There are only a handful of therapists in Los Angeles who work with individuals with autism. California State University, Northridge is partnering with The Ed Asner Family Center to change that.

Officials with CSUN’s Mitchell Family Counseling Clinic and Family Focus Resource Center will be working closely with the staff at The Ed Asner Family Center to train therapists who have the skills to work with individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.

“The care and support of individuals on the autism spectrum and their families through counseling and family therapy is critically important,” said Shari Tarver-Behring, interim dean of CSUN’s Michael D. Eisner College of Education, home to the Mitchell Family Counseling Clinic and the Family Focus Resource Center. “The partnership between CSUN and The Ed Asner Family Center will bring CSUN’s student and faculty expertise together with The Ed Asner Family Center’s supportive environment to create a wonderful service for our community. We are grateful to the Asners for their leadership and look forward to advancing our work together.”

Navah Paskowitz-Asner and her husband Matt Asner, co-founders of The Ed Asner Family Center, also celebrated the partnership, noting the impact it will have in the community.

“Based on our own experiences as parents of children with special needs, we know how difficult and cost prohibitive it is to find quality mental health serves with people who are trained to work with individuals with autism,” said Paskowitz-Asner, COO of the Asner Family Center. “Our partnership with CSUN begins to fulfill a desperate need in our community.”

Asner, president and CEO of the Asner Family Center, agreed. “Our goal, when we were envisioning The Ed Asner Family Center, was to create a place of excellence for families to thrive in,” Asner said. “This exciting partnership with CSUN is a huge step in the mission of realizing that vision.”

The Ed Anser Family Center, named for Matt Asner’s father, award-winning actor Ed Asner, launched in 2018 and is located at 7915 Lindley, Reseda, CA 91335. It offers arts and vocational enrichment and health and wellness, including meditation and mindfulness, to individuals with special needs and their families. They also offer low and no-cost mental health services.

Under the partnership, CSUN’s Mitchell Family Counseling Clinic will supervise and train therapists to work with individuals, couples, families and groups at The Ed Asner Family Center. Specifically, the therapists will be trained in how to work with individuals on the autism spectrum. Assisting in the training will be Sarita Freedman, a recognized psychologist in the field and author of a book on college students with autism.

The Mitchell Family Counseling Clinic is a community service site for the Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling in the Michael D. Eisner College of Education at California State University, Northridge. It provides a clinical training and research site for graduate level students in the college’s counseling programs, while also providing much-needed counseling services to members of the community on a sliding-scale fee basis.

CSUN’s Family Focus Resource Center also is providing support for the project. For more than a decade, the Family Focus Resource Center has provided parent-to-parent support, education and information to parents and caregivers of children with special needs and the professionals who serve them.

The Ed Asner Family Center is a one-stop for those with special needs and their families seeking wholeness in all attitudes of life. The Center will act as an oasis of balance and thought, of interaction and education. Most importantly, The Center will give children and adults of all levels of ability a chance at dignity, confidence, and self-respect. The Ed Asner Family Center caters to the needs of the differently “abled” child -including autism, Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy (CP) and developmental delays – and enrolls the complete family to help them meet the unique challenges they face with grace.

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