1st Edition

Improving Mental Health Therapies for Autistic Children and Young People Promoting Self-agency, Curiosity and Collaboration

    298 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    298 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This unique, collaborative book, featuring contributions from autistic and non-autistic experts, presents cutting-edge thinking on mental health and service transformation in relation to autistic children and young people (CYP) and their families.

    Investigating how to implement collaborative approaches to supporting autistic CYP's mental health, the book considers ways for professionals to share power and co-design models of support, promoting self-agency and supportive environments for autistic acceptance and wellbeing. Each chapter includes reflections and vignettes from autistic CYP and allies, key questions and thinking points for readers to consider. The book also includes a link for an e-library with multimedia material with the top take aways for clinicians such as animations, flyers and recorded interviews.

    The book will be of immense interest to individuals working with autistic CYP and their families in mental health at any level.

    Section 1: Integrating autistic understanding for better delivery of evidence-based mental health interventions

    1. From disorder to difference: Shifting the narrative

    Amy Pearson

    2. Something needs to change: Making CAMHS accessible to autistic CYP and their families

    Ann Memmott

    3. The role of autistic agency in recovery from mental health illness

    Alexis Quinn and Suzy Rowland

    Section 2: Understanding autistic mental health 

    4. Uncertainty and stress in autistic CYP

    Ruth Moyse and Ellie Kollatsi

    5. Understanding low mood, shutdown, and burnout in autistic CYP

    Kieran Rose and Julia Avnon

    6. Autistic Informed Trauma Practice: Moving away from Trauma as a diagnostic label to understanding what has happened to a person

    Jon Adams

    Section 3: Autism and intersectionality

    7. Improving access to mental health services for CYP from minority ethnic communities

    Prithvi Perepa and Venessa Bobb- Swaby

    8. Gender, sexuality & autism in the therapy room

    Lucy Matthews

    Section 4: Working in partnership with autistic CYP and their families

    9. Working with parents and carers: An empathic Low Arousal approach to distressed behaviour

    Andrew McDonnell

    10. Working with siblings of autistic CYP

    Nikita K. Hayden and Clare Kassa

    11. Working with schools: A synergy approach

    Richard Mills

    Section 5: Developing curiosity in-service delivery and service transformation

    12. When the helping professions hurt - The need to build trust and make sense of each other in the therapy room

    Kieran Rose and Roslyn Law

    13. Supporting autistic children to thrive – It’s Everybody’s Business

    Mairi Evans

    14. Supervisors as agents of change

    Virginia Lumsden

    15. Working towards a Neuro-Diversity Informed Service for CYP

    Russell Hurn, Laura Crane, Maciej Matejko, Tiegan Boyens, Catherine Asta, Damian Milton and Georgia Pavlopoulou


    Georgia Pavlopoulou is Associate Professor at University College London, psychotherapist, Director and Co-strategic Lead of the NHS funded National Autism Trainer Programme at Anna Freud and founder of UCL's Group for Research in Relationships And Neurodiversity-GRRAND.

    Laura Crane is Professor of Autism Studies at the University of Birmingham, where she is Director of the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER).

    Russell Hurn is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist and Programme Director for the CYP IAPT Programme at Anna Freud. He specializes in trauma and is an EMDR consultant/supervisor.

    Damian Milton works part-time for the University of Kent as a Senior Lecturer in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

    'The Editors take a genuinely collaborative approach to an area within the autism field that is often both overlooked and misunderstood. With an autistic-affirmative vibe and deeply embedded in practice transformation, this book will be a valuable addition to any professional genuinely interested in the mental well-being of autistic children and young people.'

    Dr Luke Beardon, Senior Lecturer in Autism, University of Sheffield, UK

    'For mental health professionals that are dedicated to supporting autistic children and young people, this is a must-read handbook. With meticulous insight and a compassionate approach, it serves as an invaluable guide, offering practical strategies and nuanced understanding to enhance the therapeutic journey and positive outcomes for autistic individuals. This resource is an indispensable tool for both clinicians and supervisors committed to fostering mental wellbeing within the autistic community.'

