Teenagers with Asperger’s Spectrum Disorder are intimately familiar with the numerous challenges of negotiating their way through their daily school routines. Most teens and students transitioning to higher level educational face challenges, but these challenges are often heightened for ASD teens by the increased social/emotional and academic demands of their programs. Undoubtedly, ASD teens struggle with the expectations that academic programs place upon them with regard to social interaction, misinterpretation of social cues, and difficulty formulating and maintaining peer interactions.
Rigidity and concreteness of thinking combined with their focus on a particular subject positions them at a disadvantage and is often debilitating when they attempt to become an integral part of a new academic setting. In fact, it is not uncommon to observe that these teens have a propensity to isolate and avoid social situations and school and peer relationships.
Fortunately, there are organizations and programs available to assist ASD teens and young adults in facilitating their development of positive interactions with peers, comfort with conversations, and the ability to read social cues and develop empathy. All these skills are modeled and fostered through individual and group therapy sessions and a cohesive peer support group program.
Understanding the individual needs of teens with ASD is imperative to their ability to develop essential skill sets, peer relationships, and a flexible approach to tasks. Your children’s social emotional well-being is contingent upon this understanding as well as the opportunity for their academic and personal success. As teenagers, the next step is transitioning as young adults, and it is our responsibility to help guide and direct them along the way. Finding the right environment for ASD teens to reach their fullest potential is a crucial task.