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How to Care for Autistic Teenagers

by Rose Welton

Caring for a teen with autism can be challenging and often involves issues related to social, behavioral and language difficulties, according to MayoClinic.com. Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that it affects different adolescents in different ways. Although your teen will not outgrow autism, she can learn to function well despite the difficulties, and you can work with her doctor to make sure she receives the best care possible.

Observe what makes your teen feel comfortable in areas that can be overwhelming for adolescents with autism, like touch, communication and scheduling. Your teen can become agitated by too much language interaction or hectic and inconsistent scheduling, so take the time to notice the specific things that spark frustration. Then, adjust accordingly with his specific needs in mind.

Follow any specialized care plan recommended by your teen’s doctor. Depending on where your teen falls on the autism spectrum, she might need a physical therapist, speech pathologist, behavioral therapist or child psychologist. According to MayoClinic.com, children with autism often respond well to highly structured education programs, so your teen’s doctor might also recommend a special-education program designed with her needs in mind.

Follow all medication suggestions given by your child’s doctor. Although no medication can cure autism, your teen’s doctor might prescribe medications to help control certain aspects of autism, like hyperactivity or anxiety. In order for the medications to be effective, follow the doctor’s recommendations consistently.

Look into community groups or other activity options in your area that function to help autistic teens. Such groups or activities can provide your teen with a structured and specialized place to socialize or to engage in activities she enjoys. According to KidsHealth.org, sports like karate can help your teen improve coordination and body awareness while providing routine that many children with autism work well with.

Consider committing your family to family-therapy sessions, if your child’s doctor thinks it’s a good idea and can refer a counselor who specializes in children with autism. Family therapy can help you and your teen’s other family members learn how to live together with as few complications as possible while helping you understand your teen’s social skills and daily living needs.

About the Author

Rose Welton is a journalism major and a freelance writer. Her education is focused on nutrition and early childhood studies, making her an expert when it comes to writing about health and children's growth and development. She has written numerous articles and blog posts on various topics for online publications and has also worked on an Internet news team.

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