Autism in Teenagers

The teen and young-adult years are difficult for everyone. In a teen with autism many of the problems are magnified to a very great degree.

Life is very difficult for both the teen and the parents. Of course much depends on severity of the autism. Just like every other teen, autistic teens go through puberty. The autistic teen experiences the same hormonal changes that every other teen experiences with one major difference. The behavior and abilities of the teen are drastically extreme depending on how the child reacts to the changes. These changes can be either very good or very bad.

This is a time that most teenagers experience greater social interaction. For the teenager with autism this is a most critical time. They have not developed the social skills that are age appropriate. They are usually considered odd or strange, or worse excluded entirely by the social crowd.

Much depends on whether the teen was even able to attend school, some manage quite well in the special education division, and others have been home bound or home schooled for most of their lives.

Autism manifests itself with the child having trouble communicating and managing social interaction. Along with this many have repetitive behaviors and poor emotional control. For these reasons most autistic teens do not learn now to behave according to sociological norms by experience. They need to be taught the proper way to behave. This is very difficult at the best, or at its worst, impossible due to rigid mindset and the volatile nature of the teen and his behavior and expectations. They do not easily adapt to things being different from they always have been.

This inability to fit in socially is very traumatic. Many react with violence or anger, others may refuse to interact at all. They also become aware that they are different from others their age. The may realize they have few if any friends and they have no plans.

For some the feeling of not fitting in may cause them to retreat further into themselves, while for other it is a motivation to learn more social skills.

A high functioning autistic teen often adapts and fits in. But the severely autistic teen may not fit in and may not be able to care for himself and need to rely on others for basic needs.

The change from child to adult is always difficult and parents fear letting go. If their child is autistic the parent may now realize that life is much more difficult and may have to do planning for the teen that they had not expected to do because the teen isn’t leaving home to go to college, or to work, or even to get his own apartment. This can cause incredible stress for both the teen and the parents.

Author: Health Care on March 18, 2011
Category: Autism

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