With early intervention and an increase in awareness about autism spectrum disorder, many children are being diagnosed as babies or in their toddler years. Since autism is typically discovered in early childhood, many parents don’t expect to have to look for signs as their child ages. Yet, sometimes signs of autism can go undiagnosed until your child is older and begins to experience some noticeable signs as well as learning difficulties. Below are five signs that your teen may have autism.
Withdrawal from social situations
One of the difficulties that people with autism may find hard to overcome is the ability to read other people’s’ signals and emotions. This may cause them to find it difficult to fit in or adjust to what is expected of their age. Because of this, they may often avoid engaging with students their age for fear of being bullied or ridiculed. While teens may withdraw from peers for a variety of reasons, an avoidance of social interaction should be looked into.
More literal interpretations
Teens and adults with autism spectrum disorder are known to have trouble interpreting metaphorical speech, or ‘street talk.’ They can often take phrases literally. So, watch out if your Autistic teens has difficulty understanding sarcasm or idioms. This may be due to communication issues that stem from being more comfortable with structure and ‘exactness.’
Difficulty with complicated or multi-step directions
Teens with autism spectrum disorder may suffer from ADD or ADHD. They may have a hard time staying focused through longer, or multiple instructions. Typically focus can be held for two-step directions. But more than that may cause them to withdraw, or move onto something else.
Showing symptoms of mental health disorders
People with autism spectrum disorder have a higher rate of other psychiatric disorders. The most common psychiatric disorders associated with autism are anxiety, ADHD, depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, and schizophrenia. Teens with autism can be particularly affected by anxiety disorders, especially when they are in social settings.
Having difficulty with school curriculum
As teens enter into high school, curriculum tends to become more difficult. Teens with autism may begin to exhibit learning disabilities as the curriculum becomes more demanding. However, teens with higher functioning autism often have average, to above-average IQs.
If your teen is exhibiting signs of autism spectrum disorder, it is important to have them properly diagnosed. Intervention as early as possible is important to help your teen to be successful at school, as well as in their life outside of school.