Autism and Counseling: An Interview with Dr. Lakesha Roney, LPC

To continue with Counseling Awareness Month, I was excited to interview Dr. Lakesha Roney, LPC. She is currently the clinical coordinator at The Health Brigade, which is a local free clinic that offers a ton of great services to the underserved. In addition, Dr. Roney runs a group practice for psychotherapy, Inner Self Counseling & Consulting. Dr. Roney is the proud mother of a three-year-old who was recently diagnosed with autism. Given her wealth of training, experience, and her personal relationship with autism, she was the perfect person to interview for today’s topic.

What is something that you want readers to know about people on the autism spectrum?

“People with autism just have a different type of ability. They are highly intelligent people that just communicate and process information differently.”

Share about your son’s recent diagnosis and the process you’ve been through as a parent.

“My son had a normal pregnancy and birth. We began to notice the symptoms around the age of one; for example, lack of eye contact, repetitive statements, repetitive hand gestures, and hand flapping. He was highly intelligent at a very young age. I thought he’d just grow out of the repetitive behaviors but as time went on, I knew there was something more. His first cousin also has autism and research supports a strong relationship between genetics and environment with regards to autism.”

How do your personal experiences with autism impact your counseling work?

“I am more aware of how prevalent the diagnosis is. I know that early intervention is crucial. In counseling, I can coach parents as they go through the process of psychological testing and development. Being a parent of a child with autism can feel very isolating at times. Online communities are helpful and I now seek out other parents of children with special needs to help reduce this feeling of isolation.”

How can people help parents of children on the spectrum?

“Educate yourself about the diagnosis. Offer to babysit a child with special needs in order to give the parents a break. Set up play dates because it is very important for children with special needs to interact with neurotypical children. It also teaches neurotypical children about diversity and inclusion.”

Thank you so much for your valuable insights today, Dr. Roney!

You can learn more about Dr. Roney and her practice, Inner Self Counseling and Consulting over on her business Facebook Page.

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