Autism is a neurological disorder that is also referred to as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This disorder affects the way an individual’s body and brain works. Because autism is on a spectrum, no to individuals have the same characteristics or symptoms. In this guide, you are going to find information about the signs of autism in teens and the importance of knowing them. With these resources, you can decide when to reach out to ASD treatment programs to help your teen get the support that they need.
The Signs of Autism in Teens
According to information available from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), the signs of autism in teens are not that different compared to those in children and adults. Common signs include the following:
- Intensely focused or restricted behavioral patterns: These patterns sometimes include repetitive motor functions, like hand-flapping. They might also need to adhere to daily routines strictly, or that could result in distress if disruptions occur.
- Challenges with communication and social interactions: These challenges could include having difficulty with conversations or misunderstanding someone’s gestures.
- Challenges with social or workplace routines: If your teen has difficulty adjusting to the functions expected in social settings or their workplace, that could be a sign.
- Early developmental signs: As teens continue getting older, the signs that were difficult to spot during their early years are more apparent.
- Eye contact: Especially when talking to others, they use minimal or not any eye contact.
- Single-topic communication: Your teen might only want to talk about a single topic. If another comes up, not wanting to talk about it if it does not interest them.
- Time alone: If you notice that your teen prefers spending time alone or has little to no friends, those could be signs.
Treating the Signs of Autism
Searching for treatments for the signs of autism involves taking a different approach compared to treatments for younger children. When conducting your research, you are going to find that many programs are focusing on teens with autism and addressing their specific needs. These treatments aim to help teens as they go through puberty, develop self-esteem, make friends, understand and manage romantic and sexual feelings, and address mood changes.
Examples of teen autism treatment include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Also referred to as CBT, these therapies help teens adjust their behavior by changing their thought patterns.
- Modeling: Therapists show teens with autism how to perform a task or behave by “modeling” those actions or behaviors.
- Self-management techniques: As teens with autism navigate through their daily lives, these techniques aim to help them gain independence.
- Social skills training: This training teaches teens how to deal with social situations, including appropriate responses to them.
About Supporting Your Teen with Autism
Noticing the signs of autism in teens goes beyond that of researching what they are and available treatment options. If you notice any of these signs, that means you must take steps toward supporting your teen. That support could mean determining if there is applied behavioral analysis or targeted intervention for autism is available at their school, or if you need to make them an appointment at a facility.
If you notice signs of autism in your teen, take steps toward educating yourself as much as possible about autism. Then, learn everything you can about your teen. That means taking note of their behaviors, communication patterns, and if things are triggering specific responses.
For those who are searching for autism treatment options for teens, that does not have to be an overwhelming process. That search might include a series of questions or concerns about the signs of autism in teens. Then, you can get the answers you need. Contact your doctor today to learn more about these options and the help that is available to you.