If a teenager is autistic, then the condition is usually with the person for life. Autism is not a disease which can be caught, and from which recovery is possible, it is a condition whereby the communication, social and thinking skill are severely affected.
Whilst it is possible for some teens to live a reasonably normal lifestyle if cared for properly, others who are severely affected need constant and special attention. The three main problems with an autistic teens are the language disorder associated with communication skills, the self chosen loneliness due to the lack of social skills and the obsessive repetitive behavior pattern.
Teen Autism and Communication Problems.
Teens suffering from autism have a problem with language, they have great difficulty with the spoken word and do not understand the language of expression, like smiling to show happiness or frowning to show displeasure. This means that autistic teens very often—
n Seldom look a person directly eye to eye.
n Do not change their facial expression or tone of voice.
n Indicate their feelings by change of posture or stance, and will not use gestures to point out objects or to make a positive or negative sign.
n Show signs of deafness because they do not react to situations around them, and may not answer their name when called.
n Many times they will believe what is said to them literally, if a person were to say to the “I’m so tired I could sleep for a week” the autistic teen would believe the person and expect him/her to sleep for a week!!
Because of these communication problems, then it is obvious that the autistic teen has huge difficulties with any form of interaction with others.
Teen Autism and Social Problems.
Because of the difficulties encountered with communication, then the autistic teen has little opportunity to experience normal social activities, in fact many prefer not to have any contact with the outside world and to live in their own world.
n A teen in this condition will need special kinds of help to learn, and understand the rules which govern just how people behave in certain social situations.
n An autistic person is often thought of as being egocentric or totally self centred giving no thought as to their affect on other people, and are often unaware if the feelings of other people.
Teen Autism and Repetitive Behavior.
Teens suffering from autism will exhibit unusual and difficult behavior patterns, they like to follow routines and become easily upset if the established routine is broken, other abnormal behavior patterns are—
n A tendency to inflict injury to themselves and have obsessive in activities or places, they will be unwilling to talk about such obsessions.
n Strange body movements from which the teen gains comfort, like body rocking, head banging and hand flapping.
n Showing an extreme sensitivity to sounds, colours, tastes and smells, and being touched by others.
n Some teen autistics (Savants) paradoxically can show artistic talent with good memory, drawing and music skills.
n Repeating things said. If a person says to the teen “Hi Jimmy” the autistic may sit and repeat the phrase “Hi Jimmy” over and over.
Currently there is no cure for autism, and the teen will have to learn to live and cope with the condition. For the severe cases of autism, special education and behavior management programs are available in most locations which can help teens to improve their communication and social skills.
Whilst there are many therapeutic treatments available also, but apart from the expense involved, have shown to be of little or no effect.
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