Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is a name that describes an array of neurodevelopmental disorders that are visible through specific behaviors, communication methods and the manner in which social interactions.
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Autism is referred to as an “spectrum disorder” because the manifest signs of autism vary that ranges from “mild” (not very noticeable) to “severe” (very noticeable) in comparison to the characteristics of neurotypical which is basically what’s known as”the norm. “social norm.”
In the most recent issue of Diagnostic and Statistical Handbook of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)Trusted Source, doctors diagnose ASD by recognizing a number of important indicators. The signs of ASD differ widely from one person to person.
The signs also alter with age: ASD signs you experience when you were a kid could differ from the ones you see as a teen.
Let’s discuss what most common symptoms of ASD appear like in teens and the steps you need to take in the event that you or your teen child has ASD or if concerned that autism could be disrupting your or your teenager’s life.
What are typical indicators of autism among teenagers?
The visible symptoms of ASD differ for every person.
However, the symptoms of autism among teenagers aren’t similar to those of adults or children.
Here’s a short overview of the autism diagnostic criteria as per the DSM-5:
- encountering difficulties in social interactions and communicating like engaging in conversations or misinterpreting gestures
- being extremely restricted or focused behaviour patterns that are repetitive, for example hand-flapping or strict adherence to a routine that is to the point of feeling anxious in the event that these patterns are altered
- visible symptoms of autism can be identified as early on in the development although they’re not immediately apparent at first, since they could appear more obvious as the child grows older.
- autism symptoms cause obvious difficulties in to adapting to the roles expected of the workplace or in social settings.
- autism indicators aren’t evidently part of an intellectual impairment or a diagnosis of a developmental disorder (although they are able to be identified in conjunction with each other)
The signs are also identified in accordance with the severity of their “severity.”
Certain autistic individuals may exhibit just “mild” forms of these indications. Others may have “severe” forms that disrupt their ability to adapt to normal social and communication patterns.
This is the reason why many believe it’s important to receive diagnosed and treated as early as you can.
An “severe” diagnosis may help people gain access to the support they need to adapt to these expectations as they age and when adjustments become more essential to self-sufficiency.
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What time do signs usually begin to show up?
The signs of ASD are able to alter between childhood and adulthood. In many instances autism cannot by definition be identified until its symptoms are evident at a young age to ensure that a consistent pattern of behavior can be identified.
There’s no precise date when symptoms of autism become evident in your teenager.
However, as with many teenagers it is possible to observe emotional and behavioral changes as they enter puberty typically between 11-13 years old.
Autism signs may be more apparent as they enter high and middle school, when social interactions tend to become more essential to a teenager’s.
What do you do if you suspect your child is autistic?
Autism isn’t treatable. It’s part of your teenager’s character and self-esteem.
Help your teenager discover who they are , and help them learn to accept and love them, especially when they’re concerned about not being accepted by others.
First, consult first a physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist who is specialized in autism. They’ll explain the ways in which autism is diagnosedTrusted Source which includes:
- keeping track of your teen’s progress by keeping a list of the most common developmental milestones
- conducting a thorough behavioral assessment
- Discovering what resources might enable your teen to overcome difficulties in adjusting to norms of neurotypical behavior and becoming self-sufficient
What can you do to help an autistic teenager?
As the symptoms of autism are different for every person and the results for autistic individuals will be different for every individual.
The first thing to remember is that your child (or your own!) isn’t deficient or impaired.
However, they might require access to resources that will assist them in adjusting to norms of neurotypical behavior dependent on the extent to which their ASD has been classified with the diagnosis of “mild” or “severe.”
Here’s how to help your teenager feel accepted and loved by those around them as well as ways you can help them feel comfortable and accepted by others.
Be aware of autism.
The latest resources to help understand the autism spectrum and living it come out almost every day.
Discuss with doctors, researchers or speech pathologists with experience in autism:
- more information about autism and how it functions
- What happens in a neurodivergent brain
- How do you be an advocate for your child in the event that others don’t recognize who they are.
Explore a variety of books and browse online sources, too. Here are a few:
- ” A Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism” by Shannon Des Roches Rosa
- ” Uniquely Human” by Barry Prizant
- ” Neurotribes” by Steve Silberman — a complete work about the origins, diagnosis and the growing understanding of what autism really is (and isn’t)
- Autism Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN)
- Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network (AWNN)
Find out everything you can about your teenager
The majority of parents do this (and it can drive teens crazy). However, if your child has autism and you’re unsure what to do, talk to them!
Engage in a lively conversation with your teenager. Have them tell the truth about what’s going on in their head, or record their thoughts.
If your teenager doesn’t possess the writing or verbal capacity to communicate their thoughts or feelings to you. It’s vital to watch their behaviour and note the factors that trigger certain behavior behaviors.
Discover what can (and isn’t) help to reduce actions that can disrupt their ability to make the most value from the resources they can access.
If you suspect that the behavior of your child can be unsettling or hindering their ability to achieve in the ways they’ve expressed an interest in, try to eliminate the triggers, or help your child find strategies to deal with the situation.
Here are some suggestions:
- Are bright lights a trigger? Make sure the lights are dim within your home.
- Loud sounds can distract them or trigger their senses to over-stimulate them? Purchase them noise-canceling headphones , or earplugs.
- Are you a parent who is experiencing emotional? Allow them to be at ease, and be patient. Do not yell, cause them to feel embarrassed, or react with violence or hurtful language.
Accept them as they are.
No matter what message parents of autistic teenagers receive from the organizations and people surrounding them, there’s nothing wrong with your child. There is no need to be repaired.
Instead, make your teen feel loved. Be sure to include them in all your family gatherings. Participate in their most loved activities.
Respect their boundaries, either they are allowed to have their own group of friends and interests or by allowing their privacy whenever they want it.
Be consistent and be supportive
Autism isn’t going to “go away” or “get better.” It’s the teen’s
It’s essential to care for your child because they are not just facing the usual difficulties of being a teenager but also the additional stress of conforming to normative norms.
A consistent effort to maintain an atmosphere that is welcoming and positive can have an enormous impact on their lives after teenage years.
In helping your child learn habits or life skills that they are struggling with could be another form of help. To develop the skills needed on these topics, you could:
- Find a psychologist or psychiatrist who can assist your teenager deal with personal issues. They can also prescribe medication to treat anxiousness, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or other ailments that could impact your teenager’s sense of fulfillment in their lives or be seen as disruptive.
- Talk to an expert in speech therapy for help with any communication difficulties or to do the therapy of speech.
- Contact an psychologist for help with routines, games, or routines that are disruptive to the activities your teenager would like to engage in.
- Consult an dietitian who might be able to optimize your child’s diet and supplementation intake to lessen their exposure to challenging behavior or feelings.