Autism is a developmental disability that can be hard to understand. It affects social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and behavior. There are many misconceptions about autism in the media and society because it is so different from what most people experience daily. In this post, we will elaborate on some of the characteristics of autism in teens.
Fascination with objects
Children with autism may be fascinated by objects, patterns, or numbers. They might collect categories of things such as rocks or bottle caps, memorize information like maps or license plates, and spend hours watching the same video over and over again. These ‘special interests’ can take up most of their time and energy during the day; they’ll want to mention it all the time too! This is called “perseveration” – when a child keeps talking about one topic long after others find it boring.
Impairment in social relations
Autistic teenagers often have a hard time relating to others, and they might not understand social cues. They may struggle with the give-and-take of conversation or want to be hugged but dislike physical contact at the same time. Some teens may not want to be touched at all. They might have a hard time understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own emotions too. These characteristics of autism in teens can make it difficult for them to form friendships with peers, and they often prefer spending alone. Although teens on the spectrum may not pick up these kinds of life lessons naturally, many opportunities are available to help develop those essential communication skills. Some include therapy sessions and special programs designed specifically for children diagnosed with ASD who are teenagers now.
Restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior
Some autistic teens may show unusual behaviors such as hand flapping, rocking back and forth, or twirling around until they’re dizzy. These are called “stimming” – self-soothing behaviors that help them cope with overstimulation in their environment. Although stimming can be distracting to those who don’t understand it, these actions bring comfort and a sense of calm and focus for children on the spectrum. Parents are advised not to discourage these behaviors but instead try to reduce the anxiety the child might experience.
Difficulty following routines
Teens with autism may have difficulty following familiar routines, often because of their heightened sensitivity to change. They might make a big deal out of small changes in the household, like rearranging furniture or switching around the labels on food storage containers. Sometimes they want to stay exactly where they are and can get extremely upset if someone moves them. Teenagers with ASD respond best when there is consistency and predictability in daily life – be sure you explain what’s going on before making any sudden changes!
Sensitive to a particular texture
Some senses are more vital in kids on the spectrum. They may be sensitive to sounds, sights, smells, and textures – even the feel of certain clothing tags! These characteristics of autism can make them seem ‘odd’ or different from other children because they often have unusual reactions to everyday sensory experiences that others don’t notice. Parents are reminded to keep in mind the child’s preferences and accommodate them as much as possible.
As you can see, there are tons of characteristics of autism in teens that parents should be mindful of when raising a teenager with ASD. These children don’t just “grow out” of their symptoms. If you suspect your daughter or child may have ASD, then you can use teen autism quiz to find out. Those diagnosed early enough can learn coping mechanisms and develop skills that help them become independent adults capable of living on their own one day! But it all starts by learning more about these unique traits.