Adolescence can be a very confusing and difficult time for kids with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism. The teenage years are complicated for all of us, especially for families who are unprepared for this time period. You are very wise to plan ahead for your family’s journey into adolescence. While planning ahead may not make the situation unfold painlessly, it will improve your chances for a smooth transition.
For kids with Aspergers, adolescence transition means much more than it does for typically developing kids. Areas of concern include:
- Appropriate knowledge of dating and sexuality
- Developing a healthy self-image
- Education issues like special considerations and allowances due to specific weakness and strengths
- Participation in all treatment options like classes, groups, therapy sessions, medications, etc.
- Social skills like communication, personal space, basic personal hygiene, etc.
It is especially important that you plan for all the issues that affect your youngster with Aspergers during the teen years. There are several treatment options that you can investigate. However, the family environment can be extremely effective with or without additional outside therapies. Here are some treatments you may choose to examine:
- Social-skills training for non-verbal communication, social cues and gestures, etc.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy for dealing with the feeling, emotion, and behavior connections
- Individual psychological counseling for talking through issues and making plans
- Career counseling to find the right career path for your youngster’s strengths and personality
- Medication to help with depression, anxiety, and/or hyperactivity
As another option for your youngster with Aspergers, adolescence transition can be handled by caring parents in the home environment. Here are a few suggestions:
- College and career planning: choosing a career, planning for college, trade school, technical school, etc.
- Daily living skills: personal hygiene, home management, money skills, etc.
- Organizational skills
- Time management
- Sex education: dating and sexuality knowledge
- Social development: making and keeping friends, keeping a job, etc.
For kids with Aspergers, the teenage years do not have to be especially difficult. Using a published guide, you can cover all of these transition areas and more.
The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook