Order NAVIGATING THROUGH THE MAINSTREAM- This text details relationship based interventions to help individuals who have been given the labels of autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, and Asperger's Disorder that is respectful and dignified.


"Dr. Edmunds has developed a strong rapport with (my child). He even waits at the corner of our street in anticipation of his visits. More importantly, over the course of the summer we saw a definite improvement in (his) socialization and behavior at home...I have been extremely impressed with Dr. Edmunds' extensive knowledge...I also appreciate the comfort we receive in learning of positive results he has achieved with other children. Although I have read extensively myself and spoken with his developmental pediatrician, Dr. Edmunds has been able to translate his theoretical understanding into practical steps that have helped (my child) and us."

Dr. D.L. Edmunds has developed compassionate, innovative approaches for autistic developmentally different children that focus on their strengths, are dignified, and build on the forging of emotional connections. His unique program is the ONLY relationship based program available in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

THE NORTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA AUTISM ACCEPTANCE PROJECT seeks to educate the public, educators, parents, and others on accepting autistic persons, finding means to be inclusive of persons with developmental differences, and to be able to provide relationship based supports that respect the autonomy, dignity, and self determination of the individual.


Dr. D.L. Edmunds believes that many programs that have been designed for autistic persons do not respect their dignity and seek to force and coerce them to be 'typical'. Dr. Edmunds believes that the strengths of autistic persons must be recognized and an attitude of acceptance must prevail where autistic persons are seen as individuals with the same desire as any other person for self determination and autonomy. Dr. Edmunds comparison is to that of a person living in a foreign country. A person may be able to reside in a foreign country not knowing the language, but it would be easier for the person if they knew something about the language and culture. Therefore, programs provided to autistic persons should not be focused on making them into something they are not, but helping them to navigate through the mainstream and develop an understanding of how the majority operates. Dr. Edmunds is honored to not only collaborate with autistic persons but to call them friends. Dr. D.L. Edmunds has had the privilege of working with over 80 autistic and developmentally different children and their families. He has developed one of few relationship and strengths based programs that help these children to navigate through the mainstream while respecting their autonomy, self determination and dignity. Dr. Edmunds work has to been to help these children with functional independence while respecting them as persons worthy of respect.

Dr. Edmunds is noted child and family psychotherapist with 10 years of experience in the field. He has written numerous articles and been a presenter on local and nationally syndicated radio programs. He is the founder of the International Center for Humane Psychiatry. He serves as a Professor of Human Services and Religion for the European American University.



Entering Their Imaginative World
Benefits of a Relationship Based Approach

Do not see my disability as the problem. Recognize that my disability is an attribute. Do not see my disability as a deficit. It is you who see me as deviant and helpless. Do not try to fix me because I am not broken. Support me. I can make my contribution to the community in my own way. Do not see me as your client. I am your fellow citizen. See me as your neighbor. Remember, none of us can be self-sufficient. Do not try to modify my behavior. Be still and listen. What you define as inappropriate may be my attempt to communicate with you in the only way I can. Do not try to change me. You have no right. Help me to learn what I want to know. Do not hide your uncertainty behind 'professional' distance. Be a person who listens and does not take my struggle away from me by trying to make it all better. Do not use theories and strategies on me. Be with me. And when we struggle with each other, Let that give rise to self-reflection. Do not try to control me. I have a right to my power as a person. What you call noncompliance or manipulation may actually be the only way I can exert some control over my life. Do not teach me to be obedient, submissive, and polite. I need to feel entitled to say 'no' if I am to protect myself. Do not be charitable towards me. Be my ally as I fight against those who exploit me for their own gratification. Do not try to be my friend. I deserve more than that. Get to know me. We may become friends. Do not help me, even if it does make you feel good. Ask me if I need your help. Let me show you how you can best assist me. Do not admire me. A desire to live a full life does not warrant adoration. Respect me, for respect presumes equity. Do not tell, teach, and lead. Listen, support, and follow. Do not work on me. Work with me.