ASD

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “Could My Teen Have Autism?”   As many as 1 in 59 American kids receive an autism diagnosis, and most of them are diagnosed by age 3. However, there are kids with autism who enter their teen years without being diagnosed. Since autism symptoms can range from mild to severe, symptoms of teens with high functioning autism may not seem to drastically impair them. Even so, there are major benefits to having your teen evaluated if they’re showing any signs of autism. A diagnosis can bring many emotional, relational, and academic benefits to teens as they navigate this important stage of life. Parents can also receive tremendous relief from having their child diagnosed, as once they’ve identified the cause of their teen’s symptoms, they can better focus on what to do about them.    So what are some signs that your teen may have autism?:    1. Communication quandaries   Sure, all teens can be a little socially awkward at times. Autism, however, presents some distinct communication challenges that make it hard for teens to connect with peers, such as:    Struggling to join in conversations appropriately    Having difficulty talking about a range of topics     Using speech in an unusual way such as talking in a monotone or accent    Having trouble understanding and discussing emotions     Responding to questions by repeating them rather than answering    A diagnosis can be a starting point to help your teen understand their challenges and gain tools to build lasting friendships.       


   
     
      
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     Reading body language seems to come naturally to many people, but unspoken communication often eludes individuals with autism. If your teen has autism, they may struggle to read the expressions of others, refrain from meaningful eye contact, and show little emotional expression. They have a much easier time understanding clear and literal explanations as opposed to metaphors, sarcasm, or vague inferences.    3. Social differences    Teens with autism tend to have few friends and prefer to spend time on their own. While they may have difficulty connecting with people in their age group, they might be more comfortable interacting with younger kids or older adults since they impose less social pressure.    4. Intense interests    Most teens are “totally obsessed” with their celebrity crush or smartphone, but teens who have autism often exhibit obsessive symptoms in the following ways:    Fixating on certain interests such as geology or basketball      Compulsive routines and rituals such as only drinking from a particular cup    Repetitive body movements such as rocking or hand tapping    Unusual attachments to certain objects    Repetitive noises such as grunting, throat-clearing, or squealing     5. Greatly gifted   The minds of neurotypical people tend to work several areas of the brain at once (social interactions, for example, require multiple regions of the brain to work together). The minds of those with autism are able to focus more of their brain’s resources into one area at a time, often causing them to develop remarkable talents. Whether they are gifted in chemistry, playing piano, learning languages, or memorizing baseball stats, teens with autism tend to have amazing memories and unique intellectual abilities.    6. Sensory sensitivities   While most teens start distancing themselves from mom and dad to assert their independence, teens with autism may also not want to be touched due to sensory sensitivities. Teens with autism may be bothered by the texture of their gym clothes, bright florescent classroom lighting, or noisy high school hallways.    7. Challenged by change   Teens with autism find calm and comfort in rigid routines and structure. Change is hard for them to cope with and they may become distressed or upset when their routines are altered. High school can be a hard time for anyone, but it’s particularly difficult for teens with autism due to its many changes. Increased complexity, changing classrooms, different teachers, and high-pressure social situations can make adolescence a particularly trying time for teens with autism.    Why a diagnosis is important    Teens with autism can excel in school, work, and relationships, but they’re more likely to do so if they receive support and understanding. Without a diagnosis, they may have a harder time accepting their differences and leveraging their unique strengths. If you suspect your teen may have autism, a diagnosis can open countless doors to   secure accommodations in academic    and    professional pursuits   ,  and our specialists can guide you through the best ways to support them.          
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   American Autism Association (2016). What is autism?  MyAutism.org  Retrieved online: https://www.myautism.org/all-about-  autism/what-is-autism/?gclid=CjwKCAjw9sreBRBAEiwARroYmwt4izLg3dJ_ZaXsClvHBhqaFiEgUwGrFpux1AMBJjpTeekibHMB3xoCZrcQAvD_BwE  The Australian Parenting Website (2018). Signs of autism spectrum disorder in older children and teenagers. Retrieved online: https://raisingchildren.net.au/autism/learning-about-asd/assessment-diagnosis/signs-of-asd-in-teens  Hurst, Michael. (2015). Teenagers with Autism: Symptoms, Treatment, and Help.  CRC Health . https://www.crchealth.com/troubled-teenagers/autism-in-teenagers/  Shinn. M.M. (2019). Accommodations for College Entrance Exams: What Parents Need to Know.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from:  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/does-my-child-need-accommodations-for-the-sat-act    Shinn. M.M. (2019). Could My Dad Have Undiagnosed Autism?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from:  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/could-my-dad-have-undiagnosed-autism    Szalavitz, M. (2012). What Genius and Autism Have in Common.  TIME Magazine . Retrieved from http://healthland.time.com/2012/07/10/what-child-prodigies-and-autistic-people-have-in-common/   Zerbo, O., Qian, Y., Yoshida, C., Grether, J. K., Van de Water, J., & Croen, L. A. (2015). Maternal Infection During Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Journal of autism and development tal disorders ,  45 (12), 4015-25.   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Could My Teen Have Autism?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/could-my-teen-have-autism

“Could My Teen Have Autism?”

