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Demystifying the Less Obvious Presentations of Autism

Demystifying the Less Than Obvious Presentations of Autism When: Friday, May 6  2022 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pmBCASP Members: $55Non-Members: $80Dr. Donna Henderson has been a clinical psychologist for over 30 years. She earned her doctoral degree from the School of Professional Psychology at Wright State University and subsequently worked as a staff neuropsychologist and then director of acquired brain injury at the Gaylord Hospital in Connecticut. Dr. Henderson joined The Stixrud Group in 2011, specializing in neuropsychological evaluations for individuals with cognitive, academic, social, and/or emotional challenges, with a particular interest in autism. Dr. Henderson is a frequent lecturer on the less obvious presentations of autism, on autistic girls and women, and on parenting children with complex profiles. She also enjoys assisting other healthcare professionals through case consultation. Over the past 20 years the prevalence of autism has risen from 1 in 150 to 1 in 44. This is due in part to our more sophisticated understanding of verbal individuals with a less obvious presentation of autism. Still, boys and men continue to be diagnosed far more frequently than girls and women (approximately 4:1). It has always been assumed that the prevalence of autistic boys is naturally greater than girls, but recent research demonstrates that many autistic females are being misdiagnosed or missed entirely. In the past ten years, there has been a burst of research on autistic girls and women, particularly those with average to above average intellectual functioning, and it has become clear that they can present differently from their male counterparts in many ways. Moreover, research demonstrates that these girls and women are highly vulnerable to multiple co-occurring challenges, such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and victimization. While this less obvious presentation of autism seems to be most common in females, it can also apply to clients throughout the gender spectrum. Receiving a proper diagnosis can be life changing for this population, so it is essential that all clinicians are updated on the ways to recognize all presentations of autism.This workshop will provide that clarity:Describe characteristics of individuals with a less obvious presentation of autism.Identify ways that autistic females can present differently from autistic males.Identify components of an effective social cognition assessment. BCASP Virtual Workshop 2022 BCASP Members Registration Non-Members Registration

2022-04-07T11:09:44-04:00April 7th, 2022|Categories: Blog Post|Tags: |

COVID-19 Company Update

The Stixrud Group: COVID-19 Update We have been open for in-person, face-to-face evaluations since June, 2020! As of February 12, every employee of the Stixrud Group has received both doses of the Covid vaccine! Our testing model: The majority of our clinicians are using a hybrid model of in-person testing and tele-health interviews and feedback sessions for most clients. This allows us to decrease in-person interaction. Covid-19 precautions in the office: The Stixrud Group follows guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We begin each day by staggering the arrival of our in-person clients, to minimize exposure between families. We will ask you to call the front desk when you park, and you will be instructed to come up to the office or, possibly, to wait a few minutes. Parents of very young children, or clients who need extra help, are usually able to stay in our (spacious) waiting room, but we ask all other parents to find another place to wait so that we are not overcrowded. When you arrive, your clinician will take the client’s temperature, as well as his/her own, and screen for COVID-19 symptoms. Every office has been arranged so that the psychologist or psychology associate and the client are sitting at least 6 feet apart for the majority of the testing, there is a plexiglass barrier on every desk, and every room has at least one HEPA-certified air filtering machine. Finally, all employees, clients, and families are required to wear masks at all times, including in the waiting room.

2021-06-16T21:51:36-04:00February 25th, 2021|Categories: Blog Post, News|

Surface Dyslexia: Another Form of Context Blindness in Autism?

- Sarah Wayland Author: Donna Henderson, Psy. D Poor awareness of the sounds of language or a lack of understanding of the spelling-sound correspondence is the cause of the most common type of dyslexia. People with this type of dyslexia will make spelling errors that do not make phonetic sense (such as spelling “desk” as deks or “with” as weth). In contrast, I have noticed that some of the children I work with have an unusual pattern of spelling errors. These kids seem to understand which letters go with which sounds, but they actually over-rely on the letter-sound correlation. For example, they might spell the word “garbage” as garbij or the word “wiggle” as wigul. To understand these different types of errors, it’s important to first understand how children learn to read as well as what typical dyslexia looks like. It all starts with the phoneme. A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound, and there are 44 phonemes in the English language. In the word “cat”, for instance, there are three phonemes (/k/ – /æ/– /t/). Both speaking and reading rely on being able to identify, distinguish, blend, and manipulate these phonemes. Good readers know that specific written letters are associated with particular sounds (the phonemes) and that the sounds (and thus the letters) must be in the proper order. Beginning readers and writers must use the phonological form of the word to determine how say or spell it. However, the English writing system does not necessarily observe a one-to-one correspondence between letters and sounds.  For example, if we see the letter “k” we associate it with the /k/ sound, but if we see the letter in a certain context (knife), we know that the sequence of letters will alter the sound of that particular “k”.  Likewise, the letter “c” can be pronounced as /s/ or /k/ (as in “concise”), depending on the word’s origin and the letters that surround it. Knowing the rules that govern a letter’s pronunciation can make decoding words much easier. There are many of these irregular words, such as “laugh” and “neighbor.” These words cannot be sounded out; to read or spell them, the reader must either be able to recognize the word automatically from memory (a sight word) or know how to apply the unique reading and spelling rules. The spelling rules of English can be difficult to learn, as there can be many ways to spell the same sound. The phonological awareness skills (to sound out regular words) coupled with a knowledge of the spelling rules of English (to cope with irregular words) are both necessary for fluent reading and writing. Good spellers must know the spelling rules of English in addition to having good phonological awareness. In the most common type of dyslexia, phonological dyslexia, people do not have adequate phonological skills, so they have difficulty sounding out or spelling even regular words. Other students, however, may have adequate phonological skills but fail to fluently use [...]

