You watch, helpless, as your once precocious child is growing into an independent and hormonal adolescent.
Only your teen has the added layer of complication of being on the spectrum. You knew life would not be easy when you first received his autistic diagnosis. But nothing could prepare you for autism and hormones at the same time.
You want the very best for your child. So how can you help them survive this tumultuous time of teenage angst? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Read on for five tips to help your autistic teenager not only survive but thrive during their teen years.
1. Keep the Schedule but Give Control
Schedules and routines can be life-savers for those with autism as well as for those living with them. However, as your precious child grows into their teen years, give them more control over creating their schedule themselves.
This can help them to feel in control while still giving you the peace of mind that comes with having a schedule
2. Encourage Your Autistic Teenager to Drive
Along with gaining more control, teenagers are desperate for more independence. And your autistic teen is no different from his neurotypical friends.
With the help of a special needs driving instructor, your teen can drive just like the rest of their friends. Having this independence will help them to feel like they’re growing up and thriving.
3. Let Them Go at Their Own Pace
Everyone develops at different ages and with different stages. This can be especially true for those on the spectrum. Allow your teenager to embrace their own pace and learning methods, and realize they will likely be quite different from your preference.
But that’s okay, allow them to find this for themselves as it will carry with them into their adult years.
4. Remind Them Daily That High School Is Only 4 Years Long
While they are in the depths of high school, it can seem like a million years of pain and suffering. But with some encouragement from you and frequent reminders, your autistic teen will also grow out of this awkward stage.
Help them find their strengths and encourage them to explore them more in-depth. Find the resources in your teen’s school so they can get the autism help they deserve from professionals you can trust.
5. Remind Them Daily You Love and Accept Them
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if your angsty teen is on the spectrum or not. They simply want their parents to love and accept them. Remind them of this every day, multiple times a day.
Remind them that you accept them for who they are and, as mentioned, encourage them to find what makes them happy and pursue that relentlessly.
Your Child Can Thrive Through Their Teen Years
Dealing with autism in teens can be an entirely different kind of challenge. But you’re a loving and devoted parent, nothing will stop you from ensuring your smart and talented teen thrives.
Sure, there might be some challenges that other parents don’t have, but there will also be other rewards that other parents never get. Your autistic teenager has many of their own special talents and strengths that they wouldn’t have without being on the spectrum.
Embrace what makes them unique while allowing them to grow into their skin and take on the new challenges of growing from child to teenager to young adult.
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