Panel: Revolution of NeuroAtypicals


Panelists: Inna Rozentsvit, M.D., PhD, Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, a

nd Victoria Grinman, LCSW-R, Columbia University, Boston College, PhD candidate at Adelphi University


Friday, June 1st, 2018 @ 1:40 pm -3:25 pm  


2 CEUs


*Revolution of NeuroAtypicals:  Understanding Oliver Sacks and People He Cared For – by Inna Rozentsvit



There’s a popular misconception that autistic people (neuroatypicals) are either anti-social tech geniuses or Rain Man-like savants. But research is increasingly showing that even “low-functioning” autistic people might be smarter than neurotypical people in certain ways. In the foreword to Temple Grandin’s (1995) book, “Thinking in Pictures,” Oliver Sacks suggests that "we almost always speak of autistic children, never of autistic adults, as if such children never grow up, or were somehow mysteriously spirited off the planet, out of society.” This part of the panel will deal with neurobiological lens put to the tapestry of humanity, using Oliver Sacks' characters as clinical examples.


*Parenting of NeuroAtypicals:  When You Plan a Trip to Italy, but Suddenly Are Taken to Holland – by Victoria Grinman


For a parent, receiving a diagnosis of autism for his/her child means that this child will not develop ‘typically,’ and this is identified as a definite traumatic event (Phelps, et al, 2009). As one parent said, You are mourning the death of the child that you thought you had, but now never will (Fleischmann, 2004, p. 39). Some other such parents are able to see this Land of Neuroatypicals as a "different" place, not necessarily worse, - just different (like when you plan a trip to Italy, but suddenly taken to Holland). This part of the panel will examine experiences of parents, traumatic or not, and help them to embrace neuro-diversity, which will lead to personal growth rather than melancholia.


Learning Points:

At the end of this educational activity, its participants will be able to:

1) identify and analyze the specifics and the possible advantages of neuroatypical minds;

2) examine clinical and life situations related to behavior of neuroatypicals from neurobiological perspective;

3) identify and assess mental health issues related to parenting of neuroatypicals;

4) apply the information received re: parents of neuroatypical children to everyday life and clinical situations.



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Caruso, N. (n.d.). “It’s been a good journey overall.” A qualitative investigation into posttraumatic growth in mothers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Cozolino, L. (2006). The neuroscience of human relationships: Attachment and the developing of social brain. New York: W.W. Norton and Co.

Cozolino, L. (2010). The neuroscience of psychotherapy: Healing the social brain (2nd ed.). New York: W.W. Norton and Co.

Damasio, A. (2005). Descartes' error: Emotion, reason, and the human brain. New York: Penguin Books.

Josef, S. (2009). Growth following adversity: Positive psychological perspectives of posttraumatic stress. Psychological Topics, 18(2), 335-344.

Higashida, N., Yoshida, K. (Translator), Mitchell, D.  (Translator) (2016). The reason I jump: The inner voice of a thirteen-year-old boy with autism. NY, NY: Random House Trade Paperbacks.

Prizant, B.M. (2016). Uniquely human: A different way of seeing autism. NY, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Sacks, O. (1973). Awakenings. NY, NY: Vintage Books.

Sacks, O. (1984). A leg to stand on.  NY, NY: Touchstone Publishing.

Sacks, O. (1988). The man who mistook his wife for a hat. NY, NY: Simon and Schuster/ Touchstone. 

Sacks, O. (1995). An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven paradoxical tales  (First ed.). NY, NY: Alfred A. Knopf

Sacks, O. (2012). Hallucinations. NY, NY: Vintage Books/ Alfred A. Knopf

Silberman, S. (2016). NeuroTribes: The legacy of autism and the future of neurodiversity (foreword by O. Sacks). NY, NY: Avery/ Penguin Group.

Zhang, W., Yan, T. T., Barriball, K. L., While, A. E., & Liu, X. H. (2015). Post-traumatic growth in mothers of children with autism: A phenomenological study. Autism, 19(1), 29-37. 

Zhang, W., Yan, T. T., Du, Y. S., & Liu, X. H. (2013). Relationship between coping, rumination and posttraumatic growth in mothers of children with autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 7(10), 1204-1210. 

Bios of the Presenters:

Inna Rozentsvit, M.D., PhD, MSciEd (inna.rozentsvit@gmail.com) is a neurologist and neurorehabilitation specialist, trained in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. She is the founder of and the neuropsychoeducator at the Neurorecovery Solutions, Inc. (a non-profit organization). Dr. Rozentsvit is an administrator, a community outreach organizer, and a scientific faculty member at the Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, NYC, where she teaches classes on Introduction to Neurobiology for Psychotherapists and Psychoanalysts and Love Before First Sight: Neurobiology of the Parent-Child Bonds.  She also had founded a psychoanalytic publishing company, the ORI Academic Press and the transdisciplinary journal, the MindConsiliums, both with one of the main aims of promotion of neuro-psychoanalytic education to professionals and to general public. For her neuropsychoeducational blog, visit www.innarozentsvit.com.

Victoria Grinman, LCSW (VGrinman@gmail.com) is a social worker and a child therapist (in individual and group setting), as well as certified yoga and mindfulness instructor, specializing in working with children who experience emotional, behavioral and learning issues, and their families. She is a graduate of Columbia University, Graduate School of Social work, and a current doctoral candidate at Adelphi University (NY). In her dissertation, she explores PTG in parents of children diagnosed with autism. For more information about Victoria and her work, visit http://www.growingkindminds.com/.


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