According to Health Line, “Autism” is a local term used to describe a group of disorders that affect the development of the nervous system, leading to abnormal brain function. It may affect the way they emote, how they learn, their mannerism, and memory. It is sometimes also called be “Autism Spectrum Disorders” (ASD). Mostly, autism spectrum disorders are associated with problems of communication and social interaction. And here comes the question bothering most parents how to raise an autistic teenager
Suffice to say that an autistic teenager is a teen undergoing a brain-based, developmental disorder known as AUTISM. Teenagers suffering from autism have complications in communication, narrow interests, and repetitive behavior.
It’s not like this group of teenagers are different from others, but considering some factors, they are different and pose a whole set of challenges to their parents, peers, and teachers. This species of teenagers need special care and attention from their parents particularly.
Teenagers with autistic spectrum disorders have various ways of displaying their abilities as some have advanced conversation skills while others may be nonverbal.
What are the types of Autism
Autism – as we have established earlier exist in a spectrum of disability. Different defects are characteristic of different types of autism that exist.
The types of autism include the following:
- Asperger’s syndrome: those that fall into this set do not have a problem with language. In short, they tend to have a high intelligence quotient. However, they have social problems. They socialize later and find it extremely difficult to form connections.
- Children’s disintegrative disorder: In this type of autism, development in such a child is normal for the first two years, after which the child begins to lose communication skills. They also grow to lack interest in social relationships.
Signs of Autism in Teenagers
The rate of autism spectrum disorders is on the increase in society. Of course, one should be able to recognize a person suffering from autism to know the kind of treatment to recommend. These are common identity tags of autism:
- They experience delays in language skills
- Delayed movement skills
- Delayed cognitive or learning skills
- They have unusual eating and sleeping disorders
- Flapping of hands is also a common trait
- They follow certain routines
- They repeat words and phrases. This is known as echolalia.
- Misinterpretation of other people’s feelings
- They fear too much or they don’t fear at all
- Unusual mood or emotional reactions
- They are anxious, stressful and worry excessively
- They are easily upset by minor changes.
Causes of Autism
Autism Spectrum Disorders do not have anything to do with race, sex, religion, status. Family incomes cannot stop someone to have autism.
- Having immediate family members with autism is a close factor in having autism.
- A person being born to older parents is prone to having autism spectrum disorders.
- Experiencing low birth weight
- Suffering from fragile X syndrome and other genetic disorders.
- A history of viral infections.
How to raise an Autistic Teenager
Raising a teenager with autism can be synonymous with disciplining an autistic teenager. Raising and disciplining them can be taxing most times because they can be misunderstood.
As teens get older, so do the challenges of raising them. There are a lot of things that can present themselves as obstacles in raising an autistic teen. But here are some clues on how to raise an autistic teenager.
How to raise an autistic teenager – Useful Tips to alleviate the frustration
- Spending and building quality time: This might sound like a bit of common advice on how to relate with teens, but it is the most important thing to do in matters like this. Let them feel loved especially by the parents. Ask questions about their day-to-day activities, dreams, goals, fears, and many more. The essence of this is that they will be able to open up to you on a matter that has been bothering them.
- Present yourself as responsible parents: In this time and age, it might be a bit difficult to convince your teen regarding this point, but you should be able to do it. In the presence of your teen, know what to say, when, and how to say it. Try to make them feel loved and cared for.
- Getting them ready for the real world: You must give your ward the necessary skills to face the world outside there, take them out for special programs design to help an autistic teen.
- Praise and reward for appropriate behavior: Of course, when you’re teen does something worth praising, please, do so as this would make them feel encouraged. Tell them what you like about them. If you are capable, you can gift them presents.
- Clear rules about behavior: When rules are given, this means that you are expected to behave in line with the rules given. So, set rules for your teenager because not all habits will be condoned from him or her.
- Positive and negative consequences for appropriate and inappropriate behavior: For every action, there must be a consequence. So, let your teen know that if he or she should do something good, there is a consequence for it. The same goes for negative behavior. Do not hesitate to carry out the proper punishment for each bad habit.
Treatment of Autism
There are no permanent remedies for autism, but help has been made available for treatment through therapies. These can help teenagers feel better or ameliorate their symptoms. It should be noted that the kind of treatment a teenager gets for autism spectrum disorders depends on their individual needs. Some can suffer from mild symptoms and others may have severe symptoms. Due to the unique positioning of different individuals, there are different categories of treatments. The following therapies would go a long way in alleviating autism depending on the type of autism:
- Behavioral Therapy: Teenagers suffering from autism should be introduced to this therapy as it will help to develop and encourage positive behaviors in them. Most importantly, they will also learn new skills.
- Speech Therapy: Those that need this type of therapy have difficulty in social interactions; therefore, speech therapy is the best pick. This is a way to improve their communication skills and help them to communicate their wants and needs effectively. For those with severe symptoms, the use of gestures and sign languages will enhance their level of communication.
- Occupational Therapy: This therapy aims to improve the quality of life and the ability to perform daily activities. Occupational Therapy is often used as a treatment for the sense organs issues related to autism spectrum disorders, e.g., dressing, writing, etc. In teenager, occupational therapy focuses on improving social networking and increasing independence.
- Drug Therapy: This treatment can help relieve some behavioral symptoms of autism spectrum disorders such as aggression, irritability, self-injurious behavior, etc.
Related Post: Resources for Parents with special needs child
Autistic teenagers are often very difficult to deal with. Naturally, a child is more likely to have issues with social interactions during his teenage days. These issues – coupled with autistic disabilities – pose serious problems to parents and guardian. Professional help, if employed would go a long way in modeling these teenagers into the ideal kind of human being they would have been.