Adolescence can present many challenges for teens on the spectrum, and falling behind academically can put additional stress and pressure on both students and their families. In addition to low grades, poor performance in school can leave teens feeling defeated and depressed, with ASD teens nearly three times more likely to develop depression than their neurotypical peers.

To help your teen thrive academically and emotionally, it’s important to know how to advocate for your child to give him the best chance for success.

How to help teens on the spectrum who are struggling in school and feel defeated

Educating your teen can be seen as a three-way partnership between you, your child, and your child’s school. Creating and maintaining clear and consistent communication between this triad can help ensure that your child is getting the support he needs. By providing knowledge of how your child handles different situations, what helps him cope, and what educators can do to ease the challenges of school, it will make it easier to come to a shared understanding of your child’s unique goals and needs.

It’s common for teens with ASD to struggle with planning, organization, and other executive functioning skills, so coming up with a plan on how to tackle these issues with your child and his teachers can be helpful. While most teens tend to receive lessened support as they get older, ASD teens need to receive a continued level of external support. This could take the form of frequent triad conferences, breaking down projects into smaller steps, or providing various visual supports to aid in comprehension.

In addition to working with the school, there are also supports you can provide to your child at home. He may need continued help with homework and projects even if he is expressing a desire for more independence. You can also help him set up an organizational system and schedule to manage his workload. Many of his academic struggles can result in emotional distress, so it can help to empower your teen with strategies he can employ during these moments of disappointment.

If a traditional school setting just isn’t the place for your child, residential treatment, like Discover Seven Stars, could be the right fit. Residential treatment immerses your child in all-encompassing care that can help him build tremendous confidence and prepare everyone for the independence of post-high school years.

Discover Seven Stars can help

Seven Stars is one of the nation’s premier residential treatment centers for teens with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Whether diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental disorder to date or not, Seven Stars’ students are those who struggle socially, emotionally, and academically.

Our program was built upon the foundation of positive psychology – determining and focusing on students’ strengths, not their weaknesses – to help build lasting skills and confidence through a personalized strengths-based mentoring approach. For more information, please call (844) 601-1167.