With a specialization in developmental disabilities, I also maintain a practice of typically developing children and adults.  By doing this I incorporate diversity into my practice and it also helps me stay connected with the course of typical development, which is very important when working with children and adults who have developmental delays.  In general, I use an insight-oriented approach and I understand psychological development from a psychodynamic perspective.  The approach I use is strictly based on the client’s needs.  Some clients need a more concrete or cognitive approach to learning about themselves.  Others can grow and develop a more satisfied outlook about themselves by identifying ineffective patterns of interacting with the world, and learning/practicing new patterns. 

Intervention approaches:  Autism Spectrum Disorders

In my work with children and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), I use a variety of approaches known to be effective, and individualize my approach based on the client’s needs.  I also have at my disposal a uniquely creative perspective on how to approach common challenges in the home and in the community.  Some of the approaches I commonly employ include: 

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) (modified for each client’s needs)

  • Social Stories™ (Carol Gray, 1998)

  • Emotional Toolbox (Tony Attwood, 2007)

  • Relationship-based therapies

  • Behavior Therapy

  • Comic Strip Conversations (Carol Gray, 1994)

  • Relaxation training and meditation

  • Role Playing

  • Psycho-education: identifying emotions, self-awareness, awareness of others, self-management

  • Visual schedules/charts

  • Visual representation of abstract concepts

  • Bibliotherapy

  • Video modeling

I consider working with parents of individuals with ASD as integral to the work I do.  If I can help parents integrate some of these techniques, they will be able to more effectively and consistently work with and understand their child.  In this way, parents are co-therapists in the work I do with their child, even if their child is an adolescent or young adult. 

Finally, whenever necessary I collaborate with and refer clients to a group of excellent professionals who specialize in speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, psychiatry, educational therapy, and more.  By creating a team approach in working with clients I insure that all of the client’s needs are being addressed so that progress occurs in all areas of development. 

sarita freedman cal state northridge

In collaboration with the Mitchell Family Counseling Center and the Family Focus Research Center at California State University Northridge, and the Ed Asner Family Center, Dr. Freedman will be providing training and supervision to Marriage & Family Therapy students who want to work with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). This collaboration to offer training in ASD for future mental health providers is groundbreaking and puts CSUN AND the Ed Asner Family Center on the cutting edge of mental health training. The students who participate in this program will be well-prepared to include individuals of all ages with ASD and their families, in their future practices.