Counseling For Teens With Autism
Does Your Teen Feel Like Autism Is Preventing Them From Fitting In?
Is your teenager struggling to make friends and read social cues? Maybe every Sunday night, they’re anxious and sad about going to school the next day. Perhaps they feel like no one understands them, like they’re the odd one out in every social situation. They may fear being with others because of bullying or harassment. Deep down, you probably wish your teenager could enjoy life instead of living in fear, but you don’t know how to help them.
When your teen is living with autism, it’s easy for them to feel different or abnormal, as if they don’t belong anywhere. They may struggle to hold eye contact or understand what appropriate behavior around others is. Even holding a conversation can be a challenge—they may not know when to stop talking or keep talking. In the end, they may annoy others without even realizing it, which makes it hard for them to form and maintain friendships.
Being a parent of a teen with autism is equally hard. As much comfort as you try to provide, there are certain things that may be outside your control. Many kids—and adults, too—don’t understand what autism really is or how it affects people. As a result, you probably feel like your teenager is constantly mistreated and misunderstood.
If you wish there was someone who could understand your child and teach them social skills to last a lifetime, I encourage you to contact me. I know what it’s like to feel different from everyone else and I believe I can help your teenager adapt and flourish.
Uniqueness Is A Beautiful Thing, But We Live In A World That Doesn’t Always Respect It
Imagine it’s the day before school and your teenager is telling you how thrilled they are to see all their friends again. The school has made efforts to educate children on autism and your teen’s friends are kind and understanding. Accommodations have been made so that your child can stay on task in school. And when they need time to themselves, they can take a break or maybe go to the sensory room to relax and de-stress.
No matter how impossible this scenario seems, it doesn’t have to remain a fantasy. Many teens with autism are able to adapt to their struggles and succeed in life. Part of the challenge lies not with them, but with others. When a teen’s teachers and peers are educated about their struggles and aware of how autism really works, it becomes much easier for students to adapt, succeed and pursue their hopes and dreams.
Although autism is fairly common in teenagers, our culture is not very accepting of diversity and uniqueness. The mind of a child with autism works differently from others. They often have a hard time being flexible and deviating from routine. They may obsess over certain subjects when others aren’t particularly interested. In the end, the world of other teens may seem foreign and confusing to them. Because they don’t understand other kids and other kids don’t understand them, teens with autism often get left out or made fun of.
If your teenager is tired of feeling like no one “gets” them or empathizes with their struggles, I would be honored to assist them. The teenage years are a naturally difficult time of life for young people and autism only compounds the challenges teens deal with. As an autism therapist, I want to help your teenager learn to manage their behavior and reach for the stars.
Counseling Is A Chance For Teens With Autism To Be Themselves And Feel Accepted
In social situations, your teen may feel like they always have to suppress their emotions or hide who they really are. With me, they have a chance to let loose and be themselves without any reservations. They don’t have to be overly conscious about what they say or how they act. They can find peace, acceptance and compassion. What’s more, they can have fun—in counseling they can use art materials or anything else to express themselves.
During the intake session, I will meet with you alone to discuss your child’s needs and get a sense of their functioning level. I also want to learn about their education—whether they’re in a self-contained class or an inclusion class or a general educational class and whether they have accommodations in school or still need them. This information will help us both decide which direction autism therapy will take. If necessary, we can collaborate with the school to devise an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
Although I will meet with your teen one-on-one from that point forward, your role in your child’s adapting process is crucial. I will update you from time to time on what we’re working on in therapy and ask you how your teenager is doing. At the same time, it’s important to know that what your teen and I discuss in counseling is entirely confidential. While you and I can bounce ideas off each other, your teen does not have to worry about their privacy being compromised.
In therapy sessions, I will help your teen explore their feelings, expand their self-awareness and learn new skills for interacting with others. A huge focus of mine is helping your teen figure out what to do when they feel upset. We will explore what soothes and comforts them so that they don’t become anxious or have meltdowns. Oftentimes, having lots of sensory input helps teens with autism stay relaxed. To that end, it might be helpful for them to use weighted objects, kinetic sand, stress-balls and other relaxation devices. And if they’re artistically inclined, they are encouraged to draw or write during sessions.
My approach is imaginative and playful, and I often use role play to teach new social skills. By creatively acting out social situations, your teen can learn to hold conversations and recognize what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior in different contexts. Moreover, role play often adds a healthy dose of humor to therapy. It will keep your teen active and engaged, since most kids don’t like sitting in a chair for long periods of time.
Teens with autism may see the world differently from others, but this can be strength, not a weakness. They can use their unique viewpoint to be more creative and resourceful. My goal is to help them use their uniqueness to excel in life and develop their own adapting skills. Between my guidance and your support, I am confident that we can help your teen fulfill their hopes and dreams.
You May Have Some Concerns About Counseling For Teens With Autism….
How Can You Help My Child And Understand Their Needs?
Living with a disability, I know what it’s like to have to do things differently from others. I have had to find my own ways to adapt and I believe I can help your child do the same. Rather than ignore their uniqueness, I want them to embrace their uniqueness and use them to their own advantage. I may not share their exact same experience, but I have had similar struggles and I believe I can help them make adjustments.
How Can I Help My Teen Receive The Services They’re Entitled To In School?
If needed, we can work with the school to create an IEP plan. This will ensure your child receives accommodations throughout the school day, such as extra breaks and added time on assignments. Additionally, we can evaluate whether or not they need in-school counseling, a one-to-one aid, sensory relaxation tools or any other treatment options for dealing with autism at school.
What If My Teen Doesn’t Want To Come For Counseling?
Therapy is a space where your teen can feel accepted, valued and embraced for who they are. If they’re hesitant about coming, I would recommend telling them that they can have fun in counseling. Not only do they get to talk about whatever they want, but they can also use art materials and sensory tools to help them feel comfortable during sessions.
Give Your Teen A Chance To Pursue Their Hopes And Dreams
If you wish you knew how to treat your teen’s autism, I would be honored to help. By working together, you and I can empower them to embrace their differences and reach for the stars. To connect with me, you can call 631-289-8765 for a free 20-minute phone consultation or fill out the contact form.
Right now, because of COVID-19, all my autism treatment services for teens are online. The platform I utilize is secure, free and HIPAA-compliant. See my online counseling page for teens for more information.