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Five Tips for Parents of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Your Teen asked Ilana Hoffer Skoff, whose daughter has autism spectrum disorder (ASD)—as do 1.7 percent of all children (or 1 out of every 59) in the United States between the ages of three and 17—to tell us what she thinks parents of teenagers with ASD should know. She offered the following suggestions.

5 Tips for Parents of Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder:

1. Ask for help.

Don’t be ashamed to ask for help and be open and honest about what you need. There are plenty of people out there ready and willing to help. You may be surprised at the welcome that you’ll receive, especially from other parents in the ASD community.

2. Don’t go this alone.

No one raises a child with autism spectrum disorder well alone, nor should they have to raise a child with ASD alone. Reach out to other parents who are on a similar journey with their own teenager. Reach out to professionals who can help and support you. Find a supportive community for you, your child, and your family.

3. Give people the benefit of the doubt.

When you receive a negative comment or feel that people are judging you or your teenager, consider that people just don’t understand. Take the opportunity to educate others about autism spectrum disorder. Explain the effort required by an individual with ASD to cope with what for a typical individual would just be routine interactions.

4. Be a role model.

Lead by example. Model for those around you how to help your teenager and calm them.

5. Set reasonable expectations.

Help your teenager with autism spectrum disorder plan for and find success by setting reasonable expectations for them. What’s achievable for your teenager and how can she or he get there. Once you have your goals in place, break them down into manageable steps.

Ilana Hoffer Skoff is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Milestones Autism Organization. Milestones provides coaching and resources for all ages, stages and abilities,

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