Declaring their Independence: Teens with Autism

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The teenage years become the years in which your teen has a burning desire to assert their independence. They are constantly pursuing reasons to confidently assure you that they don’t need your help. This desire is no different with teens who struggle with autism. Autism is a spectrum disorder and the level of independence a teen should seek to achieve will be different. The learning pace will vary as will the things in which they try to learn. As the parent, you play a huge role in setting the foundation in which they build their independence upon.

Independent living skills can be very difficult to teach your child. Also, they may get frustrated along the way and you probably will too. Teaching life skills to your child is very important as they develop. As each day passes they are one day closer to adulthood. Help them sharpen the skills they need to lead happy, successful lives.

Tips for Teaching Independence

Here are some great starter tips and tricks for helping your teen get on their way to a greater sense of independence:

  1. Sharpen Communication Skills. If your child struggles with spoken language, a huge step for increasing independence is strengthening his or her ability to communicate. Teach them to use their communication methods to express themselves.
  2. Set up a schedule. This will teach your teen the concept of prioritizing and completing tasks. They will learn accountability and responsibility this way.
  3. Start with self-care. A small, but a significant measure that plays a large role in helping your teen claim a sense of independence. Practicing good personal hygiene is a part of being independent. Your teen should know how to properly bathe themselves and brush their teeth and hair on a daily basis.
  4. Delegate household chores. Give your child responsibilities around the home. They will learn responsibility and make them feel like a contributing member of the household. They will feel proud when they accomplish tasks and they have an opportunity to learn important skills.
  5. Focus on vocational skills. Create a list of your teen’s strengths, skills, and interests and use them to guide the type of vocational activities that are included as objectives. This is also a time to start planning for the future. Consider all of the ways up to this point that you have been fostering your child’s independence: communication abilities, self-care, interests, and activities and goals for the future. Look into ways in which they can effectively apply them in the real world.

New Focus Academy

New Focus Academy is a residential treatment center for boys ages 12-18 who have diagnosed neurodevelopmental disorders. New Focus Academy uses positive reinforcement and coaching strategies to increase independence and self-esteem in students who have prominent struggles with social interaction, organization, and judgment. As a result of this program, students acquire useful skills and develop their own identity through this treatment program. Let us help your family today!

Contact us @  (844) 313-6749