When boys become teenagers, it is not uncommon for them to stop communicating, to become less compliant and to experience more mood swings in one day than most people go through in a week. When your autistic teenage son enters his teen years, he’s very likely to do the same. Author and autism expert Chantal Sicile-Kira, writing at PsychologyToday.com, says your autistic teen experiences the same hormonal changes and imbalances as any other teen during these years.
Talk to your son regularly about bullies. According to information uncovered in a 2011 study led by Elizabeth A. Kelley, assistant professor of psychology at Queens University, high-functioning autistic teens are more likely to be targeted by bullies. Ensure that your son knows to talk to you or a trusted adult anytime he feels he is being victimized by a bully. Talking to him regularly can help remind him that you are on his side.
Understand that moodiness is something most teens go through, regardless of whether they have autism, advises Sicile-Kira. It can help you deal with your autistic teenage son’s increasing moodiness to understand that this is a normal behavior of most teens and not something related to his autism.
Discuss changes in your son’s body before they occur during the teenage years, advises Sicile-Kira. Change isn’t necessarily easy on most people, but for a teenage boy with autism it can be particularly challenging. Since autistic children prefer routine and control, the changes in your son’s body might make him feel uncomfortable, scared and confused. Talking to him about what to expect, such as changes in the body parts, hair growing in places he might not expect and even that his voice will change can help him prepare for these changes and ease the anxiety he feels when he begins to notice them taking place.
Help your son learn how to interact with his classmates and peers by modeling appropriate social interaction for him. According to Kids Health, teens with autism often find it difficult to socialize and they become confused and stressed trying to talk to others. By taking your son out in public and allowing him to watch you interact with others, you give him a good example of what proper engagement with others looks like.