If you are the parents of an autistic person, who is a teenager or about to become one, you are probably concerned as to, how to adjust, or face this time of their life. Autism is a disorder that has been given prime attention in the public eye for children who are very young. There are people who do not understand autism, and believe the disorder is found only in very young children without taking into consideration of how it affects the critical teenage years. This is not true of all people with autism, for the fact that, many of them do cope, learn to function, by their teenage years and become well-adjusted young adults.
The teenage years are difficult for any young person, but to add autism to those years, makes it harder to understand with the day to day issues teenagers have to face. This is a time where social interaction is very important. If you have social difficulties due to autism with a teenager, there could be a conflict of making friends or being comfortable in your surroundings. Many teenagers who do not understand autism, may be inclined to think of the individuals they know who do have the disorder, are different or label them "weird," simply because the person with autism, may have trouble communicating their feelings. This can lead to bullying, by treating the young adult with autism, as a social outcast, which could create loneliness, and depression in some autistic teenagers.
One of the problems parents with young adults, who have autism will encounter, is adolescent sexuality. Autistic teenagers, may become upset that they are not dating as their peers do, or able to attend teenage parties, and other activities. This could upset them and cause frustration.
It is imperative, to recognize that autism affects people differently. If the teenager is referred to as a "high functioning" autistic, the peers of the young adult, will probably not notice any differences, and the teenager may function in what is considered to be a normal society. They probably will be able to participate in the same classes in school as other people their age, and learn as their classmates do. Some young adults with autism, have more physically noticeable characteristics, making it complex to function in school. Some teenagers require one on one tutoring or different schools that are more focused on the needs of an autistic individual.
The key is awareness, of an autistic person as they become a teenager. In addition, they will need encouragement, to realize that they too have a special place in our society with other teenagers. Parents can help their teenagers recognize what is considered to be normal social behaviors, and teach them to imitate those behaviors, so they will feel less socially awkward. It is important to keep the school involved in the progress and the needs of your teenager. How to guide autistic teenagers, is give them family support with love, patience, understanding, and encouragement. Taking these four areas into consideration, will make it easier to go through the teenage years and the years leading into adulthood.
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