The Miami-Dade-Monroe Chapter Of the Florida Psychological Association Invites You to Attend a Workshop

What Psychologists Need to Know About the Deficits in “Soft Skills” Development Experienced by Individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

Presented by:
Dr. Eric Nach, Ph.D., M.Ed.

Michael Ann Russell JCC, 18900 NE 25th Avenue
North Miami Beach, FL 33180

Date and Time:
Friday, February 16, 2018
8:30-9:00 Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:00-12:00 Workshop

3 CEs Provided / No Cost for MDMC Members / $50 for Guests
RSVP online at – Questions contact

The Florida Psychological Association is approved by the Florida Department of Health, Board of Psychology and Board of School Psychology to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Florida Psychological Association is approved by the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling as a provider of continuing education. The Florida Psychological Association maintains responsibility for the program and its content.

People with ADD and ADHD have differences in their attention, and not deficits. This is an important distinction which helps with the understanding that there are gifts in ADD/ADHD.

ADD/ADHD: Differences, Not Deficits - Support for Students Growth Center

The term for the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD has changed multiple times. In 1980, the term ‘Attention Deficit Disorder’ came to be. It has changed slightly since then, but the field is relunctant to change it again because of how negative that would be (it could impact the advocacy and legislation that has been achieved through hard work).

People with ADD are often gifted with the ability to pay tremendous attention to things that are important to them. They have have a singular attention span which is far better than what ‘non-ADDers’ have if they use their natural gift of hyperfocus.To us this suggests a ‘difference’ in attention and not a ‘deficit’.

The term deficit itself refers to pathology and lack. Differences refers to just that- differences.

Recognizing this difference is important as we advocate for a change in the paradigm of ADD toward a strength based diagnosis. One which focuses on the gifts and differences, and not the lack and deficits.

It’s our contention that each and every ADD brain has genius in it. The definition of genius, as defined at includes: gen-ius: – an exceptional natural capacity of intellect, especially as shown in creative and original work in science, art, music, etc.: the genius of Mozart. – natural ability or capacity; strong inclination: a special genius for leadership. – distinctive character or spirit By definition ‘ to be a genius ‘ one has to be different from others.

People with ADD are different and we contend that there is genius in each and every one of them.

Now people who might take issue with this statement will say that ADD affects people with different levels of intelligence. So, there are some people with superior IQ with ADD, and there are people with average IQ who have ADD, and there are people with low IQ who have ADD. Irrespective of the IQ level ‘ each person with ADD has genius inside.

The ADD brain has tremendous capacity for these aspects of genius:

  • Being unique: People with ADD often ‘march to the beat of their own drum’. They bring a unique perspective due to the fact that they are not ‘programmed’ to conform ‘ and their ability to maintain their unique nature can lead to many gifts throughout life (when it’s nurtured appropriately)
  • High levels of creativity: when the ADD mind receives information ‘ it manipulates that information differently. This leads to high levels of creativity.
  • Insightful: When using information differently than non-ADD people, ADD’ers develop significant and useful insights
  • Direct: people with ADD can be very direct, to the point and on target. This can be ‘too much’ for people without ADD to handle ‘ as they aren’t used to information being presented so directly and accurately
  • Quick to act: While many people suffer from ‘paralysis of analysis’, the ADD mind is quick to take action and experiment ‘ hence the belief that geniuses like Edison had ADD
  • Can look at the same thing differently than others: As alluded to above ‘ someone with ADD can look at the same material as others and see very different things and draw very different conclusions
  • Interpersonally intuitive: The powers of observation of those with ADD can be very strong, and their intuition particularly powerful. This can be a challenge for others who don’t recognize this as a gift ‘ and it can be perceived as a lack of ‘tact’.

These traits, and many others ‘ lead to the gifts of ADDScience Articles, and the genius that’s inside.

About the Author

Dr. Kenny Handelman is a Board Certified Psychiatrist in Canada and the USA. He is an expert in ADD and ADHD. His goal is to help people to improve their lives by finding the right options and information.

Photo Credit: Abdüs (flickr)

Mini-White Paper on the Compared Value of “Therapeutic Social Skills Program” to Public School Offered “Social Skills” Classes

Problem: Parents may be responding to no-charge, school-based social skills services as though they should be the only social skills training/therapy their children receive.

What do schools really provide as “social skills services”?

