Many programs that treat emotional and behavioral disorders will not accept students with high-functioning autism-spectrum disorders like Aspergerâ€™s Syndrome, referring those students instead to programs that deal exclusively with neurobiological issues. This effectively segregates young people with autism-spectrum disorders from other populations. â€œI think that in many cases, this is a mistakeâ€¦a missed opportunity,â€ says Utah-based psychotherapist, David Prior, LMFT. â€œMy preference is to judiciously mix different populations in a treatment setting so that patients are challenged to learn new styles of interacting with different kinds of people. This is especially true with spectrum disorders.â€
While more severe forms of ASD require specialized care, many children and teens with Aspergerâ€™s disorder find themselves in mainstream settings and/or more broad-based treatment programs. This approach increases the young personâ€™s access to normalized social situations in which they can learn better social skills experientially through contact with a more diverse peer population.