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Signs of Autism in Adolescents

Most parents are aware of some of the early signs of autism that children might exhibit. In some cases, recognizing this disability when young can allow early intervention, which is a great asset for the child as they go into school. However, it is not uncommon for children to reach their teenage years before their parents start to notice any symptoms of autism. With this in mind, we have laid out a few signs of autism in adolescents.

Signs of Autism in Adolescents

Some children with autism reach their teenage years before they are diagnosed. Here are some signs of autism in adolescents.

Emotional Difficulties

We all know that one’s teenage years tend to be an extremely emotional time period. The emotional turmoil of adolescence can be amplified in children with autism. Emotional difficulties common among teenagers with autism include depression, anxiety, or insomnia. They may even develop eating disorders. Overall, adolescents with autism tend to be withdrawn, have low self-esteem, and have difficulty expressing themselves.

It can be challenging to tell if the above symptoms are indicative of autism or otherwise. In either case, these problems are a cause for concern, and the attention of an expert can help. Still, keep in mind that these issues are especially common and pronounced among teenagers with autism.

Social Challenges

Adolescents with autism tend to have issues with both verbal and non-verbal forms of communication. Partially as a result of this, they may have difficulties in social situations or with making friends. In cases of late diagnosis, their communicative difficulties may not be especially pronounced. In fact, they may speak with remarkably advanced (or even outdated) vocabularies.

If you suspect your teen has autism, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do they struggle to understand figurative language?
  • Do they have a hard time understanding social cues or reading body language?
  • Is eye contact a challenge?
  • Have they expressed that they don’t fit in, and have difficulty making friendships?

The fact that individuals with autism may have difficulties with communication can amplify the emotional challenges they face.

Struggles with Sensory Processing

Sensory sensitivity is a typical symptom of autism. You may find that they tend to react negatively to sensory situations. One example of this is appearing noticeably overwhelmed by loud noises or other sounds. They may refuse to wear certain clothes or eat certain foods owing to their texture. On the other side of the coin, they may engage in certain sensory behaviors to calm themselves down, such as being drawn to vibration or pressure.

The symptoms of undiagnosed autism in adolescents tend not to be as obvious as they are in younger children. But if you suspect your teenager may have autism, get in contact with a specialist as soon as possible. They could benefit greatly from therapy.

The Connections Therapy Center

The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Pinterest.


This entry was posted on Thursday, October 22nd, 2020 at 2:33 pm . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Connections Therapy Center

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  • 4451 Parliament Place, Suite A
    Lanham, MD 20706
  • 301-577-4333
  • 301-618-0025

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    Connections Therapy Center
    4451 Parliament Place, Suite A Lanham, Maryland 20706
    Phone: 301-577-4333