One of the greatest challenges for parents with autistic children is finding the support you need. If you have a teenager who is autistic, you already know the trials and difficulties of raising a child with communication and socialization impairments. Adding adolescence to the mix does not make your task of parenting any easier. However, as a means of providing information and support, one website has thoroughly documented what it’s like being a parent of an autistic child. If you’re looking for how to manage teen autism, visit TeenAutism.com.
Tanya Savko has not only written extensively on her blog, but she has also written a book, titled Slip, a novel describing her journey with her son. And it’s a difficult journey if you’re a parent of an autistic child. Autism is a complex neurological disorder that is symptomatic in different ways for different teens. It is sometimes called ASD, short for Autism Spectrum Disorder. ASD is a general term for a variety of complex disorders of the brain, which are typically recognized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behavior. Although general symptoms are the same, the specific challenges for each adolescent diagnosed with Autism can vary.
The psychological and neurological conditions that make up Autism Spectrum Disorder are outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the standardized text used by clinicians throughout the Unites States. In May of 2013, a new version of the DSM was released, and in it the way in which autism is categorized was slightly revised. Up until recently, there were variations or subtypes of ASD, considered to be distinct disorders. However, in the May 2013 version of the DSM, the ASD diagnosis now groups all of these variations into one disorder.
For this reason, there are a variety of therapies that can address different challenges. It is common that one single therapy will not work for every child, and what works for one teen may not work for another. Parents and caregivers might need to use a combination of therapies in order to address all of his or her needs. The therapies that are available for autistic teens include applied behavioral analysis, pivotal response treatment, verbal behavior, and floor time. The benefit of TeenAutism.com is the opportunity to learn what another parent did for her child – what therapy she chose, whether she combined that with other modalities, and whether they were effective for her son. You can read her story, and you might be able to resonate with her struggles and challenges. Also, the benefit to finding others who are going through similar challenges communicates that you are not alone.
On Tanya’s site you’ll find a blog category called Therapy and Medications. However, you won’t find medical advice or psychiatric care on TeenAutism.com but you will find a parent who loves her son. With that, you’ll see all that she did to care for a child with Autism despite not knowing much to start. You’ll read blog posts about her journey of love and learning.
The truth is that dramatic deficiencies in treating autism still exist. However, the above-mentioned therapies have shown improvements of impairments in social interaction and communication in autistic teens. Despite Tanya’s informative blog, Julie Lounds Taylor, an assistant professor of pediatrics and special education at Vanderbilt University, reported in a recent government paper on autism that there is very little research focused on teens with ASD. Of 32 studies conducted, most were of “poor” quality. Nonetheless, information on the successful use of medication and educational interventions to treat teen autism were included in these studies. For instance, anti-psychotic medication and certain types of anti-depressants can help reduce repetitive behavior, aggression, hyperactivity, and irritability.
You can read about how Tanya’s son Nigel responded to some of these medications. Of course, if you’re teen is autistic and you’re looking for professional support, take him or her to a mental health professional
Paradigm Malibu is an adolescent mental health and drug treatment center dedicated to identifying, understanding and properly treating the core issues that impact teens and their families.