For young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the teenage years are often even harder
People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experience social and communication difficulties that make engaging socially and making friends challenging. They have greater difficulty responding to many of the non-verbal forms of communication that many of us take for granted, like eye contact or facial expressions. Change and transition can also be difficult: like the transitions from childhood to adolescence and from adolescence to adulthood. (1).
Children and teens with ASD are at higher risk of being teased and bullied
Children and teens with ASD are at high risk of being teased and bullied. Problems with social skills can make it harder for young people with ASD to recognise the difference between friendliness and bullying and vice versa. Specific mannerisms that a person with ASD may show such as hand flapping, may also make them a target of bullies. (2)
Children and teens with ASD are at higher risk of anxiety and depression
Anxiety is extremely common and occurs at a much higher rate than among teenagers with ASD. Depression can also occur, especially when teenagers become aware of their differences and experience difficulty fitting in. (3)
Professor Nicole Rinehart, Head of the Deakin Child Study Centre, said because adolescence that for those with ASD, "It can be more complex to move through what is already a complex maze for adolescents".
"We do know that if you've got an ASD you're at greater risk of anxiety and depression so this is trying to take a preventative approach, having a look at how kids are tracking before they move into a period of struggle." (4)
Having good relationships and a support network can help young people with ASD
Professor Rinehart said that it was well established that having good relationships, a circle of friends and a sense of purpose and achievement were important to people's satisfaction with their lives, but these things were often difficult for people with ASD.
FREE social skills group for kids with autism
Inspiro runs Autism Spectrum Kids (ASK) - a free social skills development group for young people age 12–17 years with ASD. The program offers a space for participants to learn skills for social problem solving and managing emotions in a small group setting. Click here to find out more.
- (1) & (2) Amaze; Autism Awareness Australia
- (3) Autism Awareness Australia
- (4) How autism can make the teenage years even tougher, by Clare Kermond, 7 May 2018, The Sydney Morning Herald.
For information or to make a referral, contact our youth counsellors Hayley, Vanessa or Sabatinie at Inspiro on 9028 0153