Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy is a structured and systematic approach to reduce the intensity, frequency and/or duration of challenging behaviors and increase the use of critical adaptive behaviors for those individuals who have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Challenging behaviors can include, but are not limited to aggression, property destruction, self-injury (scratching, biting, head-banging), and self-stimulatory behavior which may be repetitive and ritualistic (rocking, pacing, jumping up and down, gazing, lining up objects). Critical adaptive behaviors include, but may not be limited to functional communication skills (e.g., asking for a “break,” pointing to a picture of a desired item or activity), pro-social behavior (e.g., cooperative play, staying on task), completing activities of daily living, eating, and toilet training.

CBT works to solve current problems and change unhelpful thinking and behavior by focusing on challenging and changing unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes, and by improving emotional regulation, and developing personal coping strategies that target solving current problems. CBT is a “problem-focused” and “action-oriented” form of therapy, meaning it is used to treat specific problems related to a diagnosed mental disorder.
DBT helps a person identify their strengths and build on them so that they can feel better about themselves and their life. DBT helps identify thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions that make life and to learn different ways of thinking that will make life more bearable. DBT requires constant attention to relationships, as individuals are encouraged to work through problems in their relationships.
EMDR enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences, intending to reduce the long-lasting effects of distressing memories by developing more adaptive coping mechanisms. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.
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CPT is a specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy that has been effective in helping individuals learn how to challenge and modify unhelpful beliefs related to the trauma. In so doing, they create a new understanding and conceptualization of the traumatic event so that it reduces its ongoing negative effects on their life.

Experiential therapy is a category, rather than one specific type of therapy. Examples of experiential therapy include recreation therapy, equine therapy, expressive arts therapy, music therapy, wilderness therapy, adventure therapy, and psychodrama. Individuals will experience successes, identify obstacles, develop improved self-esteem, and take greater responsibility for their actions. Clients will have the opportunity to process the activity and receive specific feedback regarding specific actions or behaviors.
One of the most powerful ways to predict psychological well-being in adults is to look at how socially connected they are to other people; which is one of the core issues affecting those with Autism Spectrum Disorder who often experience social isolation. Remaining socially integrated is, in our view, a key component of successful living. Through modeling, active training, repetition and variable reinforcement schedules, along with cognitive processing and psychiatric interventions, we develop the maximum potential for social integration in everyone. By targeted individual coaching, we develop increasingly better social skills. With repetition of improved social skills comes decreased social anxiety and increased success at the activities. With increased success comes participation in family life and integration into society, culminating in better social functioning, and perhaps more importantly, an improved sense of dignity and enjoyment of life.

Autism Care & Support utilizes our unique adaptation of the Social Integration Model™ to help normalize behaviors of our clients. The philosophical goal is to assist each person in achieving maximum social functioning so that they socially integrate into their families and society at large and can enjoy those benefits of ‘belonging and participating’.

Collaborative problem solving is the capacity of an individual to effectively engage in a process whereby two or more agents attempt to solve a problem by sharing the understanding and effort required to come to a solution and pooling their knowledge, skills and efforts to reach that solution. Competency is assessed by how well the individual interacts with agents during the course of problem solving. This includes achieving a shared understanding of the goals and activities, as well as efforts to pool resources and solve the problem. The framework also identifies four problem solving processes: exploring and understanding, representing and formulating, planning and executing, and monitoring and reflecting.

Motivational interviewing is a counseling method that helps people resolve ambivalent feelings and insecurities to find the internal motivation they need to change their behavior. It is a practical, empathetic, and short-term process that takes into consideration how difficult it is to make life changes.
This intervention helps people become motivated to change the behaviors that are preventing them from making healthier choices. It can also prepare individuals for further, more specific types of therapies. Research has shown that this intervention works well with individuals who start off unmotivated or unprepared for change. It is less useful for those who are already motivated to change. Motivational interviewing is also appropriate for people who experience challenges with emotional management and regulation. They may not be ready to commit to change, but motivational interviewing can help them move through the emotional stages of change necessary to find their motivation.

Through both yoga and meditation, individuals practice a discipline of self-soothing and centering of thoughts. Mindfulness activities allow individuals to achieve methods to overcome cravings and triggers.

Individual therapy is a process of self-exploration and understanding in a safe environment so individuals can better understand and examine various aspects of their life and learn how to build new and healthier relationships.

A foundational element of Autism Care & Support at Smoky Mountain Lodge is the interaction with animals and nature, naturally bringing people together. Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) helps improve trust, communication, confidence, boundaries, impulse control, management of emotions, focus and attention, relationship-building, empathy, and self-control. All animal activities are conducted by PATH Accredited professionals who have incorporated animals as part of their specialty or by another staff member under their supervision.
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Expanding social skills beyond college and incorporating job-related activities into healthy relationship development is a unique and creative aspect of our skill development programming. A crucial part of developing a successful program of this kind is rooted in collaborating with community members who can help with jobs or volunteer opportunities as clients progress through the program.

Additionally, family work is an integral part of an individual’s success in our program. Therapists arrange family sessions twice monthly, offering daytime, evening, and some weekend hours. Family members can access resources and support through monthly psycho-education groups and training. Additional education and support opportunities include monthly parent training opportunities, an annual family retreat, and networking with the National Autism Center.

For more information, contact us today at 877.845.5235

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