While autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can only be diagnosed by a professional, there are some signs and symptoms that may indicate your teen has ASD. If you’re concerned about your teen’s development, it’s important to talk to your doctor or another professional trained in diagnosing ASD. Massachusetts autism treatment programs can make a difference.
This condition affects every individual differently, which makes it hard to give a single definition of autism. In general, people with ASD have difficulty with social interaction and communication. They may also have repetitive behaviors or interests, and issues with sensory processing.
What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that starts in early childhood and lasts throughout a person’s life. ASD affects people in different ways. Some people with ASD are nonverbal and need help with daily activities, while others live independently and excel in school or work.
There is no single cause of ASD, but it’s believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
ASD is often diagnosed in early childhood, but signs may be present from birth. In some cases, ASD is not diagnosed until adulthood. ASD occurs in all ethnic and economic groups, but is four times more likely to occur in boys than girls.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Autism in Teens
While every individual with ASD is different, there are some common signs and symptoms. Keep in mind that these signs and symptoms can vary in intensity.
Teens with ASD may have trouble understanding social cues, such as body language and facial expressions. They may also have trouble understanding and responding to emotions. As a result, they may find it hard to make and keep friends.
Those with ASD may also prefer to be alone and may not understand the concept of personal space. They may stand too close to others or invade their personal space.
Adolescents with ASD may have trouble with both verbal and nonverbal communication. They may not speak at all, or they may speak in a flat, monotone voice. They may also have trouble starting or sustaining a conversation.
People with ASD may also use peculiar words or phrases, and they may repeat what others say. They may have trouble understanding idioms, sarcasm, and jokes.
Many teens with ASD engage in repetitive behaviors, such as hand flapping, spinning, or rocking. They may also insist on always doing things the same way, such as eating the same foods or wearing the same clothes.
Some teens with ASD also develop fixations on certain objects or interests. For example, they may become obsessed with train schedules or car makes and models.
People with ASD may be sensitive to certain sounds, smells, tastes, textures, or lights. They may also have trouble with body awareness. As a result, they may avoid physical contact or certain activities. Those with ASD may also have trouble sleeping and may experience digestive issues.
When to Seek Help
If you’re concerned about your teen’s development, it’s important to talk to your doctor or another professional trained in diagnosing ASD. Early intervention is important for those with ASD, and the earlier ASD is diagnosed, the better.
Behavioral interventions for teens with autism can make a significant difference. Treatment may include behavior therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and medications. With treatment, people with ASD can learn to manage their symptoms.
Find Autism Treatment for Teens near You
If you’re looking for autism treatment for teens, talk to your teen’s doctor. They can recommend treatment options or refer you to a specialist.
There’s likely effective autism therapy for teens available near you—all you have to do is ask for help.