If you have a teenager on the spectrum, you’re probably no stranger to challenges. Socializing and interacting can especially be difficult–two trouble areas for autism. If you have a teen struggling in school, you’re not alone; many parents of ASD teens face this exact issue.
Children on the spectrum face a significant amount of challenges in the typical school because of a lack of understanding and support.
Why school is a struggle for ASD teens
An ASD student’s school struggles are unique. It’s pretty normal for neurotypical students to consider themselves “awkward” in school, but students on the spectrum suffer from more than just teen awkwardness. They have issues recognizing social cues and forming meaningful relationships with others.
While a student with high functioning autism may not be making bad grades, they may be really hurting socially, which is just as important in the school experience.
Reasons why your child may find school a problem
More Pressure. Nowadays, students have an enormous amount of pressure put on them to perform well in school. While kindergarten used to be a place for learning the basics, like letters and numbers, now children are expected to know how to read basic sentences by the end of the year. These pressures and expectations can be felt very sensitively by teens on the spectrum.
Boredom. This can happen with students that have high functioning autism. Sometimes, an ASD teen struggling in school won’t be struggling because the material is too hard, it’s because it’s too easy. This can cause them to get bored, become disengaged, and start acting out as a result.
Socializing. School is the place where we learn to socialize and get along with others. For neurotypical students, interacting with friends and peers is probably one of the more fun aspects of school–but this isn’t always the case for teens on the spectrum. Anxiety can develop from a fear of not being put into the same class with friends, not keeping up with others in certain classes (ex. PE), or peer pressure.
Overstimulation. School hallways during class change are like being in the midst of a jungle. There are loud noises, strange smells, many moving parts, and it’s all very fast-paced. This is a perfect recipe for overstimulating a teen with autism.
Misunderstanding. Many teachers don’t know how to cater to a student with autism. They may be on or even above their peers in a subject, but if they’re not given the right attention, they can still struggle significantly.
Overall, if you believe your son or daughter is struggling, it’s critical to reach out to a professional for further guidance.
Seven Stars can help your teen struggling in school
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 help a teen struggling in school 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.