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3 Strategies for Parents of Teens with Autism

Janet Peña, Autism & Special Needs

Parenting a teen is not easy, and the complexities and demands can multiply when caring for a teen with developmental disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

I’m Janet Peña, a Licensed Behavior Analyst at Fearlessly Inspired Therapeutic Solutions. I’ve supported many parents with the unique challenges of raising a child, teenager or young adult with autism.

I’ve seen resourcefulness and incredible resilience. As a parent, knowing you’re not alone and having a team of trusted professionals to support you and your child, can make a world of difference. In this article, I’ll share 3 strategies to help you navigate this journey with greater ease.


Build Your Network of Support


Parenting a teen with autism can be isolating, it’s best to be supported.

Connect with other parents, either online or in-person support groups. Seek professional guidance from therapists, behavior analysts, or other specialists who understand autism and can offer individualized support.

Building a strong support network benefits both you and your teen, by creating a team of care and safety.


Effective Communication


Effective communication is key in any relationship, but even more so with a teen with autism.

Learn about their preferred communication styles and explore various options, including creative visual supports, written notes, or assistive technology. Validate their feelings, listen actively, and be patient. Incorporate social skills training and opportunities to practice skills both at home and in the community.

As your child changes, communication styles will shift as well. Celebrate small accomplishments and focus on progress.


Prioritize Self-Care


It’s impossible to effectively support your teen if you’re exhausted. Treat self-care as non-negotiable.

Find activities that recharge you, whether it’s spending time in nature, reading a good book, joining a support group, or indulging in some alone time.

Remember, you are a model for your child. When we are well-rested and calm we are better equipped to handle challenging situations.


Bonus Tip: Celebrate Accomplishments, Big and Small


Taking care of yourself, fostering communication, and building a support network are ongoing processes. Remember to celebrate the wins, big and small.

Did your teen successfully navigate a social situation? Did they express their feelings calmly? Acknowledging these victories encourages positive behaviors and strengthens your bond.

Navigating the challenges of parenting a teen with autism requires resilience, adaptability, and self-compassion. By prioritizing your well-being, fostering communication, and building a support network, you can equip yourself to handle difficult situations with greater grace and create a loving, supportive environment for your teen to thrive.

And if you find that you or your teen need additional support, click the link below this video and schedule a consultation today.