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Aspergers' in Adults - The hidden disorder?

Event number: 17270
3 CPD hours
Study Group Network
Presenter(s): Dr Matthew Berry MAPS MCCLP

There has been much increased awareness and early detection for children who present on the Autism Spectrum.  However, some higher functioning individuals, who are often academically very competent, can pass through the school system undetected even though they are struggling to make sense of the world and having ongoing difficulty relating to others. Others coped quite well at school because other children and teachers adapted to their particular idiosyncracies. However it is as adults that they start to really struggle with the world and its rules of engagement.

This distress that this may cause can end up with presentation to psychologists at any stage in their adult life with social anxiety, addiction, depression, and/or relationship problems. However, therapy is often of minimal benefit because in many cases, these issues are secondary to undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome.

This workshop looks initially at the clinical features of Autism Spectrum Disorder, and then unpacks how these criteria may not particularly helpful or relevant when considering higher functioning, 'non-clinical’ individuals - those prior to DSM 5 considered as having Asperger’s Disorder. An exploration of commonly occurring features for which clinicians can assess is followed by a discussion of the pros and cons of Asperger’s being considered separately from Autism Spectrum Disorder.

A strengths-based approach to understanding these clients’ differences then follows, formulating their presentation as an imbalance or skewing of abilities, rather than a general disability, deficiency or disorder. Strategies both behavioural and relational are presented, along with suggestions around how to work with the partners and families of such individuals to ensure a fulfilling and contented life.

Learning outcomes

At the conclusion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  • Recognise over ten key features of Asperger’s disorder in adults.
  • Offer clients behavioural strategies to minimize distress.
  • Help the client to identify their unique strengths and assets due to being Asperger’s.
  • Work with their significant others’ to enable them to adapt to the client’s.

About the presenter(s)

Matthew Berry is a clinical psychologist with a primary interest in addiction, substance use and related compulsive appetitive behaviours.
His career to date has included voluntary, forensic, adult, youth, community and residential settings and is currently in private practice in Melbourne, involving training, supervision and clinical work.
He lectures post-graduate addiction counselling, and has developed and delivered workshops on Understanding Substance use and Addiction; Motivational Interviewing; Working with Resistance for both the APS and the NZPS.


Please make sure you read the group description and details carefully before registering for a study group. CANCELLATION POLICY: As we keep study group fees to a minimum and presenters are paid according to the numbers who attend, we prefer not to provide refunds other than for 'exceptional, unforeseeable circumstances'. We are happy for you to nominate an alternative attendee or you may transfer to another study group, but only within 2 months as this adds extra admin costs. Cancellations up to 14 days prior to the study group you are registered for will receive a full refund. Cancellations within 1-13 days of the study group will receive a 50% refund. Cancellations within 24 hours of a study group will not be refunded. All cancellations must be given in writing.

Online registration

Doncaster East

Currawong Bush Park Conference Centre
277 Reynolds Road
Doncaster East, VIC 3109
Venue is wheelchair accessible
Start date: 6/6/2017
End date: 6/6/2017
Time: 6pm - 9pm


APS Member: $83.00
APS Student: $83.00
Non Member: $165.00


APS - Melbourne Branch
The Study Group Network (SGN) is an initiative of the APS Melbourne Branch designed to improve psychologists’ clinical and research skills and to keep them current with new developments.
Contact Karen Holst
03 8662 3300