2019-03-13T21:42:49-04:00March 13th, 2019|Categories: Blog Post|Tags: , , |

Are We Ready for College?

A clinical neuropsychologist since 1992, Dr. Henderson works with students from age seven through young adults. She is experienced with attention and learning disorders as well as social and emotional challenges that can affect a student both at home and at school. View Profile NEW EVENT!Location:Our Lady of Good Counsel High School17301 Old Vic Blvd, Olney, MD 20832Olney, MarylandTime: 7:00 pmNotes: Open to the public, free of charge  

2017-12-03T15:12:12-05:00December 3rd, 2017|Categories: Events, Lectures|Tags: |

APA Annual Convention | Denver, CO

For the past 20 years, Dr. Stixrud has been extensively involved in the training and supervision of psychologists and learning specialists. View Profile If you are attending the annual convention of the American Psychological Association in Denver this week, Dr. Mapou will be presenting an all-day workshop, “Evidence-Based Assessment of Learning Disabilities and ADHD in Older Adolescents and Adults” on Saturday August 6. To enroll, go to: http://www.apa.org/convention/ce/index.aspx Robb Mapou, Ph.D., ABPP Director, Adult Neuropsychology The Stixrud Group, Silver Spring, MD E-mail: rmapou@stixrud.com Web: https://stixrud.com/professional-staff/dr-robb-mapou/

2017-12-03T21:13:49-05:00November 29th, 2017|Categories: Events, Lectures|Tags: |

Transcendental Meditation as a Treatment for PTSD

For the past 20 years, Dr. Stixrud has been extensively involved in the training and supervision of psychologists and learning specialists. View Profile When: September 20, 2016 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Where: Aberdeen Proving Grounds, 4727 Deer Creek Loop, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21005 (not open to the public)

2017-11-29T00:58:45-05:00November 29th, 2017|Categories: Lectures|Tags: |

Helping Children Feel Empowered – Dr. Susan Hammond

SEE FULL CV shfour@aol.com VM: 2005 RECENT PUBLICATIONS A month ago I attended a weekend reunion of the summer camp I went to for six years, celebrating the 70th anniversary of the camp. The women there ranged in age from around 80 down to 19. As we spoke of our years at camp, I was struck by a common theme: the development of self-confidence and empowerment that comes from overcoming real challenges and contributing to a vital community. Through summer camp, these women had learned as children and adolescents that they could be successful in ways they never imagined – whether through camping in a rainstorm, swimming the circumference of a Vermont lake, or building a cabin from scratch. They took that confidence with them through their lives at school, at work, in their families, and in their communities. When I evaluate children with learning, behavioral, or emotional challenges (and when I parent my own children), I wonder how they will gain a sense of empowerment and success that can carry them through hard times. I often find that children who learn differently come to the worst possible conclusions about themselves: that they are not capable, that their peers are smarter or better than they are, or that they will never succeed in life. It is critical for these kids that they be given opportunities to feel competent, so that they can gain self-confidence. While a summer roughing it at camp is wonderful, not every child can have that experience. But there are many ways parents can give their children opportunities to feel competent and valuable. In the family, kids can help with younger siblings, with household chores, or with pets. In school, they can assist the teacher with classroom tasks or work with younger children. The key to empowerment is to find tasks which are truly useful, not just make-work, and give children the opportunity to succeed at them. It is also important to prioritize activities in which children excel. Parents easily can become overwhelmed by their children’s needs – for therapies, tutoring, and even down-time. But kids also need to spend time pursuing their interests, passions, or just having fun. Success on the soccer field, in scouts, or in music can give them the crucial confidence that keeps them going when things are hard. I still remember my first overnight hike at camp. It rained, and rained, and rained. But when we got back to camp we were singing!

2017-12-03T22:22:36-05:00April 1st, 2015|Categories: Blog Post|Tags: |

Ten Important Things to Know about Parenting Your Elementary School Child

For the past 20 years, Dr. Stixrud has been extensively involved in the training and supervision of psychologists and learning specialists. View Profile NEW EVENT! What: Ten Important Things to Know about Parenting Your Elementary School Child When: April 14, 2015;  7:00 pm Where: Brooke Grove Elementary School Notes: Open to the public

2017-12-03T21:37:35-05:00April 1st, 2015|Categories: Events, Lectures|Tags: |

Stress, Self-Propelled Motivation and the Adolescent Brain

For the past 20 years, Dr. Stixrud has been extensively involved in the training and supervision of psychologists and learning specialists. View Profile NEW EVENT! What: Stress, Self-Propelled Motivation and the Adolescent Brain When: April 16, 2015;  7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Where: Whitman High School Speaker: William Stixrud and Ned Johnson Notes: Open to the public

2017-12-02T14:58:50-05:00April 1st, 2015|Categories: Lectures|Tags: , |