, to gain the specialized knowledge to provide the comprehensive support these children need:

  • Easily adapt ACT, EMDR, and CBT approaches based on each child’s unique needs
  • Differentiate trauma-related behaviors from disability-related behaviors
  • Skillfully apply communication strategies, sensory techniques, cognitive resources, and assistive technology within trauma treatment
  • Actively engage kids of all abilities

Return to work tomorrow with dozens of tools for your toolbox, including an extensive resource list for worksheets, social stories, visual supports, art therapy, and sensory activities you can implement immediately.

Purchase today for this crucial training to help the most vulnerable children on their path to healing.

Program Information


  1. Identify the significance of trauma-informed care when working with children with special needs, including its impact on their well-being, development, and therapeutic outcomes.
  2. Identify the impact of trauma on the brain and its unique impact on the behavior of neurodivergent children.
  3. List practical techniques and interventions to recognize trauma in children with disabilities and differentiate it from their disability-related behaviors.
  4. Choose effective strategies for implementing trauma-informed care for children with developmental differences and their parents/ caregivers.
  5. Examine trauma-informed strategies and interventions within the scope of counseling, psychology, social work, and occupational therapy to improve function in children with disabilities.
  6. Utilize strategies to protect the mental health of clinicians when working with clients with special needs and complex trauma to promote overall health and wellbeing.


Neuroscience and Resilience

  • Signs of trauma in neurodivergent children
  • Trauma-related behaviors vs disability-related behaviors
  • Impact of neurodivergence on trauma processing
    • Communication impairments
    • Sensory processing disorder
    • Physical disabilities
    • Medical needs
    • ASD-related behaviors
  • Brain change through EMDR, ACT, CBT, somatic therapies
  • Limitations of research and potential risks

Navigate Communication Challenges

  • Apps and tech to support 2-way communication
  • Psychoeducation using social stories and video modeling
  • Visual supports for emotion identification
  • 5 art therapy techniques to communicate without words
  • Defusion techniques for non-verbal children
  • Case study: CBT for autistic teen engaging in self-harm

Meet Sensory Needs

  • Create a sensory-friendly space
  • Quick & easy calming sensory strategies
  • Sensory routines for emotional regulation
  • In-session use of proprioceptive and vestibular strategies
  • Interoception: its BIG role in emotions
  • Left-right stimulation strategies
  • Case study: Play therapy to address trauma in child with FAS

Move Beyond Physical Limitations

  • Modifications for play therapy techniques
  • Positioning to support interaction
  • Help kids set value-driven goals despite disability-related challenges
  • Deal with disability-related identity issues
  • Assistive technology in trauma work
  • Case study: EMDR with child with CP and history of abuse

Engage the Hard-to-Engage Child

  • Movement before mindfulness
  • Capitalize on routines and rituals
  • Play-based trust-building strategies
  • Puppets, sand trays, and doll houses
  • Case study: ACT with autistic child in foster care

Support Cognitive Processing

  • Strategies to build sense of self
  • Dramatic play for perspective-taking
  • Resources for emotional identification and processing
  • Visual supports for understanding and acceptance
  • Building psychological flexibility through role-play
  • Case study: CBT and child with Down syndrome

Build the Child’s Dream Team

  • Co-regulation strategies for caregivers
  • Support attachment
  • Routines-based intervention for the home
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration for success

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers

Copyright : 01/16/2024

Trauma-Focused Therapy for Autistic Children: Using EMDR, TF-CBT and Sensorimotor Therapy with Kids and Teens on the Spectrum

So many kids today are on the autism spectrum…and up to 70% of them have trauma or other co-occurring disorders. It’s a rapidly growing population needing services.

And if you provide therapy for kids and adolescents, the current lack of those services will push them into your care… and push you beyond your traditional scope of practice.

How can you work with this growing wave of trauma clients in a way you feel comfortable?

Sean Inderbitzen, APSW has worked with hundreds of clients with autism and co-occurring disorders. And not only does Sean work with clients with autism he himself is on the autism spectrum.

In this one-day training Sean will show you simple solutions for adapting the skills and techniques you already know to successfully treat trauma in kids and adolescents with autism.

