While autism is generally discovered in younger children, it is not unusual that some children may have missed being diagnosed until their teenage years. If you suspect that your teenage child is affected by autism, here are some behavioral characteristics that you need to watch out -
1. Having Little to No Friends
People with autism often have difficulty in social situations. They are uncomfortable relating with others and would often prefer to be by themselves. They show little interest in connecting and communicating with others and very often do not understand social concepts such as taking turns.
They are often perceived as loners as they often spend most of their time alone. They have difficulty making eye contact and they can even appear to be ignoring you when you try and talk to them.
2. Tendency to Act Out
Teenagers go through a lot of changes and with these changes come a range of emotions. Most people with autism seem to have difficulty managing these and when they get over stimulated or over excited, there is often a tendency to act out. They may scream, punch or hit, behaviors which can be considered as equivalent to a child`s temper tantrum.
“Stimming” is a word that is meant to describe the repetitive behaviors that teenagers with autism do to soothe themselves. They do these behaviors during particularly stressful situations to calm themselves. Some examples would be rocking back and forth, tapping the table or rubbing an object.
4. Preoccupation with One Topic
Teenagers on the autistic spectrum are often amazed by one particular subject and they will often study and talk about it all the time. And because of their undying interest on the topic and the huge amount of time that they spend learning about their topic of interest, most become an expert on it.
5. Rigid Schedule
Teenagers who are affected by autism often have a need to follow a strict and rigid schedule. They like to do things in exactly the same way at the same time each day. They are uncomfortable with sudden changes and they will not make a spontaneous decisions regarding their schedule. Any changes to their routine and schedule is a source of stress and could lead to an episode of acting out.