Jen worked with us because my 7-year-old daughter was having severe problem behaviors that included tantrums that could last hours that escalated to aggression, severe outbursts and meltdowns with daily routines such as dressing, brushing teeth, following directions and transitions. It was hard to know what would trigger her too, and I always felt like I was walking on eggshells. I looked forward to our weekly sessions because Jen always offered encouragement, and her advice grounded me through many struggles, including when we were having difficulties with my daughter’s IEP team. Jen consulted with the school and collaborated in developing programming to help my daughter with transitions to school and home and with homework. My daughter has made a lot of improvements, although she continues to have challenges. Now, I am much more confident that I know what to do, how to advocate for her, and how to be selective about who works with my daughter. I cannot say enough to recommend Jen Slaton. I really do not know where we would be without her today as she was integral in helping us in so many ways.
Mother of an autistic daughter
When both my young sons were diagnosed with autism, I was so shocked, stressed and worried. I felt hopeless, helpless, inundated and confused with all the appointments and assessments – the services my children would need, and the conflicting information we received. But then we were blessed to meet Jen. She helped us sort it all out! Jen is such an Angel! She was so patient and knowledgeable. She took the time to make sure all my questions were answered, and I calmed down quite a bit. I felt enlightened, and I understood the path forward. She explained to us that autism is a spectrum, and she saw many strengths in our young children, versus what we were hearing from others – that they have a serious disorder and could have a bleak future. Jen talked to us about how many people on the autism spectrum have wonderful gifts and strengths. She said it takes understanding what our boys’ strengths are so we can encourage them to thrive. We also needed to understand their areas of weakness so we could focus the help that was available. Although both boys have differences, they both have delays in communication and social skills. They did not follow directions very well, and one of our sons had regular tantrums. Jen gave us direction and hope that they can learn, that their behavior can improve, and that they can lead happy lives. After talking with Jen, I felt totally relieved, inspired, and see my children are such blessings. I can highly recommend her to any family, especially that have children with autism.
Mother of 2 young autistic sons
Jen is a prayer that came true. I knew there was something going on with my child, but everyone I talked to, including professionals, said she was fine. My daughter is very smart and highly verbal, but she easily went into rages, and couldn’t handle change and transitions. When I met with Jen, I knew I found someone who understood my daughter and what we both needed. She told me that my daughter was diagnosed with Asperger’s (which is now considered autism spectrum disorder), and she gave me so much insight and answers. That truth resonated with me, and knew I would get the help my daughter and I need. She was great with my daughter, and she would talk to Jen more than anyone else. She worked with us on dealing with our complicated family dynamics, and helped my daughter to cope with those family stressors. I learned how to support my daughter, especially during her aggressive and destructive tantrums. Jen taught me how to use positive strategies and validate my daughter’s feelings, explaining that it will help her cope with her strong emotions as she grows and develops. I also learned how to support her self-esteem, and embrace her gifts. I don’t know where we would be without Jen’s help and guidance. I can highly recommend her to anyone dealing with autism in their family.
Parent of a young autistic/Asperger’s daughter
We are so grateful that Jen came to work with our family. Our son has Down syndrome, and he also has traits of autism. He was a very stubborn child. He had tantrums when he didn’t get what he wanted, and he would also hit his brother and sister when they got in his way. He was the same at school, and I could tell his teacher got frustrated with him. To be honest, we usually gave him what he wanted to keep him calm. But then, we were fortunate enough to have Jen help us. During our weekly sessions, she taught us how to respond to our son’s behaviors and how to support him in his growth and development. When we followed her advice, his tantrums gradually decreased, and he stopped hitting his siblings. He still gets mad when he doesn’t get his way, but he just pouts for a few minutes and then it’s over. He also learned to ask for what he wants using words and gestures, which took the place of the tantrums and aggression. With Jen’s guidance, we taught him to be more independent, instead of demanding that we do things for him, like dressing him, because he was perfectly capable of doing it himself. We even learned how to adapt activities so we could include him more with the family. We used some rewards when we were in stores because our son would demand we buy him something or he would have a tantrum right there. We also talked with his teacher about what we were doing at home, and we saw improvement in his behavior at school too. The rewards were very effective, and we were able to fade them out. Now he doesn’t need them anymore, and he just behaves! Our family is much less stressed now, and we can enjoy our son’s playful personality. We can highly recommend Jen to help families who have special needs children. She made such a positive difference in ours and our son’s life.
Parents of a boy with Down syndrome
I came to meet with Jen because I suspected I might have autism. My son was diagnosed on the autism spectrum when he was a teenager. As I learned more about autism, I suspected I had it myself. I had been to see other therapists, but I never felt understood, or really got the help I needed. They suggested I do things that I just couldn’t so, like join a social group, or meet with my peers for lunch. Jen confirmed that I am on the autism spectrum, and actually, I was very relieved. Now I had a name for what I always felt was different about me. Jen was so understanding, and she didn’t push me to just go out and do things. She helped me to understand what caused my stress and anxiety, and then to take incremental steps toward one small goal at a time. I will always have autism, and I’m good with that now. I feel much more at peace with myself and I’m very open with other people too. I’m proud of who I am. My whole life has changed. I am so glad I had Jen to help me. Don’t hesitate to meet with her. It’ll probably change your life too.
