So many of the ASD or ADHD clients who come to see me are spending hours a day online or playing video games. And, they are often dealing with depression and social isolation as well. Of course, as an engineer, I well understand that correlation does not indicate causation But, as a therapist, I recognize that many of my clients have interest in social connections, and they want to have interesting lives, but the effort to do these things is pretty stressful. Video games provide an anxiety management tool, as well as an experience that is both immediately gratifying and at the same time low stress.
Along these lines of thought, The New York Times published an article titled Video Games and the Depressed Teenager. For now, excessive internet and video use is not technically an addiction, although it is a topic of further study in the new DSM 5, which is going to be published this spring.
I think it’s important for parents and young adults to consider these results in deciding their standards for online activities in their own homes. Many parents think addition is an appropriate term, because they can see how their own kids and teens behave when they are deprived of their gaming time. For many, less screen time seems to result in calmer and happier moods.
Both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties present annual transition fairs, designed to bring together young adults with special needs with the venders and agencies who can help them transtion to adult living situations and employment. Because the fairs only occur once a year, I encourage teens, young adults and their parents to attend these events early, so they can start learning about the services available.
Alameda is holding their 2013 Transition Fair this year on March 16. You can find more information on their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/events/411555572244926/.
Patricia Robinson MFT
I'm a licensed therapist in Danville, California and a coach for Asperger's and ADHD nationwide. I work with individuals of all ages who have special needs, like Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADD, ADHD, and the family members and partners of special needs individuals.