Helping Your Autistic Child Cope with the Onset of Adolescence
As children mature, hormonal changes will often incite moodiness and behavioral issues at some point during the pubescent period. As if that wasn’t difficult enough, their bodies are also going through shifts – growth spurts happen, voices drop, their skin and hair changes causing greater feelings of insecurity.
While it is difficult for all young adults and teenagers to get into the swing of new routines such as showering more often, shaving, acquiring a couple of extra undergarments for their wardrobe without refusal – imagine how going through puberty affects a child with autism. How to help someone during this period when they already have a social disability, and have gotten used to their current routine? How to teach them once more to become independent when new activities are introduced into their day to day lives without upsetting them?
Adolescents with autism need additional coping support during this uncomfortable time, especially as their social interactions start becoming more emotionally layered, and the material taught in schools becomes increasingly more sophisticated.
If you live in the GTA, the good news is that there is a wide array of treatment options available. At Simone Friedman SLS, for example, clinicians work with autistic adolescents, and adolescents with other forms of ASD like Asperger’s on their social communication skills; preparing them for the demands of high school, college, and the workforce. Speech-language pathologists will work with your child to help them develop the executive functioning needed to for example, organize their day, or comprehend information to make their own decisions about what route to take in a given situation.
Moreover, autism therapy in Toronto can also help with memory, enabling children with autism to turn to their past experiences for guidance as they learn to be more autonomous. During the adolescent years, social communication grows in complexity. A child’s peers will use body language in attempt to communicate or insinuate their needs; they won’t always say outwardly what they are feeling, deflecting with sarcasm. This can be very difficult for someone whose mind doesn’t easily pick up on these cues. They can help your child navigate through these relationships, maintain friendships while fostering new ones, cope with friendships ending, combat bullying, and better understand the onset of physical and romantic feelings.
In middle school and high school, the dynamic between teachers and students tends to change as well. A child no longer has the safety or security of a single classroom or a single educator; they may not always be given the same amount of attention and reliability they’re used to. Moving from class to class can make them feels stressed and disorganized, which doesn’t help if they are already finding the subject matter challenging. In college, this need to study independently is emphasized even more.
Autism therapy can help determine your child’s educational profile, assessing their strengths and weaknesses. It will include a Speech-Language Pathology Evaluation, testing their language and communication skills, reading, writing, executive functions, attention span, ability to problem solve, and their memory – developing a personalized plan. And they can also pair your child with an occupational therapist to help them with cooking, budgeting, hygiene, and chores as they practise living more independently.
Should your child be ready to enter the workforce, Simone Friedman and associates can help with the transition. They will research which vocations would be suitable; teaching them how to job search, write resumes or cover letters, and work with them on their interviewing skills. They also provide on the job coaching for your child, and support for their employer. Give them a call to discuss how they can help your autistic child transition into adolescence and adulthood today.