There are a number of speech and language activities for autistic teens designed to help them interact more with their peers. Autistic teens often do not interact other teens. The thought of going to the Friday night football game and grabbing pizza afterward may not even be a thought that enters their mind. Typical teenage activities such as homecoming, sleepovers, parties and dances can be difficult for teens with autism. This doesn't mean that social interaction is impossible.
Not all autistic teens have the same issues with socialization and communication because there isn't any one set of symptoms that all people with autism have. The manifestations are as varied as the individual dealing with it. This is not to say that speech and language activities are not important or necessary. Using speech and language activities for autistic teens can help them build self-confidence and increase their ability to socialize throughout their life.
Know Your Teen
Chances are good that you have worked with your autistic child since he or she was very little. You have used different sensory games and activities to help them make the connection between what they see and the words associated with that image. You may have found that your autistic child has a fascination for poetry, sports or art. These are areas they excel in and enjoy, areas where they have a level of confidence.
When you are considering speech and language activities for autistic teens it is best that you start with activities that they already enjoy. For example if your teen loves poetry, encourage him or her to read favorite poems aloud to enhance language abilities. You should also encourage him to write his own poetry. While it may still be difficult for her to verbally say what she is thinking or feeling by the time she is a teen, she is able to communicate through writing.
Speech therapy is another activity that autistic teens can take part in to help them improve their communication skills. This activity starts in school when they are younger but it can be continued through or started in the teen years as well. The strategies a speech therapist will use during a session you can apply at home.
Music therapy is another activity you can engage your autistic teen in to help develop language and speech abilities. Music therapy is based on the principle that music can enhance a person's life and create positive changes in behavior. A full dose of music therapy would include integrating music classes in their school program or enrolling them in a music program outside of school. This could also mean figuring out the music they like best and using that music to help them communicate what they want and are feeling. Numerous studies have shown that autistic children have unusual sensitivities to music. Combine this talent with syllable sounds that they can incorporated into consonant-vowel sounds.
Speech and Language Activities for Autistic Teens
There is more to teaching speech and language skills to teens coping with autism then just getting them involved in these types of activities. Remember that autism makes it difficult for them to express emotion but not to feel the emotion. Paying attention to who your teen is becoming will also go a long way in getting him or her to become more verbal.
Understanding Your Teen
There are times that parents of autistic teens become overly concerned with the amount of socialization their child is getting. In this aspect, autistic teens are the same as any other teen in the world. You have to understand that some teenagers enjoy being social, while others prefer to have minimal interaction with their peers. This has nothing to do with any condition they may have and more to do with all they have going on in their lives.
The teen years are also when your son or daughter is going to be undergoing a lot of change. The stability of sitting in one class with one teacher is gone. They are now moving from class to class and dealing with more peers on a day-to-day basis. This is also overwhelming for the average teen.
The activities listed above are only a few of the options available to autistic teens and their parents. The most effective activities are going to be those that your teen already has an interest in such as music, art and sports. Remember that sometimes it isn't the autism that is making your teen anti-social it is just them being a normal teen.
- Initial Author: Jennifer Shakeel