Supporting a Teenager with Autism

Autism is a disorder that affects approx 1 in every 150 people born. The symptoms of autism include: social awareness deficits, communication deficits, imagination deficits, in many stereotypical behaviours and in most autistics sensory processing issues.

The teenage years are for the majority of us our most social years. But for teenagers with autism the teenage years can be stressful and confusing. During adolescents we develop socially what we say and how we act becomes important in the eyes of our peers.

So how do you cope if you don’t really understand the added pressure being an adolescent can bring with it?

Supporting a teenager with autism is very important especially during puberty.

For many teens with ASD using visual supports is beneficial. Typically those with autism ARE visual thinkers and learners, therefore visual supports ARE easier for the teen to understand.

Visual supports have been around for a long time and have been proven to work very well for those with autism. There are many different autism supports such as: social skills stories, PECS, flash cards, visual timetables and so on.

Today I am going to concentrate on probably the most significant of the autism supports – social skills stories for teenagers with autism.

Characteristically social stories ARE used to teach and re-enforce skills and behaviours that the person with autism is struggling with. For example a teen with ASD will have social awareness deficits, which could result in social isolation and misinterpretations of activities or events.

Social stories act like a visual plan or framework of a skill or behaviour that needs teaching or re-enforcing. The social story will break down the skill or behaviour into smaller easier to understand sections, using first person text and visual images / pictures it will describe the skill or situation from the child’s own perspective.

So for example during puberty our bodies develop and we need to be aware of personal hygiene – a social story can  help explain the need for this, as well as help re-assure the teen with ASD that what is happening to their body is perfectly normal.

The social story for teens with ASD should answer the “wh” questions – who, what, where, when and why as well as “how” and provide an insight into the thoughts and feelings of others which is an area of marked weakness for those with autism.

A social story for teens with ASD should help pave the way for positive behaviours, help with transitions, changes to routines, self – help skills, social awareness deficits, communication deficits and so on.

To find suitable social skills stories for teenagers with autism visit: http://www.autismsocialstories.com/autistic_teens

Or http://www.autismsocialstories.com

The Terrible Teens – Dealing with Autistic Teenagers

For most parents, one of the most trying times in their lives is during their child’s teenage years. “The teenage years” and dealing with autistic teenagers is not easy!

When puberty hits, young adults go through serious changes in their bodies and minds, and parents have little or no control over many situations. In an autistic child, puberty is no different. Although your autistic child is not experiencing puberty in quite the same ways as others his or her age, major hormonal changes still occur in the body. This can lead to extreme results, and this can be either good or bad depending on how your child reacts to the new hormone levels.

One of the scariest side effects of changes for autistic teenagers is the onset of seizures.

Many autistic individuals experience seizures from birth right through to adulthood. However, even if your ASD child does not suffer from these episodes, he or she may begin to experience seizures during puberty and afterwards, due to the new levels of hormones in their body.

Almost a quarter of autistic children experience seizures, but many go undetected because they are not textbook versions of seizures.

If you recognize that your ASD child is experiencing a seizure, you should contact your G.P., he/she will be able to prescribe medications or treatments which will help your autistic teen.

However, if the seizures are subconsciously happening, you and your child may not realize it. The result of these small hidden seizures can be a loss in function, which can be disruptive, especially if you child was improving before puberty. Regular check-ups during puberty, therefore, are extremely important.

The changes many autistic children go through are not necessarily be a bad thing. New hormone levels in the body and the other changes associated with puberty can help your autistic child grow and succeed in areas he or she normally had no skill or interest.

Many parents report that their teen’s behavior improved, and that learning in social settings has become easier.

The important thing about puberty is to learn to monitor the changes in your ASD child very carefully and to ask your doctor lots of questions.

Remember that puberty is a difficult experience for any young adult, and so it will be even more difficult for autistic individuals.

Try using supports for autism and puberty with your aspie teen. Supports like social stories ARE effective around this time of life.

Typically an aspie teen may not understand what is happening to them and CAN become withdrawn, stressed and feel isolated.

The benefit of using supports for autism and puberty like social skills stories for teenagers with autism is that the social story CAN become like a friend (a visual plan or framework) detailing to the teen with autism exactly what is happening and why as well as giving them possible outcomes and suggest behaviors

The social story will answer the “wh questions – who, what, why, where and when” as well as “HOW” and will offer the teen with autism an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others which is an area of marked weakness in many autistic individuals.

To learn more about The teenage years – dealing with autistic teenagers with supports for autism and puberty like social skills stories for teenagers with autism visit:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/autistic_teens

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/asperger_adolescents

http://www.autismsocialstories.com/hygiene

 

 

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