Autism in Teenagers


Has your little baby changed haha !?!

Autism in teenagers can be rough or it can be beautiful. Let me explain.

Sometimes an autism diagnosis is made when a child is older. This might be because the symptoms were subtle when the child was younger, but now certain things are more pronounced.

Typically, it’s the social aspect of life that is more noticeable. Socialization becomes a larger part of the life of the teenager, and the difference is more noticeable. Autism is diagnosed based on observations. As of now, there is no lab test that is used to diagnose autism. Many times these children did not have a speech delay, but there might be certain unique ways that they use speech. The important thing to do is to work with a specialist.

If you suspect autism in your teenager or if you are a teenager yourself and wonder about autism, get an appointment with an autism specialist. It’s important to get the right diagnosis. If you suspect autism, work with an autism specialist on evaluating and assessing for autism. I have other posts on who makes the autism diagnosis, how long it takes to make a diagnosis, and how to test for autism. But let’s go on about autism in teenagers.

Many times, hobbies and fun times, hangouts and all that stuff is what parents worry the most about with autism in teenagers. They might seem isolated and unmotivated to do anything. This is related to intrinsic motivation – hobbies, friends, hanging out. They’re all important ways to de-stress. And when someone doesn’t know how to do this, then stress just builds up, and stress build-up is important to manage because researchers have now defined autistic burnout. I have a separate post on what autistic burnout is and all the details, I go through the science that has been published and it would be important for you to watch because I walk you through all of that science on this new definition.

Your doctor, your general doctor probably does not know about this!

And another concern about autism in teenagers is what they will do to support themselves and be independent. The unemployment rate for those with autism is really high. It’s about 85%!

Yes, 85% of those with autism and a college degree are unemployed. Not having a job just contributes to a lot of downward spirals. Not having a job increases social isolation as well as not having money to go out and do things with others.

So you can see how this can become a downward spiral.

Typically, interviewing is the most difficult and stressful aspect to successfully find a job. And those with autism have additional challenges in these areas. Autism in teenagers can be a stressful time filled with worry and overprotection, or it can be a time where your child can grow. They can experience some failures and their determination for a great life can grow. You can help guide them, but you can’t force them to do anything.

Having open and honest conversations is the most important aspect to maintain. You might not want them living with you past a certain age, right? Or maybe if they do live with you, you want them to contribute to the household. These are all things to discuss openly. They need to know what their responsibilities are. That’s where motivation comes from. Your child can succeed, but don’t be afraid to let them fail so that they can succeed on their own.