Does your teen have trouble making friends? Do they struggle with sensory sensitivities? Do they have strict routines they stick to? If you’ve ever wondered if your teen might have undiagnosed autism, check out this week’s blog.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “Could My Dad have Undiagnosed Autism?”    Maybe there’s always been something a little off with your dad that you haven’t been able to put your finger on. Perhaps he has trouble making friends or has some unusual routines that you’ve never quite understood. Until recent decades, people thought autism only looked like the severe cases seen in movies like “Rain Man.” Today, we know that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can display a variety of mild to severe symptoms. This growing knowledge of ASD has many people wondering if their dad’s unique traits could be signs of undiagnosed autism.    But how can you know if your dad is on the spectrum? And if he’s gone his whole life undiagnosed, should you encourage him to find out?   If you think your dad might have undiagnosed autism, here are some things you should know:    1. There’s a  lost generation   Autism wasn’t widely recognized until the 1980’s, so countless kids with autism were misdiagnosed or completely overlooked in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and 70’s. In recent years, many adults have only realized they have ASD when one of their children has been diagnosed. The tragedy of this lost generation is that these individuals did not receive the support growing up that we now know drastically improves the quality of life for children and adults with autism.      2. There’s no “typical” autism   There’s a saying that if you know one person with autism, then you know one person with autism. No two people have identical symptoms, and if your dad has autism he will likely exhibit some symptoms and not others. Common symptoms include:      Trouble making friends or being “socially awkward”    Difficulty expressing emotion     Making involuntary sounds like clearing throat or humming    Sticking to strict routines and getting upset when they are disrupted    Having repetitive rituals (sometimes autism is misdiagnosed as OCD)    Underdeveloped motor skills (e.g. - poor penmanship or clumsiness)    Fixating on particular interests such as a sports team or astronomy    Having amazing memories    Making honest observations (even if they are inappropriate!)    Being highly intelligent     Being unable to understand body language    Avoiding eye contact     Disliking loud noise or busy environments    Preferring not to be physically touched    Speaking loudly without realizing it    Invading others’ personal space without meaning to    Preferring the company of kids or animals to people their own age      3. Your dad is not defective   People with autism are not broken; they just don’t respond to visual and verbal cues the same way mainstream society does. Having autism in a neurotypical world is sort of like being dropped off in a foreign country with radically different customs than you’re used to; yes, you can get by, but you’ll have trouble fitting in until you learn how to interact in ways the locals understand. In turn, the more society learns about ASD, the more schools, employers, and families can support the success and well-being of people with autism.      4. The spectrum has its perks   Many people with ASD reject the idea that autism needs to be “cured” but rather that society should embrace the unique gifts that individuals with autism bring to the table. People with ASD tend to be honest, loyal, nonjudgmental, passionate, intelligent, nonmaterialistic, and have a great sense of humor. They also tend to be better at living in the present than their ever-distracted neurotypical neighbors. Many also have outstanding talents that go beyond the average person’s capabilities.      5. Accommodations are everything   People with undiagnosed autism spend their entire lives trying to decode how to speak and act in socially acceptable ways. But when a diagnosis is made, adjustments can be made to make work, religious, and family life much more supportive of how individuals with autism think and interact. With accommodations such as mentors, calm workspaces, clear instructions, extended deadlines, additional breaks, and predictable schedules, people with autism can find success and fulfillment in all aspects of life.    Click here to check out our blog on securing accommodations for post graduate career exams     6. A diagnosis can be healing   Today, one in 59 children are diagnosed with autism. It’s impossible to gauge how many kids from previous generations had autism but remained under the radar. As an adult, a diagnosis can help your dad gain clarity on why certain things in life have been difficult for him. Understanding ASD can boost his self-confidence and empower him to embrace his unique gifts and traits. What’s more, there are communities of adults with ASD who he can connect with to build relationships and gain the support he never had growing up.       7. Breaking the news brings risks   So you’ve read the blog and are convinced your dad has autism: now the million dollar question becomes whether or not you should tell him. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. While a diagnosis could be liberating, he may not be receptive to hearing your hunch. He’s spent his entire life learning how to cope with his differences, and finding out that he’s had a lifelong diagnosis may feel painful and confusing. A mental health specialist can help you determine whether the pros of understanding his symptoms and potentially seeking support could outweigh the risk of hurting his feelings or creating tension in your relationship.      


   
     
      
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      8. You deserve support   As you consider your dad’s emotional needs, make sure you don’t neglect your own. You may also be carrying pain and confusion from growing up with a parent on the spectrum. Perhaps you’ve always felt emotionally disconnected from your dad or maybe you’ve felt a parent-child role reversal as you’ve tried to help him cope with his symptoms. A mental health specialist who understands the impact of having a parent on the autism spectrum can help you work through these challenges.      
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2018). Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Data & Statistics. Retrieved online: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html  Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2018). Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Signs & Symptoms. Retrieved online: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/signs.html  Lai MC, Baron-Cohen S (2015). Identifying the lost generation of adults with autism spectrum conditions. Lancet Psychiatry.  2(11):1013-27. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(15)00277-1.   Shinn. M.M.  (2018). Graduate Student’s Guide to Test Accommodations: The LSAT, MCAT, GRE, NCLEX, CBEST, GMAT, Cosmetology Exam, Contractors Exam, & Bar Exam.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from:   https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/graduate-students-guide-to-test-accommodations    Jordan, M. (2018). Workplace Accommodations: Tips and Resources.  Autism.com  Retrieved online: https://www.autism.com/adults_accommodations2  Ranaghan, S. (2018). My story being diagnosed as an adult on the autism spectrum.  Autism Speaks . Retrieved from: https://www.autismspeaks.org/life-spectrum/my-story-being-diagnosed-autism-adult    How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). Could My Dad Have Undiagnosed Autism?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/could-my-dad-have-undiagnosed-autism

“Could My Dad have Undiagnosed Autism?”

Today, one in 59 kids is diagnosed with autism. 50 years ago, autism was largely misunderstood. It’s impossible to gauge how many kids from previous generations had autism but remained under the radar. If you think your dad might be one of the lost generation, check out this week’s blog for 8 things you should know.