How to Recognize the Signs of Autism in Your Teen

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3 years ago
Topics: Autism, Autistic, Lifestyle, Tips, Teen, ...

It wasn't until my son turned 17  that he was officially diagnosed with moderate autism. One of the biggest reasons his diagnosis came so late in life was because our resources were limited in our small community, so it was a very difficult process to get him properly diagnosed. 

To say the least it was a struggle that lasted for almost 9 years due to his mental health file being lost or misplaced in a filing cabinet or simply forgetfulness. By the time I had managed to get my foot in their door again, I was turned away stating that they no longer tested for autism. My son had been dissed and dismissed once more. 

But after 9 years of being put off about getting the help he needed, I was determined and took the matter to a local special needs center who pointed me in the right direction and the battle was won, the facility agreed to test my son for autism, a test they had once stated they could no longer do. 

It was a fight that took nearly a year, but one that resulted in a clear diagnosis. My son had moderate autism. It was a sigh of relief. Not because I now knew what was wrong with my son, but because I could get him the proper help for his condition. 

Despite the years of battling to have my son diagnosed, I was already well aware of his autism even as a child. I'd seen the signs in two other family members, one of which was my own brother. 

My son's signs were very clear as a child: 

He had agitation, mood swings, referred to himself as you or him instead of I or me, developmental and speech delay by age 2 and by 5, his teacher had also seen the signs, enough that he had to be held back in kindergarten. 

In his early preteen years he started showing other autistic signs like:

  • Trouble understand other people's feelings

  • Talking aloud their thoughts as if they are talking to another person.

  • Gets easily upset with even minor changes such as having lunch after 12pm. 

  • Has difficulty with personal space boundaries

  • Difficulty with social skills

  • Difficulty with math skills and problem-solving

  • Cannot be comforted when stressed 

  • Does not understand jokes or teasing

  • Has to follow a specific set of rules and everything must be simplified such as a question.

  • Doesn't understand or express facial emotions in the proper sense. For Example, He or she may smile or laugh even when it is a sad or painful reaction for them on the inside.

Sadly, many of the signs and symptoms can easily be This can sometimes be mistaken by others for a terrible or bad child and often teenager. 

Other signs may include:

  • Symptoms of additional mental health diseases such as ADHD. These symptoms can range from disorganization to forgetfulness to lack of focus and procrastination.

  • Older teens that have autism may also show signs of borderline schizophrenia and manic depression. 

Some signs may be minimal in your teen while others may be more noticeable. And you may not see every symptom or sign I've listed, simply because every autism diagnosis will be different. No two are alike. While they may have similar traits, chances are they will also have different ones.

 But you should also remember as a parent that teens on the autism spectrum can also show some amazing aspects of the mental disease as well. Many teens and even children with autism love music and have a real appreciation for it. My son has an amazing talent for being able to play acoustic guitar, ukulele, or any keyboard you sit in front of him. But what's really incredible is that he taught himself how to play songs by simply listening to the notes.

Over the past year, however, he has taken his love for music one step further by watching tutorial music videos on youtube that show him how to play his favorite songs from bands like Bruno Mars. It's amazing what teens with autism can do, isn't it? 

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Avatar for Thefightwithinher
3 years ago
Topics: Autism, Autistic, Lifestyle, Tips, Teen, ...