Full of insights from the perspective of both a clinician and a person on the spectrum, Sean will show you how you can:

  • Use strategies for overcoming therapy interfering behaviors and concrete thinking
  • Employ a Polyvagal lens to make trauma treatment clear and understandable
  • Create visual aids for enhanced psychoeducation on trauma symptoms
  • Bring specific simplified language into your work with ASD clients
  • Adapt proven techniques from EMDR, TF-CBT and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

Whether or not you consider yourself an autism expert, these kids and teens need your help.

Don’t miss this one-of-kind chance to grow your clinical skills and expand your scope of practice, so you can comfortably and confidently treat trauma in kids with autism.

Purchase now!

Program Information


  1. Apply a Polyvagal Model of autism to the treatment of ASD and PTSD.
  2. Develop differential diagnostic practices to prevent diagnostic overshadowing between PTSD, OCD and ASD.
  3. Use social stories to help individuals with ASD process thoughts and feelings about their trauma and learn coping skills.
  4. Use simplified language to overcome deficits in expressive and receptive language differences and ensure comprehension when teaching breathing and relaxation techniques to neurodiverse clients.
  5. Investigate the research limitations of applying trauma treatment techniques to children and adolescents with trauma.
  6. Apply specific modifications to adapt EMDR, TF-CBT and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for use with children and adolescents with autism and PTSD.


Autism and Trauma: Overlap and Treatment Implications

  • What is the window of tolerance and its relevance to Polyvagal theory?
  • Rethinking autism: A Polyvagal Model of autism
  • Implications of trauma on executive dysfunction and memory
  • A case study of an autistic child with PTSD and dissociative amnesia
The Diagnostic Intersection of Autism, OCD and PTSD
  • Diagnostic criteria for ASD
  • Diagnostic overshadowing in ASD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and PTSD
  • Applying Polyvagal theory to the intersection of a state specific model of autism
  • Implications to diagnosis and treatment of autism and PTSD
EMDR for Kids with ASD and PTSD:
Adapting Social Stories and Tapping for Enhanced Treatment
  • EMDR protocol walkthrough
  • Visual aids for improved psychoeducation on trauma symptoms
  • Adapting social stories to the treatment of trauma in children with ASD
  • Using tapping for simple stress reduction
  • Case study
  • Research and limitations
Sensorimotor Psychotherapy:
Treat the Symptoms of Unresolved Trauma in the Body
  • Mindful awareness of the body – helping kids with autism identify triggers
  • Modified mindfulness exercises to activate calm in children with ASD and PTSD
  • Simplified language to teach deep breathing and relaxation techniques
  • Case study
  • Research and limitations
Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
Adaptations to Address Developmental Level and Increase Comprehension
  • Modifications for using Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral therapy
    • Strategies to increase generalization
    • Tips for overcoming concrete thinking
    • Integrating visual learning to illustrate points
  • Deepening TF-CBT practices with motivational interviewing
  • Research and limitations
  • Applying EMDR, TF-CBT, and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy to a state specific model of ASD

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Case Managers
  • Physicians
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Therapists
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

Copyright : 07/22/2022

EMDR and Trauma Processing for High Functioning Autism: Adaptations for Individual Needs of the NeuroBeautiful

High functioning autistic clients often face social rejection, bullying, exploitation, and feeling like the "odd person out," which can be traumatizing. 

Yet, few trainings have given therapists the skills they need to address this type of trauma in high functioning autistic clients.

This workshop will help you gain the unique skills and sensitivities necessary to help these clients navigate trauma in ways that respect their individual differences. 

In this workshop, renowned expert Dr. Sandra Paulsen shares an insider's perspective, clinical experience and research findings that will help you develop trauma processing skills from EMDR and other modalities. From a neurodivergent viewpoint, you will discover key considerations and learn strategies that enhance your therapy… such as:


  • Recognize the crucial connection between trauma and autism spectrum experiences 
  • Use EMDR to overcome core experiences of social rejection, judgements, and isolation
  • Step-by-step breakdown of each phase of EMDR so you can customize it for every unique client
  • Soothe nervous system dysregulation and help clients create a baseline of safety and regulation
  • Skills to navigate dissociation, silence in session and incorporate storytelling 

All with handouts, references and assessment instruments!

Join us and gain practical insights, expand your therapeutic toolkit, and learn how to provide trauma-informed care that supports the unique needs of clients on the autism spectrum! 

