Autism in teenagers is very difficult for many reasons. Teenage autism is combined with the hormonal growth of teenagers going through puberty and autism at the same time. Learning skills and strategies to deal with teenagers with autism is a must!
Most of the media’s attention whenever it comes to autism is centered around parents and their young children. However, these young children will sooner or later grow up to become teenagers and young adults with autism. Now it is no longer a question of which autism intervention they should try but it is now a matter of helping their child transition to young adulthood. Herein there are a lot of considerations that must be made.
Extending High School For A Teen With Autism
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A lot of children who have autism, Asperger’s Syndrome or who are high functioning on the autism spectrum don’t graduate from high school at the typical age (i.e. 17, 18). Instead, they remain within the high school system until they are 21-years-old so that they can continue to receive the services that they need, which have been set forth in their Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This can be even more confusing than navigating the special education system itself has been. For this reason, it is important for parents of teens with autism to start planning early on (usually just as soon as a child starts high school).
Attending College In An Autism’s Late Teens
Today an increasing number of autistic teenagers are going off to college. Fortunately, there are more college resources available for families to utilize today. In fact, most colleges have now created a special mentoring program for autistic individuals that attend their school. This is great because there is a surge in the number of people who are requesting this type of information.
There are also a lot of people on campus who want information about what autism is now that it has garnered more media attention. With this increase in knowledge, it has become easier for young adults who have autism to be able to transition to college. Learning about autism in teenagers is a way to help colleges deal with the rising number of autistic children coming to college.
Preparing For The Work World In Teenage Autistic Children
It is vital that autistic teens choose a career that focuses on their strengths. While most autistic people have a lot of different strengths and abilities (i.e. drawing, making things, working with numbers), it is important to find the ones that truly interest them. From there it is important to make a gradual transition into the workforce. Things like mentors, volunteer work and freelance work should be used to help with this transition.
Mentoring can be very important whenever it comes to the success of autistic individuals. A mentor can give them advice, while also inspiring and guiding the individual in their career journey. Schoolteachers who work in the child’s area of interest, family members and professionals who are already working in the child’s chosen field can all serve as a mentor. They simply need to be able to encourage the child and give them both direction and information whenever needed.
There are also a lot of public service agencies (i.e. state employment offices, state vocational rehabilitation offices, social service agencies, mental health agencies, disability-specific organizations) available to help connect people with special needs to potential employers. This type of support can be critical but there is a lengthy paperwork process that you must undergo, so get started while still in high school.
Job Training And Support For Teens With Autism
While in high school autistic children should access job training. Most schools have programs that will provide you with school credit for work experience. These programs will help you obtain the skills that you need in order to get and keep a job. There are also vocational work classes for lower functioning students available. They will usually provide you with a job coach. Some schools also have a lot of different elective programs available that will help you with the training that you need for a variety of careers.
Build A Portfolio For Autistic Teenagers In High School
High school is also the time when your child should start working on building a portfolio because it will take some time to put together. This is essential for people with autism so that they can sell their skills rather than themselves. Included herein should be pictures or examples of their best work.
Preparing Autistic Teens For Employment
It can sometimes be challenging for autistic individuals to obtain employment. However, the right preparation can reduce those challenges and bring success. The right support and training are a must though. Studies have actually shown that autistic teenagers who receive this support and training garner a better employment future.