My son was driving us crazy. We know he has a good heart, but he was always getting into trouble. He wouldn’t listen to us, and talked back all the time. He was so rude. He was always fighting with his brothers. His teacher was calling us almost every day saying he was interrupting the class, he was too talkative, he wouldn’t stay in his seat… He lost recess almost every day, and he hated going to school. It was a fight getting him up in the morning, and he stressed out everyone in the family. The school hinted that we should put him on medication, but we don’t agree with putting our son on drugs. We met with Jen and she helped us to understand our son, and how he has a complex neurological condition, so he is not able to focus very long or follow through. He gets so distracted and impulsive. Once we understood our son, we were much more patient with him and for the most part, stopped yelling at him. We also learned how to advocate for him at school to get a individualized plan for him. We learned that all the negative comments and losing recess was making him more upset and his behavior was getting even worse. Plus, he needed more time for physical activity, not less.
We learned how to help our son at home. How he needs to understand and accept the way his brain is, strengths and weaknesses. We learned specific things to do, including using rewards instead of yelling and punishing him. And, he does better with routines and calm reminders. It really worked! We made a to-do list for him, and he got stars when he did what he was supposed to do, like brushing his teeth and taking showers. We talked to his teacher about giving him stars at school too. He got so excited when he earned the stars, because he could spend them on extra game time.
Jen was so great to work with. She made such a difference for my son and our whole family. He is a happy kid now! We highly recommend her. Don’t wait for things to get worse and worse. The sooner you get help the better!
Father of boy with intellectual disability and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Ellen “Jen” Slaton has been a psychotherapist at Associated Therapists, Inc. for 19 years. She is extremely knowledgeable, insightful and connects well with her clients. She is our “autism expert” and has been a resource for clients and staff alike. Not only does she have a depth of understanding of the needs and struggles of individuals and families, but she is able to incorporate her expertise in behavior analysis with her psychotherapy skills, providing a unique, holistic approach. She has spoken about not only focusing on changing behavior, but on understanding the emotional needs of people on the spectrum and other special needs, and their loved ones. Jen is an excellent therapist and coach. Without hesitation, I can highly recommend her to parents, individuals on the autism spectrum and with other special needs.
Julio Guerra, Ph.D.
Clinical Director, Associated Therapists, Inc.
I have known and worked closely with Ellen “Jen” Slaton, LCSW since 2001. In addition to being an excellent general psychotherapist with adults, children and families, she is one of the very best I have ever known in her primary specialty areas. These include autism, Down syndrome and attention deficit disorder. I was very excited when Jen described her creation of the web site to assist people online. There are not enough of those resources available and I can think of no one else who could do a better job of providing the type of online assistance she described to me. I will be frequently referring people to her web site.
Administrator, Associated Therapists, Inc.
My company, KiddieCorp, provides childcare for national conventions. Some of our programs include serving children on the autism spectrum, including a regional autism convention. We asked Jen Slaton to consult with us to help create appropriate activities to engage the children, and to be able to address the differences in their skills and abilities. We also wanted to know what to do if any of the children displayed behavior problems.
Jen was insightful and knowledgeable in consulting with us, and was able to pinpoint specific activities and strategies we could use. Some of these included the best ways to create routines and structure that accommodated the children on the autism spectrum as well as “typical” children. She collaborated very well with my team and was a pleasure to work with. Our events that include children with autism have run very smoothly. The children have enjoyed our program and their parents have been very complimentary. I would highly recommend Jen Slaton. She is a “spectrum expert” and would be an asset to any parent or individual seeking coaching from her.
President, KiddieCorp, Inc.
Jen is my colleague, but was first my supervisor when I was an in-home parent consultant for the Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis. We provided parent training for families that had special needs children from 2 years to adults. Most of the families were receiving support for a child on the autism spectrum. Jen has been a fantastic supervisor and mentor. She was most focused on supporting families, and is expert at combining her knowledge of autism, ABA (applied behavior analysis) and her psychotherapy skills. She has a depth of understanding of the complexities of having a child with special needs, and how it affects everyone in the family. She often talked about how just focusing on a behavior problem often did not meet the needs of the family, and that it’s important look more holistically at the situation. In my work as a supervisor of ABA programs, I often referred families to Jen that needed additional support above and beyond behavior intervention, whether it was a problem with a sibling, parenting challenges, or family relational issues. Actually, she is my go-to person for any family needing psychotherapy. I can confidently say that I highly recommend Jen!