loveautismThis week I am pleased to announce a fabulous conference sponsored by Jenny Palmiotto, an RDI Consultant in San Diego California. The conference boasts many notable speakers including best selling author, Dr. Dan Siegel, . There will also be hands-on experiences and a chance to connect and reconnect with families and professionals. Following is a description of one of many informative, exciting presentations.

Dr. Jessica Hobson, PhD. is a well-known author, researcher, and clinician in the field of autism.  As a Clinical Psychologist, as well as Relationship Development Intervention Consultant, Dr. Hobson is primarily concerned with increasing emotional connection between individuals with autism and the people in their lives. In a recent study, differences emerged between relationship and relatedness in parent-child with ASD (Beukens, Hobson & Hobson, 2012). Interestingly, severity of autism seems to effect relatedness not the relationship. To simplify, it seems that the fulfillment that one gets from parenting is not adversely effected by severity of autism. This research finding is something that I see come to life everyday in my clinical practice. The LOVE felt by each parent for their child with ASD is deep, real, never-ending. The problem seems to be in the interactions, not in the love itself.

Joint engagement, a topic extensively studied by Dr. Hobson, serves as not only the foundation for learning, but also serves as the basis for emotional or affective connection.  Hobson writes, “Experiencing ‘jointness’ is critical to human development.”  Not only are these experiences fundamental to building shared experiences, but it is in these moments that recognition of someone other than self is achieved, something that many individuals with autism struggle with. Joint engagement also has a big effect on our ability to feel connected.  It is through this feeling of connectedness that our emotional bonds are strengthened and it is how we know that our love is being reciprocated, just as Warburg writes in his children’s poem I Like You.

During her presentation at the Love & Autism conference on August 23, Dr. Hobson will speak on the ways to nurture joint engagements for those with autism and why its so important to do so. Dr. Hobson will connect research to practice in a meaningful way leaving each of us with a new sense of hope in our quest for more connected experiences.

Join us at Love and Autism: A Conference with Heart
August 23-24th
San Diego State Alumni Center

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