    Freena Tailor, Anna Freud Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology and Programme Director for PG Cert Supervision/ PG Dip Senior Wellbeing Practitioner (SWP) University College London, London, UK

    'This book meets an outstanding need in improving care for autistic children, young people, and their families. It is a rare and desperately needed resource directly aimed at helping clinicians and practitioners working with autistic children and young people to move professionals away from a deficit-based therapeutic model to a partnership approach, with the voice of autistic people guiding this narrative alongside national experts. A hugely important book for all involved in children and young people’s service delivery.'

    Dr Lesley French, Consultant Clinical Psychologist & Head of Clinical Help, Anna Freud Schools Division, Honorary Lecturer, UCL, London, UK

    'A timely and invaluable publication which translates evidence-based mental health research into practical and accessible tools for parents and professionals to inclusively support the celebrated neurodiversity of mental health in autistic children and young people.'

    Dr Narad Mathura, MBBS, MSc, FRCPCH, Consultant Paediatrics & Child Health, Evelina London Children's Community Services, Guys & St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust 

    'In these times of rapid changes, it is crucial to get the best information available, so I can only encourage mental health professionals and, frankly anybody curious about autism today, to read this practical, comprehensive, neuroaffirmative and wonderfully documented book. Thank you!'

    Bernadette GrosjeanM.D. RET- Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association Associate Professor of Psychiatry, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, USA

    'This is an important book written truly in the spirit of co-production that it advocates, with valuable contributions from autistic and neurodiverse professionals and self- advocates. Although the book is written for therapists and other mental health professionals, I found it highly pertinent to my work in paediatric diagnostic services - which is perhaps where autistic and children and young people with other neurodivergencies  first encounter health and mental health professionals. Applying the principles covered in this book to the diagnostic process is a valuable opportunity to start these young people and their caregivers on an affirming journey of their diversity. The chapters are highly readable and full of pragmatic ideas that one could use to further enhance the diagnostic and post diagnostic process as a humane, holistic, therapeutic and affirming encounter. This includes ways to improve organizational culture and attitude, clinician competence, communication approaches, setting up the sensory environment and considering the experiences of the extended family (e.g. siblings and caregivers) with all their diversity (neurodiversity, cultural diversity, gender and sexual identify diversity etc.). A deeper understanding of these experiences allows diagnostic clinicians to advise, refer and signpost children, young people and their caregivers effectively.'

    Dr Ramzi Nasir, MD MPH Consultant Neurodevelopmental  Paediatrician, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust , London, UK

    'I thoroughly recommend this excellent book which brings together the perspectives of autistic and non-autistic experts in a highly readable and constructive way in considering the needs of autistic children, young people, and their families. It discounts the deficit model of autism and insists on a collaborative approach to all aspects of the relationships between autistic and non-autistic people. It also provides highly practical, clear advice about the day-to-day experiences of autistic children and their families so that the reader can see how theory translates into very helpful practice.'

    Dr Peter Fuggle, AMBIT Consultant and Clinical Director of Clinical Services, Anna Freud, London, UK

    'This magnificently written, breathtakingly comprehensive book is a milestone, offering solid theoretical grounding and practical approaches for making mental health care more accessible to autistic children and young people, while encouraging their autonomy and learning from their insights. The authors are on the front lines of a compassionate transformation in society's understanding of neurodivergent people that is both long overdue and desperately needed.'

    Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

    'There is a growing recognition that in order to be effective therapeutic interventions need to be adapted to meet the specific needs of autistic people. What is currently lacking is guidance for clinicians on how to achieve this in practice. Finally we have a book that fills this gap. It offers both rich theoretical underpinnings that explain why adaptations are required and practical advice on what changes are needed across different settings and therapeutic modalities. Voice of autistic people can be heard loud and clear throughout the text to ensure that authenticity and respect towards the autistic community remain central to any therapeutic work.'

    Dr Anna Rebowska, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

    'There is an urgent need to develop mental health work with autistic children and young people and their families: to make it more empowering, accessible, and effective. This treasure trove of insights, understandings, and practical guidance is a wonderful means of addressing that gap: developing evidence based practices that put the client- in all their complexity, agency, and humanity -at the heart of the work.'

    Mick Cooper, Professor of Counselling Psychology, University of Roehampton