As children approach and enter the teen years, they must deal with physical growth spurts, mind boggling hormone releases, and ever-changing and challenging social relationships. Children begin to care about being “cool,” and classmates may no longer be as tolerant of “differences”. For pre-adolescent children with ASD, these already complicated physical and social changes are compounded by the typical ASD-difficulties of reading social cues and understanding the behaviors of others. Consequently, children with ASD approaching adolescence have greater transition needs than most typically developing pre-teens.
Additionally, parents of pre-adolescent children also need support. By the end of elementary school, parents begin to look toward the future. They begin to think about what their children will be when they “grow-up” and worry if their children will ever “catch-up” academically and socially. Other concerns arise from the facts we know – preadolescence is a time children may develop seizures, can have greater trouble sleeping, and are faced with greater academic demands at school. All in all, the transition into adolescence is a difficult one and a time when many families realize ASD is a life-long disability that will require a life-time plan.
Watch and listen to Judith Miller, PhD talk about Autism Spectrum Disorder in Adolescence.
This was recorded in February, 2015 at the Next Steps into Adolescence Workshop.