Program Information


  1. List six assessment methods for individuals on the spectrum.
  2. Outline the phenomenology of high functioning autism across eight constructs.
  3. Propose four ways therapists can attenuate the challenges of the work for HFA.
  4. List five changes to the eight phases of trauma processing to take HFA into account.


Neurodiverse & Neurobeautiful  

  • A different nervous system
  • Seeing gifts instead of pathology
  • Discover your client’s superpowers
  • Recognize high-functioning vs savant
  • Utilize screens, assessments and scales

Autism and the Brain  

  • Seemingly contradictory qualities of “high functioning”
  • Foundation of Pankseppian Affective Processing Theory
  • Dendritic branching and associative linkages
  • Developmental considerations and differences  
  • Impact of a less lateralized brain
  • Amygdala and the “deep brain”
  • Additional challenges related to trauma processing

The Phenomonology of High Functioning Autism

  • It all beings with Spoon Theory 
  • When the pot boils over… meltdowns, overload & shutdown
  • The constant challenge of self-regulation
  • Sensory protectiveness & stimming for self-regulation
  • Understand “monotropism” & the problem of interruption
  • Silence in the DSM: Somatic Features 
  • Masking and Adaptive Morphing 

The Eight Phases of EMDR & Other Trauma Processing 

  • The Common Trauma Loop
  • Overcome the “chicken vs the egg”
  • Core narratives from social rejection
  • Steps to connect and build rapport sensitively
  • Considerations & adaptations for EMDR phase
  • Overcome common challenges to using EMDR with HFA
  • How to incorporate storytelling
  • Diverse assessments and scales
  • What to do when dissociation is present
  • Being patient – allowing for silence with delayed processing
  • Considerations for working with children
  • Use body scans effectively and appropriately
  • Closure and follow-up, how it’s different 

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Case Managers
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Therapists
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Psych Nurses
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

Copyright : 07/07/2023

Adults with High-Functioning Autism and Comorbid Mental Disorders: Motivational Interviewing Tools and Techniques to Enhance the Treatment of Anxiety and Depression

Rates of Autism disorder diagnoses have exploded in the last 2 decades. Along with others on the spectrum, high-functioning individuals are at a vastly elevated risk for experiencing anxiety, depression and other mental health problems.

But when these clients come to your office, the lack of intrinsic motivation, difficulty identifying emotions, and resistance to change found in so many individuals on the spectrum can leave you feeling frustrated, ineffective and perpetually stuck at square one in therapy.

How can you ensure you’re prepared to work with this growing population and overcome the treatment obstacles that can impede the therapy they desperately

Sean Inderbitzen, is an advanced practice social worker and MINT trainer who is also on the autism spectrum. Watch him for a critical one-day training on how you can use Motivational Interviewing to help clients with HFA more fully engage in treatment and find the drive they need to improve their lives!

Full of insights on how MI can be used most effectively from the perspective of both a clinician and a person with autism, Sean will show you:

  • How to identify symptoms of anxiety and depression that can differ in adults with ASD
  • Ways to overcome black and white thinking patterns that can stall therapy
  • Strategies to address ruminations and build emotional vocabulary
  • Techniques that help clients on the spectrum identify reasons for change and build motivation for treatment
  • Exercises to keep the momentum of the conversation toward change in depression and anxiety treatment

Whether you already work with HFA clients, or want to ensure you’re prepared to, this program will give you the tools you need to achieve more positive outcomes for HFA clients!

Purchase today!

Program Information


  1. Investigate research on the impact of using person-centered strategies with ASD patients.
  2. Analyze how symptoms of anxiety and depression can present in adults with ASD.
  3. Apply strategies to help clients with difficulties recognizing emotions develop a more complete spectrum of emotions.
  4. Investigate the relationship between pragmatic language skills, motivation and depressive symptoms.
  5. Employ MI exercises to help clients recognize polarized thoughts and increase doubt in black and white thinking patterns that can impede treatment.
  6. Prepare treatment plans that include MI strategies to help clients identify reasons for change and build motivation for treatment.


