PARENTAL APPROACH IN DEALING WITH TEEN AUTISM
For families with teenagers recently diagnosed with autism, early intervention services are most likely crashed out from the list of alternative treatment procedures and programs available for the teen. This could mean that most free community and government-sponsored options cannot be availed anymore for the diagnosed family member. Insurance coverage and sponsored services may also set age-specific limitations that would restrict the family from opting it for their autistic teen. At our current setting, it can be noted that most of these intervention services and training programs are highly focused on dealing with autism diagnosis of toddlers and kids. As the age of autism diagnosis rises, the number of available medical support options decreases, mainly due to the very nature of the disorder where younger individuals have more adaptive capabilities that produce better results. The remaining options presented to the family may prove financially inconvenient and unconventional. Not to mention that the teenager also has school responsibilities to worry about, it is not uncommon for families to settle with a home-based approach in dealing with their teen’s autism. If you have a teenager who is also diagnosed with autism and you think this option also fits your family set up, these following pointers may provide you with additional insights in properly addressing your teen’s autism condition through full-time parental care.
Teach the value of friendship and encourage your teen to make new friends
Socializing is rather one of the weakest areas for people in the spectrum. Aside from dealing with speech issues that only reduce your teen’s self-confidence to start a conversation with others, the difficulty of understanding communication cues such as body language and facial expression only make the matter worse for your teen. But instead of letting them lose hope and succumb to isolation, you have the power as the parent and motivator to encourage your teen to become braver in approaching this situation. First, you have to instill in them the importance of having friends and teach them the basic rules in making new friends and keeping this bond of friendship. Second, you have to emphasize the crucial point about finding other people who share the same interest with them, which is one of the easiest ways to fuel friendly conversations.
Enhance the usefulness of visual aids
Visual materials are really helpful for autistic teens as they begin to embrace a more independent life setting. The use of timetables, picture reminders, and colorful marked memos will greatly assist them in adapting to their daily schedule of activities and functions both at home and at school. Gadgets and watches can also help them keep track of their time and become more responsible with how they use it. Visual materials can also be used to present to your teen a set of future events or situations that are inevitable in nature. You can show a book or a movie that depicts these scenarios and then provide your child with the proper insights to properly respond to these scenarios.
Assist them with school-related stuff
The pressure from academic endeavors might overwhelm your teen if you don’t extend the much-needed help and guidance. As they find it difficult to multitask, your supervision can help them find the right direction and keep them on track with their schoolwork. Make a proper schedule for their school assignments and work with them if you can. Do not forget to ask about any school project and activities which your teen might need help with. Through constant training and reinforcement, your teen will eventually develop a systematic approach to dealing with school-related stuff. However, you must not be too strict and persistent about the accomplishment of these tasks to prevent your teen’s rebellious tendencies from surfacing.
Educate your teen about adolescence and express reassurance
Most autistic teens easily get overwhelmed by the various changes happening to their body especially when they don’t have a clue about what’s causing these changes and how it may affect their life. As the parent, it is your duty to teach your teen about the kind of phase they are currently undergoing in their life. Introduce to them the biological factors that spur these changes, and the concept of reproductive health and personal hygiene. As complex as it is, you have to prepare your teen about the possibility of social interactions that involve courtship and dating, and train them how to properly groom themselves and look presentable to others. While you are opening up these topics to your teen, assure them that you are always there ready to answer any questions regarding these areas and provide support.
Simulate social scenarios at home
Application of theoretical knowledge requires practice, which is why it is best to create a simulation of a real-life social scenario at home where your teen can train their skills. Prepare a set of scripts that you and your teen would act out according to the simulated place of engagement. You can agree to turn your living room into a classroom and act out conversations between classmates or between a teacher and a student. These home simulations will equip your teen with readily accessible social skills that they can use when they are in a specific social scenario.
Be more tolerant and understanding
Giving your teen more freedom with their life’s choices also equates to handing them more responsibilities to shoulder on their own. When they make mistakes, do not confront them just to point out that it’s their fault all the time. Because they are still learning, what they need the most is parental advice or guidance to do the right thing the next time around. Scolding and punishing your teen for every fault may only cause a rift in your relationship, turning them into their rebellious nature. If you want their transition to go as smooth as possible, you have to provide them with the ideal learning environment where you play the part of the adviser or teacher.