Autism or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is a group (spectrum) of neurodevelopmental disorders that can lead to considerable behavioral, social, and communication challenges. Most parents of kids with autism are worried by this one concern: how to prepare teens with autism for work or university studies?
More About Autism
According to the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), people who have ASD exhibit the following:
- Difficulty interacting and communicating with others
- Repetitive behaviors
- Confined interests
- Symptoms that affect their capacity to work well in schools, colleges, workplaces, and in other walks of life
This developmental condition occurs, irrespective of ethnicity, race, and socioeconomic standing. Autism is four times more prevalent in boys compared to girls.
Although autism is more of a lifelong condition, people with this disorder can improve their functional abilities with the right treatments and proper care.
What Are the Symptoms of Autism?
People with autism are likely to experience difficulty exhibiting emotional, social, and communication abilities. They are most likely to show repetitive behavioral patterns and may be unwilling to change their day-to-day activities.
Most patients with autism have different approaches to how they play, learn, pay attention, or respond to a given situation. The symptoms of autism show up one or two years after birth and last for a lifetime. Here are the signs and symptoms of ASD:
- Making no to negligible or rambling eye contact
- Not sharing feelings related to activities or objects by pointing
- Trying not to listen or look at other people
- Slow reaction to people calling them by their names
- Having issues with conversation (back and forth)
- Showing body movements or facial expressions not matching what they say or express
- A flat and sometimes, robotic voice-tone
- Problems with understanding what other people say
- Problems with understanding how other people react
- Showing unusual behaviors like repeating certain words or actions
- Feeling unsettled even with a minor change in their routine
- Too sensitive or no reaction to certain things or events happening around them
Some people with autism are likely to experience irritability and sleeping issues. Although challenges make up a significant part of their lives, some of them show many strengths. They include the following:
- Excellent at subjects like science, maths, art, or music
- Avid learners, both auditory and visual
- Learning things in-depth
- A sharp memory
When Should You See a Doctor?
If you are worried about your child’s growth and development or doubt that they may have autism, get in touch with your doctor and discuss your concern areas.
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How to Prepare Teens With Autism for Work or University Studies?
As kids with ASD hit their teens, most parents/family members come across common roadblocks and scenarios.
Will their kids get a chance to study in a college or university? Will they manage to get a job? How to prepare teens with autism for work or university studies?
Well, all of this somewhat depends on where a kid stands on the spectrum of autism. However, with the correct guidance, treatment, and training according to their abilities, autistic kids can have a great education and career.
Here are some guidelines by autism therapists on how can parents can prepare their children for the outside world, including studies and work:
- Start early
It will help your kid explore and improve their interests in specific fields. As with any other child (during their journey from childhood to adolescence), kids with ASD are also trying to figure out what they want to become when they become adults.
However, the right path is not always visible, neither for the kids nor for their parents. Therefore, kids with autism need enough time and scope to explore their opportunities or figure out what they love to do.
If you’re thinking about vocational training for your child, make sure to start it by the time they are 14. An early start will provide your child with enough time and space to develop the skills necessary for the real world. It will help them in the long run with their studies and jobs.
- Capability-based job options
One cannot ignore the benefits of getting real-life experience. When your child works as a part-time employee at an organization, they get a first-hand experience of how things work when you’re not around.
- Learning hard and soft skills
Parents and training centers should focus on both hard and soft skills. For example, if you train your child to understand and follow instructions, you should also teach them social skills. It will help in the overall development of your child, and they will be able to behave in a certain way in various settings, be it school or the workplace.
- Parent’s involvement is crucial
When you are involved in every stage of your child’s training, you have a fair idea of what your kids can do and what they cannot. Plus, it also creates a positive environment at home. You, as a parent, can bring about significant changes in your child’s life. For example, if your child is good at working outdoors, you can help them choose a job that’s just right for them.
- A structured study environment
If your child is high functioning, they are likely to excel in a structured educational environment. Moreover, many educational facilities provide support services to people (teens and adults) with autism.
What Are the Treatment Options for Autism?
Although there is no cure for autism yet, early intervention and training can help improve the symptoms while assisting your child with learning and overall development.
In case your child has autism spectrum disorder, make sure to talk to your doctor and discuss the treatment options. Some of the standard treatment options include the following:
- Behavior and communication therapies
- Educational therapies
- Family therapies
- Speech therapy
- Medications to manage symptoms
If your child has autism and you are worried about their outside-your-home breakthroughs and wellbeing, starting early is the key. It will provide your child with time to adapt and learn things that can shape their identity.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is there any medical condition that mimics ASD?
Yes, certain conditions show symptoms (behavioral) similar to ASD. They include the following:
- Tardive Dyskinesia (a condition that affects the nervous system)
- Angelman Syndrome (a genetic condition that leads to developmental and nerve-related issues)
- Prader-Willi Syndrome (a genetic condition leading to intellectual disorders and obesity)
- Rett Syndrome (a rare genetic condition that affects brain development in female children)
Which medicine is the best for autism?
The only FDA-approved medication that can help kids with ASD who show irritability is Risperidone. Make sure to talk to your doctor before giving any medications to your child.
If a child has autism, are they born with the condition or develops it later on?
Autism is something an individual is born with—the signs first surface at a very young age. However, if you are diagnosed with autism, it is there to stay for a lifetime. Plus, there are no medications to treat autism. In most cases, with the proper support and environment, you can live a normal life.