Autistic Adolescence

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Clinicians in the field of autism are increasingly identifying individuals with Asperger syndrome. Individual and family therapy for individuals with this condition has received little attention in the literature. This article presents three case examples of individual and family therapy with male adolescents diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. Common presenting issues and treatment interventions are summarized that may apply to others diagnosed with this condition.
Kevin Stoddart
I am a teen, and I am willing to help out other teens who have AS. How do I know about AS? Because I have it myself! And believe me, I know what problems people like you face. I am here to help you out.
Always keep in mind that your child is a child first and foremost. All behaviors that will happen during puberty and adolescence are not autistic in nature. They are simply a sign of growing up.
Adelle Jameson Tilton
Autistic adolescents and adults are people you might encounter every day but not know it. There are many things you might think about us, but often they are not true.
Amanda Baggs
American Journal of Psychiatry. 1956 Feb;112(8):607-12
Leon Eisenberg
The family visited the Burger Center, a school for Wayne County autistic students... "It's pretty cool," Kelly says... "I have a lot of new friends there. None of them call me 'psychopath,'" he says, referring to earlier experiences.
Peggy Walsh Sarnecki
This study examined change prospectively in autism symptoms and maladaptive behaviors during a 4.5 year period in 241 adolescents and adults with an autism spectrum disorder who were 10-52 years old (mean = 22.0) when the study began. Although many individuals' symptoms remained stable, a greater proportion of the sample experienced declines than increases in their level of autism symptoms and maladaptive behaviors, and there were significant improvements in mean levels of symptoms. Individuals with mental retardation had more autism symptoms and maladaptive behaviors than those without mental retardation, and they improved less over time. Compared to adolescents, older sample members (31 and older) had fewer maladaptive behaviors and experienced more improvement in these behaviors over time.
PT Shattuck et al
Links between childhood peer relationship problems and later externalizing difficulties arise because those factors that contribute to poor peer relations also influence and shape the course and nature of children's future adjustment.
Lianne Woodward
Wise up to the smarmy deceit of some neurotypicals . Remember it's not just second nature to them, it's a survival instinct. Study their behaviour and consider the hidden meanings behind their words and deeds!
Neil Gardner
Psychotic symptoms in adolescents can often lead to misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment approaches. Diagnostic difficulties arise given the marked developmental and psychosocial changes of adolescence.
Fred Volkmar
The potential for using virtual environments (VEs) in educational contexts for people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) has been recognized. However, very little is known about how people with ASDs interpret and understand VEs. This study aimed to investigate this directly with a group of 12 adolescents with ASDs, each individually matched with comparison participants. Participants were presented with VEs to assess whether they adhered to particular social conventions, such as not walking across grass and flowerbeds en route to a cafÈ, or not walking between two people (ostensibly involved in conversation) en route to the bar. Whilst a significant minority of the ASD group adhered to the social conventions, others displayed substantial 'off-task' behaviour and a limited understanding of the VE. It is suggested that some individuals with an ASD, low verbal IQ and weak executive ability require the most support to complete tasks successfully in the VE.
Sarah Parsons, Peter Mitchell, Anne Leonard
AS teens require monitoring as they chart their way through the terrain of school and concrete structure and empathy when things 'fall apart' as they often do within their very different experience of everyday events.
Richard Howlin
As they set out in search of success in secondary school, the minds of students unknowingly confront a series of steep challenges, as they are required to move from one educational peak to the next.
Mel Levine
Many children with AS are oblivious or unconcerned about the latest fad or in group. Their wish for contact and camaraderie is frequently driven by their interests rather than social impression.
Richard Howlin
Mzobanzi Mboya
Although juvenile delinquents can present with a wide range of cognitive impairments, the deficits reported in the literature involve primarily verbal abilities and, to a lesser extent, executive functions.
Michele Dery
This forum is for parents and caregivers of teens and young adults who are diagnosed with AS. Parents of younger children and adults with AS are also welcome, but the focus is on teen and young adult issues from a caregivers perspective.
This article was written in response to a post by a mom of a teenaged boy who had become very secretive to her and to his teachers. She would get very upset with him, and start to badger him for information. Following my first post to her, she mentioned that when he does confide in her, he is effusive in his thanks to her for listening and understanding. He does so in a "babyish" way. The second part of this article describes steps to help her son move beyond that behavior. Her teenager has Asperger Syndrome.
