The teenage years are the time when parents of children with autism dread. There is a good reason for that, because behaviors will escalate at this time. My son turns 13 next year and I am prepping as well. But these tips I will use myself. I did some research and found these four tips on how to deal with teens with autism.
1. It is perfectly normal for a parent to feel anxious about a child’s approaching teenager years and more so, when the child is autistic. Many children lose control over their emotions and physical changes apart from mental changes mark the beginnings of adolescence for them. Parents need to educate themselves about information regarding bodily changes and emotional needs of teen kids so they can help their children deal with these transitions occurring in the children’s minds and bodies. However, learning about puberty and hormonal changes is not enough for the parents of an autistic child and knowing this experience is quite different from that of others is very important: this is because the wrong attitude and lack of sensitivity and tolerance towards changes adolescence brings to an autistic child can have long-term adverse effects on the child, which must be avoided at any cost.
2. Parents of autistic children approaching puberty must take care to learn about the various bodily changes that can affect their child’s well-being, both physical and mental as some changes can be good, others may be harmful for the child. One of these is seizures, which are a side effect an autistic person is likely to experience as his or her body changes. Witnessing a seizure may be scary for a parent but learning about dealing with such a situation is very important for both child and parent as it can lead to loss of bodily and mental functioning of the child and upset his or her equation with the world around them. Many a time, even children with no history of seizures may suffer them on reaching puberty due to bodily changes; some being violent and therefore more likely to scare caregivers. However, the thing to remember is speedy action and therapy for any kind of seizure even as a quarter go undiagnosed (being mild) besides regular medical check-ups to stay up to date with the child’s progress through puberty.
3. Hormonal changes in an autistic child’s body may result in various bodily functioning changing or a loss of certain functions, such as those experienced after suffering a seizure, but helping a child cope with these changes is crucial to their overall sense of well being. So, take the interest-building route for ensuring your child’s progress through the teen years: encourage new learning, picking up a skill or hobby-crafting etc. to help the child adjust to the changing social pattern and better behavior.
4. Don’t shy away from questioning your medical health expert about your child’s condition; closely monitor your child and report changes and new findings about physical and mental aspects of your child to help the doctor remain on top of the situation and give correct medical advise to make transition from childhood to adolescence a smooth one.
Autism parents need to keep hanging in there and keep finding solutions. Remember to plan for their futures as well!