The Cool Kids Autism Spectrum Program is a series of 10 psychoeducational sessions developed to assist children and teenagers on the autism spectrum in handling anxiety.
Originating from Macquarie University in Australia, the program is structured individually. It comes in two versions: Cool Kids Autism Spectrum for children and Chilled Autism Spectrum for pre-teens and teenagers. Both versions aim to support young people with autism who primarily struggle with anxiety that affects their everyday lives.
The Cool Kids and Chilled programs employ a cognitive behavioural approach, emphasizing the development of anxiety management skills in day-to-day scenarios, which include:
Families are provided with relevant information on the topic discussed in each session. They can participate in dialogues, games, and role-plays to learn and apply new skills in real-life contexts. Practice tasks, which are vital program components, are assigned after every session.
The program’s primary focus is anxiety management; it does not provide social skills training or target emotion regulation for other emotional or behavioral issues.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO JOIN?
The Cool Kids & Chilled Autism programs are tailored for children and teenagers with an official autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. The program’s written content and concepts necessitate a literacy level equivalent to the third grade.
Children with suicidal tendencies, self-harming behaviours, or who have been avoiding school for over two weeks require additional screening due to the intricacies of these circumstances. These criteria ensure the program is extended to those most likely to benefit.
Individual sessions start with 1-2 assessment sessions, then discuss a treatment plan that will optimally serve your child and the objectives you define during the assessment. A comprehensive assessment will ascertain if the Cool Kids or Chilled Autism Spectrum group program would benefit your child. The assessment is a two-step process:
By dividing the assessment into two phases, we can ensure the likelihood of a Cool Kids or Chilled group being suitable before the young person starts treatment. This enables us to offer an early referral or propose an individual approach if the group is likely not the best fit.
Upon completing the assessment, we will discuss recommendations with families, which may include the Cool Kids or Chilled Autism group program if it is suitable for your child.
Chris de Feijter is accredited by Macquarie University’s Centre for Emotional Health to use the Cool Kids Anxiety Program. The intellectual property rights, including copyright, in the Program are owned by Macquarie University. Macquarie University does not endorse any particular provider of the program and their other services.
I strongly believe that no one should be pressured to decide whether or not they want to work with a therapist before meeting them. I will see you (and your child) at no charge to make sure we are a good fit for each other. Every therapist works in their own unique way so I want you to be certain you feel comfortable with the way I work. The initial meeting is not a therapy session; it’s designed to be low-key and low-pressure with no “hard sell” at the end.