Autistic teens experience the world differently than regular teens. They have sensitivities to audible and physical stimuli. With the onslaught of teenage hormones, autistic teens will struggle more with emotional outbursts and adapting to their changing world. There are options available for parents to help their autistic teen navigate their teen years. One option is long term residential care in a teen autistic program. Many residential schools offer programs only for autistic teens to help them overcome struggles and become self-sufficient members of society. Parents do not always want to send their teen away, but there are five ways that a teen autism program could help your child grow.
1. Building Sustainable Skills and Life Knowledge
Teen autism programs create safe and predictable environments to assist autistic teens in building life skills for their future. Residential schools designate time for academics, therapy, and study and create a set schedule that provides stability. Autistic teens excel when they live by a schedule. Teen autism programs also expose teens to new challenges that mirror real world unpredictable events. Teens are supported by coaches, teachers, therapists, and parents to build life skills and independence.
Teen autism programs also have a set curriculum that goes beyond traditional programs. The programs emphasize hands on, real world skills that prepare students for life. The basic curriculum includes life skills, functional math, functional reading, community-based living skills, and social and emotional support. These skills involve critical thinking, problem solving and decision making. Teens learn how to read schedules, identify important information, count money, budget, setting boundaries, and learning safety skills.
2. Evidence-Based support
Teen autism programs build a curriculum and schedule around proven research regarding autistic children. Programs employ dedicated live in coaches and therapists that are trained to assist autistic teens throughout the entire program. These coaches create a supportive environment that allow students to practice skills every day to gain fluency.
Research shows that autistic teens improve life skills through consistent practice. With around the clock consistence and structure, teen autism programs provide that support. Many autistic teens who attend normal school in an inclusive classroom, do not get the same day to day consistency as those in a residential treatment program. These teens typically spend 8 hours in a classroom and the remainder at home where the rules and expectation do not always align.
3. Social Development & Group Therapy
The basic definition of autism refers to a condition where a person experiences challenges regarding social skills, repetitive behaviors and communication. Many autistic children cannot read typical social cues and may also experience developmental delays. Autism Speaks is an extensive website that further details facts about autism and what teens experience.
Teen autism programs provide classes and opportunities for teens to interact with others. They support meaningful connections between peers and adults they wouldn’t normally interact with. Students gain the ability to interact in social situations. Residential programs provide activities and groups where teens can share their experiences. They also learn from others and are challenged to learn how to overcome their hardships.
4. Positive activities and recreational therapy
Autistic teens have a difficult time interacting with other in recreational settings due to the inability to read social cues. Residential therapy provides positive activities that not only provide social activities, but also build necessary life skills. Activities include art, music, animal caregiving, cooking, cleaning, and gardening. Teen autism programs provide many choices in leisure activities to find the perfect skill fit for each child. These choices can have a huge impact on personal and skill development. Recreation is crucial in teaching social skills, get autistic teens out of their comfort zones, and expose them to new positive activities.
5. Overall wellness
Autistic teens struggle with simple life skills, such as being able to take care of their basic needs. They require repetitive tasks, so they can learn how to take care of themselves. Teen autism programs give autistic teens the opportunity to participate in regular tasks and learn important life skills, so they can live independently. Teens learn about meal planning and nutrition, so they can participate in making meals. Many programs involve autistic teens in creating their own meals. This allows teens to have hands on experience and learn essential life skills. Teens also participate in exercise and hygiene routines.
Autistic teens have a great capacity to learn. They are intelligent and happy people who need constant guidance, so they can live independently when they are older. By placing your teen in a program that primarily assists autistic teens, you are helping them become independent, productive members of society. The primary goal of many parents is for their children to be able to live on their own. Teen autistic programs allow this to happen.
Click here to learn more about the Autism Spectrum Disorder.