ERIC Number: EJ880861
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Preparing Adolescents with Autism for Successful Futures
Frea, William D.
Exceptional Parent, v40 n4 p26-29 Apr 2010
Adolescents on the autism spectrum have unique challenges that are often hard for their parents, teachers, and peers to understand. While adolescence is a difficult time for most people, it is especially tough for teens who struggle to understand ever-changing social expectations. Since people on the autism spectrum rely on consistency and predictable social environments, they enter this phase of life at an extreme disadvantage. Supporting them during adolescence requires an understanding of the syndrome and knowledge about strategies that will give them the skills they will need to thrive and reach their potential. Without the right support, adolescents on the autism spectrum retreat into themselves during this period. They express extreme loneliness and confusion, and are at risk for acting out behaviorally. There is an increased risk of depression and suicide during these years as well. As unpredictable as their social world is during adolescence, their response to this stress can be equally unpredictable. Students with autism present a different set of challenges than students with other developmental disorders. While most children with special needs are very social and readily express their needs and wants, students on the autism spectrum struggle with communication and social understanding. Their behavior can appear unpredictable to an untrained professional. As they enter adolescence, the volume gets turned up on every aspect of this syndrome. While educators are struggling to find a way to better serve these students, more parents are struggling to cope with their child's adolescence as well. Individuals with autism have very different characteristics. They range from being nonverbal to very expressive. Some struggle with the simplest of social interactions, while others interact readily but inappropriately. Behavioral challenges can range from refusing to make eye contact to physical aggression. Compulsive behavior can be as simple as wanting their desk arranged the same way each day or as complex as body rocking or repeating the same sentence over and over. This article discusses ways to prepare adolescents with autism for successful futures.
Descriptors: Aggression, Autism, Adolescents, Depression (Psychology), Special Needs Students, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, At Risk Persons, Mental Health, Interpersonal Relationship, Symptoms (Individual Disorders), Behavior Problems, Quality of Life, Educational Environment
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
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