aba autism

Passion Never Ends

I have been working in Autism Partnership since it started in HK in December 1999. Before that I have been working with families that Ron (one of the founders of AP) used to consult with since 1996.

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
Angel Au
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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