At Visions Treatment Centers, our teen autism therapy program approach is individualized behavioral therapy based, helping adolescents avoid unwanted behavior and learn to better communicate with peers. We also offer educational and vocational help for young and older teens, so they can continue to learn while in autism therapy and prepare for higher education, or appropriate work opportunities.

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by a wide range of symptoms along the teen autism “spectrum”. The spectrum does not refer to high- or low-functioning autism but instead to the variety of symptoms associated with the disorder. Teen autism does not imply low intelligence, although autism spectrum disorder can co-occur with cognitive disability, a different condition.

Many children and teens on the spectrum have average to high intelligence, but struggle immensely with sensory perception, self-control, repetitive behavior, social interaction, face-to-face communication, and other symptoms. While some teens can cope with their condition far more than others, all forms require autism therapy, treatment and support.

Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Teens

Autism spectrum disorder used to be split into a variety of different diagnoses. The condition is now an umbrella term for any child or teen experiencing a variety of symptoms within the spectrum of autism. Typical signs can be “split” between examples of poor or low social capability, repetitive or inappropriate behaviors, and sensory issues:

  • Inability to hold eye content, start or maintain conversation
  • Frequent tantrums, inability to control anger or frustration
  • Repeating phrases and words without understanding their meaning (echolalia)
  • Mirroring or repeating behavior without understanding its meaning (echopraxia)
  • Unengaged in play and/or unwilling to share
  • Play is usually very ritualistic, often engages in repetitive or obsessive routines
  • May find certain sensory experiences overwhelming, experiencing pain due to certain noises
  • Narrow interests, detail-oriented, and consistency-obsessed
  • Monotone voice and trouble emoting facially or physically, poor grasp of body language and verbal cues
  • Excelling in certain fields, but struggling immensely in others
  • Excessive fidgeting or flapping, other forms of “stimming” (self-stimulatory behavior)

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Visions’ Teen Autism Therapy Program

A teen with autism spectrum disorder cannot be “treated” in a traditional sense. It is a lifelong journey with complex nuances. However, teens can learn to navigate their challenges, succeed in academic environments, engage meaningful relationships, find work, help their loved ones, and lead happy lives.

Autism therapy, support, and treatment are especially important during adolescence, as the transition from childhood into adulthood can be incredibly confusing and difficult for teens with autism spectrum disorder. Depending on the symptoms and co-occurring conditions, autism therapy and treatment approaches will vary greatly. Our teen autism therapy programs include (but is not limited to):

Behavioral Therapy

Applied behavior analysis is a form of behavioral therapy utilizing several methods to help teens identify and understand disruptive behavior and adopt better forms of coping. It is a tool to help teens understand what is and is not appropriate, and why. Teens who go through behavioral therapy can fit in with their peers, learn to overcome or decrease the discomfort of making occasional eye-contact, and learn to understand common verbal and physical cues.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy can help teens participate in daily activities at home, at school, and elsewhere, and prepare for a chosen career or job by meeting the social, communicative, and cognitive requirements. A lot of occupational therapy revolves around helping teens with autism develop the skillset needed to ask for adjustments or communicate their wishes respectfully and effectively and learn about social etiquette.

Educational Support

Treatment for autism may also include additional support to help teens better absorb their school’s curriculum, develop the social skills needed at school and in the classroom, and brush up on subjects or topics they have difficulty with.

At Visions Treatment Centers, our approach to autism therapy helps teens find ways to fit in and feel accepted, rather than forcing them to simply avoid unwanted behaviors because they are out of the ordinary. Our autism therapy program focus on finding ways for teens to embrace their identity and seek out support when it is needed, and not let their diagnosis hamper them in living the kind of life they want to live.