Welcome to our autistic teenager survival guide! This page will give information on health, wellbeing and socializing for autistic teenagers.
Why should I engage with supports available to me?
Some teenagers find it difficult to accept help from the supports that are available to them. What you must remember is that supports are available with the sole purpose of providing you with help. Some supports for autistic people include but are not limited to, counsellors or psychotherapists, speech and language therapists or occupational therapists. You may not need to engage with supports at all times, you can choose to engage with supports as you feel you need them. You may need different supports at different stages. Using supports will never put you at any disadvantage, it is about doing what is best for you.
Why should I disclose my diagnosis to my friends?
It can sometimes be quite difficult to disclose your diagnosis to your friends. Having a friend who understands your struggles will help you feel supported in your time of need. If your friends are aware of your triggers they will be able to identify times when you might need additional support and help you. It can be comforting to know that you have someone to go to when you need to. It might be difficult to feel that you can trust someone but finding even one trustworthy person will make you feel more comfortable and supported.
What can I do to help me make friends?
One of the best ways to make friends is to join a club, society or other extra curricular activity based on your interests. The great thing about taking part in something that you are really interested in is that you will be able to meet people that have the same passions and interests as you do. Instantly, you will have a common interest which you can speak about, which aids the flow of conversation. If your school doesn’t have a pre-existing club based on your interest, whether it be science or coding or animals etc., you could ask a teacher or the principal about how the process of setting on up goes. Alternatively, you can see if any of these clubs exist in your local community and maybe attend after school hours. Time spent discussing your interests is enjoyable, you should feel at ease and that you can be yourself.
How do I improve my sleeping routine?
Sleep is very important for people of all ages but getting enough sleep as a teenager is vital to ensure that you can manage your day as best you can. As a teenager you should get between 7 and 9 hours sleep. Different people have different energy levels which is why some people might be able to function well on 6-7 hours sleep, whereas others need 9-10 hours. Sometimes our sleeping pattern can get disrupted and we can end up going to bed too late which means when our alarm goes off for school in the morning we have not slept long enough. It is important to get to bed early the night before an early morning. Sometimes this can be difficult and you might feel as though you are not tired enough to sleep.
One of the most important things you can do before bed to help you sleep is to decrease your screen time. Try and put your phone or laptop away an hour and a half before you plan on going to sleep. Instead of watching the television, perhaps you could try and read some of a book. You could also try to do some meditation before bed. This is a great way of relaxing both your mind and your body and decreasing any distracting thoughts that are keeping you up at night.
Our autistic teenager survival guide will continue to grow as we engage with our community so watch this space!