Autism and Adolescence

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Autism and Adolescence

Adolescence is a difficult time for any child transitioning through this stage of life. Individuals with autism are faced with unique challenges relevant to their particular level of functioning. Individuals with high-functioning autism may be particularly sensitive during their adolescent years. While they may be aware other teens have friends, they may lack the social skills to make friends of their own. Navigating social situations does not come naturally for them. They cannot pick up the subtle cues other teens use to express how they feel about another person. Sarcasm is frequently used in conversation at this age and is often missed or interpreted literally by the person with Asperger's. In addition, some adolescents with autism have difficulty understanding modesty and the delicate social rules when it comes to sexuality. Parents and caregivers will need to be direct with their child, making sure that boundaries are very clear. Regardless of the child's level of functionality, Social Stories are often an effective means of helping them to understand what behaviors are appropriate, especially if picutres are uses. Likewise, many schools offer social skill groups which can help children learn how to interact with peers. Speech therapists can also incorporate social skills in their sessions, teaching students basic conversation skills which might not otherwise come naturally for them.



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