Between Two and Fifty Shades Of Gray

 Helping Adolescents and Adults with ASD Strengthen Their Self-Awareness,
Perspective-Taking, and Ability to Engage in Intimate Relationships

Handouts: CLICK HERE

Dave Nelson, LPC, Executive Director of The Community School & Beth Champ, LAPC, Young Adult Transition Program Director, The Community School


In this presentation we will use video examples of our work with adolescents and young adults in one-on-one and group settings to demonstrate how to identify constrictions in higher level thinking, and how to support the emergence of more complex, multi-causal thinking that accounts for the perspectives of others and provides better opportunities for happy, stable lives. We will discuss the challenges and rewards of supporting individuals who are struggling to develop intimate relationships, learning to navigate the world of work and of independent living. Hurdles for individuals include the powerful influence of the Internet (including pornography), as well as distortions in thinking about finances, about the expectations of work and independence, and about the tolerance and judgment of others. By developing intimate, authentic relationships with these individuals, engaging in honest, ongoing discussions about their goals, needs, thoughts, and desires, and by supporting their relationships with each other, it is possible to reduce mood swings, strengthen problem-solving, and facilitate an individual’s ability to think of himself as a purposeful, valued member of a community.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this presentation, participants will be able to

  • Identify constrictions in higher functional emotional developmental levels
  • Describe how to facilitate the emergence and strengthening of emotionally differentiated thinking and a sense of self.

  • Explain ways of supporting individuals in developing meaningful, intimate, and complex relationships.