I love working with individuals with ASD because they have never stopped amazing and inspiring me. They fuel my intense curiosity of learning about the basis of what everyone thinks that being human means and my primitive grandiosity of omnipotence.
Yet, they also make me humble about how little we collectively, in human research and in artificial intelligence, know about human beings, the fluidity and the spontaneity of our social brains, the limits of our efforts, albeit generous with the right intention, the boundless sacrifices families make on a daily basis for the good of their offsprings, and the many surprising twists in life that will happen in the outcome of an individual.
There is this saying that, “when you meet one person with autism, you meet one person with autism”. There are so many of them to meet now, the prevalence has gone from my days of 1:1000 to now 1:68.
I still have a lot of them to meet and I haven’t felt tired or bored yet. They also grow older and mature in different ways. The different types of challenges they encounter in various phases of their life, the gradual enrichment of their psych and the emergence of some of their talents are all intriguing to watch as a passer-by.
How lucky that I am given a chance not only to witness the interaction of these many factors leading to totally unexpected outcomes, but also being invited to make a difference and be part of their process. With all this fun and stress going on, I am not sure I can ever stop or retire from it.
Yes, stress there is and with the right dosage and intensity (in my case I do need a lot), it does push me into a flow that fuel my intellectual and emotional cravings.
It is also the people I have been working with that maintain my passion in this field. It is not just learning some skills and theories about autism or ABA from these great mentors. You learn lots of things from the masters of this field. The amount of thought, the dimensions of psychology you need to take into considerations when working with a case, are not the same as from reading any books or watching any videos.
In the early days, I used to play guess what Ron would say about a case. The thrill you got when you guessed it right was magical! One of my exciting times of the year was to see cases with them. Yes, It was really awful when you realised your cases were not on track from their standards, but yet they always brought refreshing thoughts and new experiences in. This feeling that you don’t know how much you don’t know and then feeling enlightened to be brought to the next level is again another irreplaceable awe of working with these people.
The inspiration is not just from my mentors, it is also from working with all the intelligent folks in our office throughout the years! Their dedication, interpersonal skills, creativity, and knowledge of technology are brilliant for the development of the field. You feel the energy when discussing cases with them (not from the realisation of my senility) and the new dimensions of looking at some cases that I had never been considered before.
And, these are some of the reasons I am still in the field. I hope it will be many more years!.
Dr. Angel Au, Psy. D., Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Angel Au is a Registered Clinical Psychologist of Hong Kong Psychological Society and has undergone doctoral training in Clinical Psychology. She has received extensive training and on-going supervision from Dr. B. J. Freeman, a world-renowned diagnostician in Autism Spectrum Disorder. After completing the Clinical Training of Autism Diagnostic and Observation Schedule (ADOS) in 2003, which is a well-regarded as gold standard in diagnosing ASD, Dr. Au has also completed the ADOS Advanced Research training, from the University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Centre in 2011. Her doctoral thesis was on early identification of the more able children with ASD in mainstream preschool settings. She specializes in assessing individuals on the milder end of the spectrum and has more than 14 years of experience in diagnosing individuals from toddlerhood to middle-age adults. Other than ASD, Dr. Au also assesses a wide array of individuals with different diagnosis, including Attention Deficit / Hyperactive Disorders, Global Developmental Delay and individuals with various behavioral challenges.
Under the direct supervision and training of Dr. Ronald Leaf and Dr. Mitch Taubman, Dr. Au started providing Applied Behavior Analysis therapy for individuals with ASD since 1996. Other than seeing cases locally, she has also provided overseas consultations in China, India, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. Applying her many years of experience in helping children with ASD, Dr. Au also specializes in providing psychotherapy and social skills training for adolescents and adults with ASD and other behaviorally challenged conditions.
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Learn more about our ABA Services[:zh]自Autism Partnership 於1999年12月成立以來，我便開始在AP工作。在加入AP前，自1996年起, 我在AP其中一名的創辦人Dr. Ron Leaf 的指導下開始以ABA的方法教導患有自閉症的兒童。
以前，當Dr. Ron Leaf就個案給予意見時，我總會先猜猜他會怎樣說，而當我猜對時就會感到很興奮。一年當中，我最期待的就是和他們一起審議個案；而當然，亦緊張自己對個案的處理未如理想，但他們總會提出一些嶄新的想法和分享新的經驗。這種感覺就像幼童學習，之前我不知自己對各樣事物知識的欠缺，所以一受他們的啟發，就即時被提升到另一個層面，興奮不已。
區浩慈博士是香港註冊臨床心理學家，擁有超過14年專為幼兒、兒童、青少年以至中年人士提供診斷自閉症譜系障礙的經驗。她的博士論文是研究如何在主流幼兒園及早識別能力較高但患有輕微自閉症的幼童。執業多年來，她一直接受自閉症行內的國際權威診斷專家B. J. Freeman博士培訓。於2003年完成「自閉症診斷觀察量表」（ADOS）──公認為診斷自閉症黃金標準的臨床訓練。 其後，於2011年完成由密西根大學自閉症及溝通障礙中心提供的ADOS進階研究訓練。區博士的專長是評估患有自閉症譜系障礙的人士，尤其是自閉症譜系障礙症狀較為輕微者。除此，她亦診斷不同類型的發展障礙，包括專注力不足／過度活躍症、發展遲緩及各類行為問題。
除診斷外，區博士亦對『應用行為分析』（ABA）治療具豐富經驗。自1996年起，她在Ronald Leaf博士及Mitch Taubman博士的緊密訓練及督導下，以ABA訓練去幫助患有自閉症譜系障礙的兒童。不但為本地個案提供診斷及咨詢，她亦為海外個案及組織提供諮詢服務，包括中國、印度、日本、馬來西亞及新加坡等。此外，區博士亦為自閉症及有行為問題的青少年及成人提供心理治療及社交訓練。