Title

A Phenomenological Investigation of Counselor Competencies Treating Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Conference Strand

Research and Theory

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects 1% of the world’s population; however, the counseling field has not identified the counseling competencies needed to treat ASD. This presentation will provide an overview of the phenomenological inquiry that investigated the self-perceived competencies of treating ASD and how they will prove essential to enhance counselor training, practice, and standards. Implications will be discussed.

Description

Counselors are gradually recognizing persons with disabilities as a population we must serve (Smart & Smart, 2006) and be competent in serving (Thomas et al., 2011). In particular, the developmental disability, ASD, is a diagnosis that is on the rise (CDC; 2015a) and many counselors across disciplines will see in practice. Accordingly, counseling professionals must demonstrate competencies when working with ASD. Yet, the counseling profession has not recognized the counseling competencies needed to counsel individuals diagnosed with ASD. Thus, this presentation will outline the phenomenological study that investigated the counseling competencies needed to treat ASD. The presenter explored the self-perceived competencies related to counseling professionals’ self-awareness, knowledge, and skills needed to treat children on the spectrum. The presenter pulled from empirically-based multicultural counseling competencies (MCC; Sue, Arrendondo, McDavis, 1992) to drive the current study and tie these standards to counselors’ self-perceived competencies working with ASD. Implications for counselor educators, supervisors, scholars, and counselors will be presented.

Objective 1: Attendees will be informed on latest and only research study that investigated the counseling competencies needed to treat children with ASD. The literature review, rationale, and methodology of the research study will be outlined for the participants. Attendees will have a secure informational foundation to mindfully address and assess the qualitative inquiry and how to challenge their own competencies when working with ASD.

Objective 2: The primary focus will be to educate professional counselors and educators on the counseling competencies needed to treat children on the spectrum. More specifically, how to mindfully incorporate this information into practice.

Objective 3: Upon completion of the presentation, attendees will obtain and demonstrate a greater understanding of the competencies, the roles counselors can play when working with ASD, and how the established counseling competencies can aid counselors, supervisors and counselor educators in practice.

Evidence

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Format

Individual Presentations

Biographical Sketch

Katherine A. Feather is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and a doctoral candidate in the Counselor Education & Supervision program at the University of South Carolina. The presenter has an extensive history working with children and families with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and has published and presented on this topic at the regional, national, and international level. Katherine is currently the mental health counselor at the SC Commission for the Blind in the adjustment to blindness program where she assists adults in adjusting to their visual disability. Her research interests ASD, school-to-career transition of students with disabilities, and psychosocial adjustment and family adaptation to a disability.

Location

Room 218/220

Start Date

2-17-2017 1:00 PM

End Date

2-17-2017 2:15 PM

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Feb 17th, 1:00 PM Feb 17th, 2:15 PM

A Phenomenological Investigation of Counselor Competencies Treating Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Room 218/220

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects 1% of the world’s population; however, the counseling field has not identified the counseling competencies needed to treat ASD. This presentation will provide an overview of the phenomenological inquiry that investigated the self-perceived competencies of treating ASD and how they will prove essential to enhance counselor training, practice, and standards. Implications will be discussed.