Roger N. Meyer
This qualitative study aimed to develop an understanding of the challenges faced by teenage boys with Asperger syndrome and their mothers. A case study approach was used to collect data from two 13-year-old boys who have Asperger syndrome and their mothers in Queensland, Australia. Data were collected through the use of semi-structured interviews. The words of the boys and their mothers provide a valuable insight into the personal experiences and feelings of the participants. An inductive approach to data analysis identified four themes: (1) developmental differences; (2) problems associated with the general characteristics of Asperger syndrome (i.e. communication and social difficulties, restricted range of interests, a need for routine); (3) stress; and (4) 'masquerading'. The first three themes relate strongly to the current literature, but the emergence of masquerading is of particular interest in developing a fuller understanding of the experiences of individuals with Asperger syndrome at school.
Suzanne Carrington, Lorraine Graham
In this study we found that nearly every other VLBW (very low birth weight) adolescent had psychiatric symptoms. One in four had a psychiatric diagnosis, anxiety disorders being the most prevalent. Attention deficit problems were acknowledged in every fourth VLBW adolescent, but only a minority fulfilled the diagnostic criteria. Moreover, relational problems and deficits in social skills were common among VLBW adolescents, and some had autistic spectrum symptoms. Although every fifth SGA adolescent had psychiatric symptoms, they did not differ significantly from controls.
M.S. Indredavik
The distress and disability caused by Asperger syndrome are a consequence of the core syndrome itself, and any neurological or physical disorders which may be associated with it. Distress and disability are also influenced, to a much greater degree than has previously been recognized, by the personal reactions of the sufferer and the social reactions of those around him or her. One important type of personal reaction is the development of a psychological disorder secondary to Asperger syndrome. There is growing evidence that these reactions are commoner and more severe than has been thought previously. They include affective disorders, anxiety-related disorders and conduct disorders. Their manifestations may be altered by the presence of Asperger syndrome. Treatment usually involves a combination of psychoeducation, social change, psychotropic medication and counselling.
Digby Tantam
There are many adults and teenagers who have been recently diagnosed. They went through life the hard way, and are still experiencing difficulties due to their disorder. They need assistance to make up for the lack of proper help in their growing years.
Gary Waleski
More and more people with autistic spectrum disorders (including Asperger syndrome and High Functioning Autism) are now being identified, with health and social care professionals increasingly having to work with a whole range of clients/patients who have these conditions and who present with a range of different abilities and difficulties. There is a demand that these people should have their needs met through effective targeting of resources and through intervention, where it is required and is called for. However, in many respects such processes and strategies are complicated by the fact that the needs, wants and desires of people with Asperger syndrome and High Functioning Autism (also referred to as AS and HFA, respectively) remain largely unknown, outside of a recognition on the parts of policy makes and researchers that they are complex and protean. This is despite HFA and AS possibly being the most prevalent forms of autistic spectrum disorders.
Myles Balfe, Ting Chen, Digby Tantam
Twenty-one adolescent boys with Asperger syndrome and 21 boys matched on age and an estimate of IQ were assessed using standardized measures of social perception (Child and Adolescent Social Perception Measure, CASP), social skills (parent, teacher, and student forms of the Social Skills Rating System, SSRS), number of close friends and frequency of contact (Child Behavior Checklist) and expressive and receptive language (Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-Revised). There were significant differences between groups on CASP scores, SSRS scores, number of friends, frequency of contact and social competence. There was also a significant difference on receptive language. The clinically and statistically significant differences between the groups on the measures of social skills help us understand the nature of the social deficits in Asperger syndrome and suggest the need to focus on specific deficits. These findings are discussed in relation to diagnostic criteria and intervention.
Cyndie Koning, Joyce Magill-Evans
It appears that modest improvement in symptoms is evident, at least in some individuals, from childhood to adolescence and into adulthood. However, this improvement seldom leads to levels of functioning in the normal range, which reinforces the notion that autism is a lifelong condition.
M.M. Selzer et al
By the time students reach secondary school age it may be very difficult, if not futile, to identify single dimensions of cognition that cause learning problems.
Melvin Levine, Carl Swartz
There are many things that people can do to get rid of tension. One strategy for little problems is called Deep Breathing.
Beverly Vicker
This website is for people 13 to 21 years who have Asperger's syndrome, a form of Autism.

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