Resistance to Change in Adults with High-Functioning Autism

  • How is High Functioning Autism defined?
  • Executive functioning deficits and ways to measure
  • Matching developmental freedom and personal autonomy
  • Research on person-centered strategies with ASD patients
  • Feedback informed treatment and the Spirit of Motivational Interviewing
The Core Skills of MI:
Person-Centered Strategies and Skills to Stimulate Change
  • Improve rapport by recognizing autonomy
  • Review of OARS
  • Evoke confidence in clients to try social experiments
  • How to decrease sustain talk in clients who don’t think they can change
  • Strategies to cultivate change talk for motivation
Black and White Thinking Patterns in Adults with HFA:
MI Solutions to Overcome One of the Biggest Treatment Roadblocks
  • HFA clients and difficultly recognizing emotion in themselves and others
  • Integrate somatic experience as a core organizer for emotional experience
  • Tools to develop a spectrum experience of emotions
  • How to address binary-based ruminations through building vocabulary
  • Exercises to help clients recognize polarized thoughts
  • CBT visualization adaptations to connect with concrete thinking patterns
  • Use discord to increase doubt in black and white thinking patterns
Depressive Symptoms in Adults with ASD:
Improve Treatment Response with MI Strategies
  • How symptoms in adults with ASD present
  • Features in adults with ASD that affect how they think
  • The relationship between pragmatic language skills, motivation and depressive symptoms
  • MI strategies to help clients identify reasons for change and build motivation for treatment
  • MI interventions for responding to change talk for depressive behaviors
Integrate MI into Anxiety Treatment:
Techniques for Enhanced Engagement in Adult Clients with HFA
  • Adult presentations of anxiety and HFA
  • Building rapport with anxious HFA clients
  • Sustain talk and ruminations in HFA clients – examples
  • MI interventions that help clients work with and overcome sustain talk
  • Out of the woods exercise to keep the momentum of the conversation toward change
  • MI research and treatment risks and limitations

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Case Managers
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Therapists
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

Copyright : 06/21/2021

Autism Intervention Using a Trauma-Informed Lens: Creating a Foundation of Safety & Trust to Promote Self Awareness & Problem Solving

Since the Covid-19 Pandemic began, children across the country and the world have experienced significant changes within their homes, schools, and communities. Interactions with family members, teachers, therapists have suddenly shifted, and become unfamiliar, resulting in less productive opportunities for learning and growth.

Children with autism are especially vulnerable to negative impacts, as they work to process complex emotions and implement successful coping strategies in their new environment. Through the development of a trusting relationship, children with autism can begin to gain the co-regulation skills necessary to develop self-awareness, and ultimately empower independent problem-solving and self-monitoring skills. The initial development of trust and positive regard within a relationship is crucial when supporting emotional advocacy and communication skills.

Program Information


  1. Choose the trauma-informed lens as an approach to supporting growth areas for children with autism. 
  2. Determine critical elements for building a safe therapeutic and educational environment when working with children with autism.  
  3. Implement a variety of strategies to support self-awareness, emotional advocacy, and problem solving in children with autism.  


  • Trauma-Informed Practice: Brief Overview 
    • Trauma Response/Window of Tolerance 
    • Emotional regulation and school impact 
    • Academic and cognitive impact 
  • Background on the Critical Challenge Areas of Autism 
    • Trauma impacts and autism growth areas: similarities 
    • Child development and learning joint attention 
    • Breaking down executive function 
  • Creating a Foundation of Safety and Trust 
    • Setting up for success: expectations  
    • Motivation: Avoiding the trap of a relationship based on reinforcement 
    • Making Demands vs Using Declarative Language  
    • The power of being vulnerable: Making mistakes in a safe space 
  • Problem Solving and Resilience Strategies 
    • Opportunities for new learning: Small steps 
    • Effective implementation of visuals:  
      • Emotional Vocabulary (Color Palette) 
      • Emotional Thermometer 
      • Self-Monitoring Scales 
      • Cause and Effect Relationships: Problem Solving Pathways (SOCC Table) 
    • Collaborative communication with families  

Target Audience

  • Speech-Language Pathologists 
  • Occupational Therapists 
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants 
  • SPED/GENED Teachers 
  • School Administrators 
  • School-Based Personnel 
  • Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors 
  • Social Workers 
  • Psychologists 
  • Case Managers 

Copyright : 03/09/2021