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The Social Learning Studio

Dynamic Social Skills group Programs, Counselling, PD and Workshops

Kevin O’Neill completed his degree in Psychology and Diploma of Education at La Trobe University, and commenced work as a Secondary School Teacher with the Department of Education.  Whilst working with the Department, he completed his Diploma of Applied Child Psychology and continued working with the Department as an Educational Psychologist.  Concurrently, Kevin completed mediation training and since then has worked as a mediator and conciliator for twenty years, recently completing his Masters in Conflict Resolution in 2008. Kevin is a member of the Australian Psychological Society.
ASD Diagnosis for Adolescents and Adults 

Many adults and adolescents recognize that they have had difficulty socialising with their peers and have always felt different from the crowd.  Sometimes a television show or film on Autism Spectrum Disorder attracts attention, searching the internet might provide some clues, or a family member or medical provider suggests that the person may wish to seek help. 
 
Kevin uses selected diagnostic tools, interview and observation to form a diagnosis.  This process can be revealing and reassuring for the client, helping the person to understand who they are, their challenges and skills, as well as opening doors to for further assistance and support.  This help can then be accessed through the Social Learning Studio, support groups and government agencies.
My child has been diagnosed with an ASD.  
What now?

Kevin O’Neill is a psychologist and father of four young children, two of which, a son and a daughter, have an Asperger’s diagnosis.  Kevin offers a service to families who have recently had a child diagnosed to discuss the condition, deal with the emotions involved and consider the local supports available for their child.  It is also possible to include other family members, such as siblings, grandparents etc, in the program. 
Having a child with an ASD diagnosis presents challenges for parents.  Often the couple struggle to understand and accept the diagnosis and have concerns over their child’s behaviours.  It is common for the parents to be concerned about their child’s education, possible isolation, sibling issues and whether the child will become an independent adult. These concerns can put a strain on a relationship, particularly if the respective partners have a different understanding of ASD or dissimilar behaviour management styles. 
 
Kevin uses a mediated couples therapy approach to help the partners to outline their issues, explore differences, develop options, negotiate and set agreed goals.  This process can take three to four sessions, leaving scope for a further one to two future sessions to assess progress and revise agreed goals.
Relationship Counselling
When one partner has an ASD diagnosis
Many adults with Asperger's Syndrome have either gone through life undiagnosed or have only recently sought and received a diagnosis.  They have often felt different, experienced difficulties in the school or work environment and find many social situations uncomfortable.  However, many adults with Asperger's Syndrome have formed relationships and perhaps have children of their own but either recognise for themselves, or are advised by their partner, that they are on different wave lengths.   
 
Kevin O'Neill provides sessions on understanding ASD, how having an ASD partner may impact upon a relationship using a mediated approach that is structured and visual.  Kevin then assists the partners from seemingly different worlds to coexist more harmoniously and successfully. 

ASD Counselling for Adolescents and Adults
Many ASD adolescents and adults struggle with anxiety, making friendships, forming relationships, coping with school, obtaining and maintaining employment.  Kevin uses a cognitive behavioural therapy approach to assist his clients to make sense of the world and how to adapt to engage in a world that sometimes seems daunting, confusing and unpredictable.