EP 55: Addressing Autism: Jennifer Morgan, LPC, ACAS, AAC.

Today’s conversation is all about navigating autism and mental health, and joining me to share her knowledge on the topic is Jennifer Morgan; Licensed Professional Counselor, Animal Assisted Counselor, Advanced Certified Autism Specialist, and owner of Morgan’s Helping Hands LLC. Jennifer is post-modern trained, and her approach is one which combines narrative, collaborative, and cognitive behavioral forms of therapy. In this episode, we discuss examples of what her therapy sessions can look like, some of the key indicators of ASD, how ASD generally presents itself differently in men and women, and the ways in which sensory processing difficulties can play out as mental health disorders. Jennifer and her animal sidekick, Jettabug, work with their clients’ strengths in order to empower them and assist them in finding solutions to the challenges that they are facing. Whether you are on the spectrum or not, we hope this episode makes you feel empowered too! 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • An introduction to Jennifer and Jettabug, the animal assistant that works alongside her.
  • Jennifer shares some of the key signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
  • Why Jennifer is opposed to categorizing people with ASD as ‘high functioning’ or ‘low functioning.’
  • The experience which sparked Jennifer’s interest in sensory processing.
  • Examples of how ASD looks different in women and in men.
  • Pathways that can and cannot be used to get an ASD diagnosis.
  • Relief that many people feel when they are diagnosed with ASD later in life.
  • Valuable advice to parents of children with ASD who appear to be acting defiantly.
  • Approaches to dealing with a child with ASD who is having a meltdown.
  • The major difference between ASD and Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD).
  • How sensory processing issues are linked to some of the other mental health disorders that often accompany ASD.
  • Why Jennifer combines narrative, collaborative and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approaches in her social skills sessions with children with ASD.
  • Examples of themes that Jennifer creates for her sessions, and the value of these.
  • Jennifer’s main goal as a therapist for children with ASD.
  • How Jennifer works with her patients’ strengths. 
  • Recommendations for assisting people with ASD who are wanting to hurt themselves.
  • An overview of Jennifer’s new GROWTH Program.
  • Jennifer’s message of hope.


Tweetables:

“[A diagnosis] provides a level of empowerment.” — Jennifer Morgan [0:17:40]

“In the midst of a meltdown, a lot of times it’s about making sure they stay safe and making sure you’re safe.” — Jennifer Morgan [0:22:17]

“Everybody gets mad, it’s what we do with our feelings that’s the important thing.” — Jennifer Morgan [0:26:59]

“I don’t want to change anything about them, their brains are amazing, I love the way they think. I want to make sure that they can use the right words.” — Jennifer Morgan [0:36:18]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Morgan’s Helping Hands

Morgan’s Helping Hands LLC on Facebook

Jettabug Therapy on Instagram

Sharpen Recovery

Sharpen Recovery on Facebook

Sharpen Recovery on Instagram

Mosaics of Mercy

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