  • Classes can be as high as a 24-1 teacher to student ratio
  • The difference in student abilities in each class are often substantial
  • No parent support
  • Basic curriculum that is not unique to the individual students needs
  • Class time is often used for HW and make up work and testing
  • Mostly bachelors level teachers, few with specialized certifications
  • Students experience social stigma of being in a “special class”
  • School oriented skills are primarily taught, students are rarely taught other critical life skills
  • Classes often composed of students on the autism spectrum and with severe behavior disorders


At the Support for Students Growth Center, we offer more than 12 year-round Therapeutic Social Skills Groups that meet weekly. Group placement is based on the age, ability, and needs of the children, teens, and young adults. We are a team of PhD and Master level educators, counselors and therapists who are experts in the field of: Learning Disabilities, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders including Asperger’s Syndrome, Anxiety, Depression, NVLD, OCD, ODD, and adjustment issues.

Eric J. Nach, PhD, MEd, ASDc
Support For Students Growth Center
5458 Town Center Rd, Suite #7
Boca Raton, FL 33486 561-990-7305(Boca office)

What do participants receive in our Scientifically-based Therapeutic Social Skills Program?

  • 3-1 Counselor to child ratio (no paraprofessionals/ student
  • Highly structured group and setting
  • Over 12 groups weekly, placement based on age, ability, and needs
  • Unique groups to serve the needs of those with ADHD, Asperger’s, high functioning autism, Learning Disabilities, Language Disorders, OCD, ODD, anxiety, depression, and more…
  • FL Certified, Masters and PhD level Special Ed. Teachers and counselors facilitate groups
  • Highly trained staff, various backgrounds, multiple years working together
  • “Weekly Topic Updates” for parents each week. These updates discuss the targeted topic of the week, cause of difficulty, and suggestions for generalization
  • Free monthly parent workshops, on relevant topics, by Dr Eric Nach, PhD
  • Affiliated with CARD, CHADD, FAU and LYNN Universities
  • Expertise in secondary issues (anxiety, depression, learning disabilities, and ADHD)
  • Hi-tech infused lessons and activities
  • Over 100 modifiable proprietary research inspired lessons offered
  • Experts in generalization of targeted skills
  • Targeting: “survival skills, interpersonal skills, intrapersonal skills, problem solving skills, and conflict resolution skills”
  • Provide performance feedback
  • Emphasize the learning, performance, generalization, and maintenance of targeted behaviors

Important Life Social Skills – Friendship, Self-Control and Problem Solving

Learning Self-Control

The ability to regulate ones emotions is an important but hard skill for some children to develop. However this skill’s is essential if children are to develop friendships and to be accepted by others. Other children tend to steer clear of peers who can’t manage their emotions – be it the child who cries over small issues or who get angry when things don’t go their way… One way to help your child keep cool: Urge him to take a break – breathe deeply or take a drink of water – whenever emotions rise. Secondly encourage your child to express their emotions in an acceptable way. Talk about your own emotions (“I’m so frustrated: I can’t find bag!”) and label your child’s emotions (“You look disappointed”). Eventually your child will be able to express his own feelings and have an easier time reading the feelings of others, too. Basically you are becoming an emotional coach for your child. Essentially you are skilling your child up in recognizing and labeling emotions and teaching strategies to manage them better.

Encourage Problem Solving Skills

There are a number of school yard behaviors that will ostracize children if the child frequently engages in such behaviors. Such difficult behaviors include frequent complaining, ‘dobbing’ or ‘telling on’ other children, lying or making a fuss over small difficulties in interactions. To manage and reduce such behaviors it is important to help your child to learn the difference between a small deal (someone jumps in front of you in line) and a big deal (an older child threatens you or physically hurts you). With big problems you seek help; with little problems, you work it out.

It is also important for your child to develop coping skills which will facilitate the development of resilience in them. Finally, you can remind your child that every problem has several solutions. For example, if your child is teased, you can ask him if he can think of ways to respond. Some possibilities: Walk away. Or teach your child to respond confidently to the other child, by saying “Stop talking like that.”

Promote Skills in Learning How to Give and Take in Interactions

The ability to learn how to be reciprocal is essential in any friendship. Being reciprocal is basically learning how to ‘give and take’ in an interaction and in friendships. One strategy to help children develop reciprocity is to ‘model reciprocity’.

It is important that children observe reciprocity in the interactions around them. Show them ‘sharing’ (“Anyone wants some of my lollies?”), turn taking (“You can use the bike first”) and the art of conversational give-and-take (“How’d you like Superman? What was the best part?”). Listening to your child can be hard, especially if you’re harried and have several children, but it really helps to spend even 15 minutes a night listening to them, conversing and being fully present.

It also helps to “catch” kids when they’re being considerate. It is important to emphasize the internal rewards that come with thinking of others and how it makes other feel.

Additional Rescources:

About the Author – Jon Don
Photo Credit: Marvin Fox Photography