Teens on the spectrum frequently struggle with inflexibility and anger issues–this can be linked to anxiety or cognitive rigidity. An outwardly disobedient or angry teen on the spectrum is often actually a scared or overwhelmed teen on the spectrum.
These are unfortunate but common features of autism–which means we have to learn to cope with them. Understanding the factors that irritate the issue and how to handle them can help parents help their children.
Common factors that increase anxiety for teens with autism
Difficulty voicing their frustrations.
Whether it’s overstimulation or some other trigger, teens on the spectrum often have problems communicating their frustrations, leading to outbursts. An inability to convey how you’re feeling can become overwhelming fast for a teen on the spectrum. To help, parents can first do something that they know helps calm their teen down.
Then, ask them what became too much. Work through it together and try to find the root of the problem, then you can take steps to start preparing for handling that problem better next time.
Change in routine or environment.
Transitions and transformations fill the adolescent years to the brim. Not only are teens on the spectrum figuring out how to navigate the social landscape of school, but they’re constantly having to deal with changes going on within their own bodies. This can cause a lot of anxiety.
On top of this, if your teen has trouble accepting changes in routine, such as a switch to different classes, it could cause them to become angry and act out.
Getting bullied or labeled an ‘outcast.’
This is a common challenge that teens on the spectrum face. Our schools often don’t do a sufficient job of dealing with bullying or teaching tolerance. This frequently leads to kids on the spectrum getting pushed out of social groups and left on the outskirts–making them prime targets for bullies.
Being the target of bullies can cause many difficult emotions to arise and teens on the spectrum often aren’t equipped with the coping strategies to deal with them accordingly. Instead, they act out. They might have a tantrum or meltdown or become aggressive. Understanding where this behavior may be coming from can help parents better deal with the situation.
If you believe your angry teen on the spectrum is truly struggling, there’s no shame in reaching out for extra help. Professionals are available and willing to help your family move forward.
Seven Stars can help your angry teen on the spectrum
Seven Stars is a program that treats teens with neurodevelopmental disorders. We combine residential treatment with adventure therapy to create a multifaceted, effective program for adolescents, ages 13 to 18, struggling with emotional and behavioral issues as a result of their neurodevelopmental disorder.
We embed the objectives we have for each student into daily activities and teach emotional wellness skills such as conflict resolution, problem solving, social skills, academic skills, self-efficacy, and prosocial behaviors. At Seven Stars, we strive to help our students develop the skills necessary to live full, productive lives.
For more information about how we can help an angry teen on the spectrum at Seven Stars, contact us today at 844-601-1167
Since 2003, Dr. Gordon Day has passionately helped young people with a wide range of family, emotional, social, neurodevelopmental and behavioral problems. Gordon’s mission has been to help people find their strengths and their own passion for living a full and rewarding life. He is particularly sensitive to the pressures, frustrations and disappointments that adolescents face that can sometimes cause them and their loved ones to want to withdraw and throw their hands up in despair.
Dr. Day knows that you really have to understand where a student is coming from and understand their patterns of strengths and needs. When we truly know an individual and their struggles, only then can we truly help.
Dr. Day has pioneered the use of outdoor therapy activities and outdoor living as a dynamic and effective therapeutic tool for learning, confidence building and skill building. His programs provide effective, supportive and encouraging environments that help students find their strengths and power.