Articles by Karen Levine

Karen Levine, Ph.D., Instructor in Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School is a Psychologist in private practice in Lexington, Massachusetts. She is co-author, with Naomi Chedd, LMHC of the books Replays: Using Play to Enhance Emotional And Behavioral Development in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders, (Jessica Kingsley, 2007) and Treatment Planning for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: An individualized problem solving approach (Wiley, 2012).

Playing With Fear: Treating Phobias in Children with Autism

Friday, May 31st, 2013
Here is an example of a method for treating phobias in children with Autism or other Developmental Disabilities (DDs), using the approach we developed, Replays, (e.g. Levine and Chedd, 2007), or Affective Behavioral Play Therapy (ABPT) as we call it for professional consumption.  In this approach, as in traditional paradigms for treating phobias, we use gradual exposure combined with pleasurable activity, but, in contrast to traditional treatment approaches for children with Autism or other DDs (see my Blog Treating the Child under the Behavior), the focus is on the child’s affective experience, played out in an affectively rich interactive context.

Treating the Child Under the Behavior: Affect & Relationship in Children with Autism

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013
Most treatment models for mental health problems in children with Developmental Disabilities (DDs) including Autism or Intellectual Disability (e.g. Down syndrome) are based on manipulation of behaviors, with much less, or no emphasis on the child’s affective experiences or on use of interactions/relationships. Challenging behaviors in this population are so often regarded as just that, Behaviors, rather than as reflective of underlying emotions, as the outward manifestation of underlying dynamic emotional processes of a personality, as the struggles of a person with their own unique experiences, feelings, and relationships.