Aspergers teenagers can have a difficult time adjusting to changes that occur between the ages of 12 and 18. They often become socially isolated and face rejection and bullying due to the fact that they act differently. Not only are they longing for friends without an idea of how to form them, school work itself becomes more demanding at this time. On the other hand, some Aspergers teenagers do well in adolescence because they are indifferent to peer pressure and tend to focus on a special interest of their own, such as music or computers. Encourage your teenager to develop their special interest since this will serve them as something to hang onto throughout adolescence as well as have something they can likely share with other children. They can bond with others who share their interest and avoid the isolation they may otherwise feel.
A big issue for many Aspergers teenagers is their indifference to fads, teen clothing, celebrities, teen rituals and teen expectations. Girls may be uninterested in texting their friends and boys may lack an interest in sports. Sometimes the Aspergers teenagers have the interests of a child much younger than they actually are. To help your child fit in with their peers better, teach them about the details of social engagements like sending and receiving messages, arranging social occasions, returning phone calls and initiating social contact. Encourage your Aspergers teenager to join clubs, especially ones that involve their special interests.
It isn't necessary for your teen to share their Aspergers diagnosis with their peers, if they don't want to. However, some Aspergers teenagers enjoy talking to each other, especially in less threatening situations, such as online.
Talk to your teen about personal hygiene. Monitor their hygiene routine to be sure they are following it. If you need to, provide motivators like a rewards system. If they perform their hygiene tasks, they can be rewarded with something they value, such as time doing a preferred activity. This may be necessary since Aspergers teenagers are not motivated by what other teenagers' might think of them. Your teen may also wear a hair style or clothes that are out of date or too young for their age. Have a peer of the same sex who can help your teenager chose appropriate clothes for each day.
Aspergers teenagers are usually ignorant about the opposite sex and dating. Boys may be too forward with girls. Girls may not understand how to flirt or take flirtation too seriously. Girls can also be subject to harassment or even date rape. Hormonal changes can contribute to rampant emotions in Aspergers teenagers. Often the teenager cannot handle this and may have a meltdown or become violent. Monitor this behavior and take the time to teach your child how to handle it.
Teach your child about sex, particularly safe sex, and be as detailed and factual as possible. Don't be judgmental or punitive and you will encourage your child to confide in you. Don't skip talking about little things, like how girls should not sit on laps, or gives hugs or kisses to strangers. Boys may need to be told that masturbating should take place in private.
With many Aspergers teenagers so lonely and unable to fit in, some turn to drugs and alcohol. They are unable to distinguish a good crown of peers from a bad crowd of peers and might find themselves trying to fit in with the wrong group. Other teenagers will want to take advantage of the naivet of Asperger's teenagers and influence them to doing illegal or dangerous things like buying alcohol or getting drugs. If stopped by a police officer, Aspergers teenagers can appear to be smart-aleck due to bluntly honest responses to questions. Try to emphasize what the rules are to your teenager since many Asperger's teenagers are rule-oriented. Explaining that underage drinking and drugs are illegal can help them to avoid many problems.
Though smart, Aspergers teenagers may have problems in school because they cannot handle dealing with more than one teacher. Some teachers may be hostile and each classroom is a different environment. Your teen has to adjust to each one of these environments, quickly, each day. This can lead to distractibility and problems with organization. Large projects, like term papers, can be overwhelming. This may contribute to Aspergers teenagers requiring special education classes in high school. This can be the case even if they never required special education in the past. Make sure your teen has a safe place at school they can go when anxious or fearful so they can express their emotions. See that they have a trusted advisor or can go to the school nurse or a guidance counselor.
Aspergers teenagers are at risk for mental health issues such as suicide. If you have any worries about this get help immediately. Contact a psychologist or psychiatrist. If you feel there is an immediate threat to your teenager, call emergency services. Depression is common and should also be treated by a professional. There are many therapies and medications that can alleviate the symptoms of depression.
Negotiation rather than issuing orders will be a more effective way to deal Aspergers teenagers. At this stage in your teenager's development they are more likely to rebel against directives than ever before. If your teen is experiencing tremendous pressure, harassment or rejection at school, the staff should be cooperative in addressing these problems. If the situation does not improve, it could be time to find a new school. A special education placement or a therapeutic boarding school can give professionals a chance to guide your teen academically and socially. Professionals will not let your child isolate themselves, can encourage appropriate social behavior and even help with vocational issues and college placement.
If your teen stays in public school, make sure their IEP (Individual Education Plan) is in place and being enforced. You might need the help of an advocate to help you with this, but it is well worth the effort. It can assure that your child will get the services and help that they need. Many Aspergers teenagers learn to drive well because they are so anxious to follow rules. Have your new driver carry a cell phone and a card that explains Aspergers Syndrome to anyone, such as a police officer, who might stop your teen. Many Aspergers teenagers also do well in summer jobs in the area of one of their special interests, or in other jobs with little public contact.