The Transition to High School and the Teenage Years
The teenage years are a challenging time for the teenager themselves and for their parents and other close family members. This section covers many sensitive topics including puberty, sexuality, anxiety and emotional stresses, as well as the transition to high school and the stress of exams.
The Transition to High School
Transitions are always difficult for individuals with an ASD, and you will need to once again research the right schooling option for your child, investigate the options and work with the school to set up a program for the individual with an ASD.
The information below may assist you further:
Questions to ask your school
School funding: building a team and designing a program
Schooling options for students with ASD gives full details on the types of schooling options available
Choosing a mainstream school provides information about mainstream schools
Preparing for the Transition
Many of the same strategies apply to the transition to high school as applied to starting primary school. You may need some or all of these depending on the individual with ASD. See Primary School Years – Preparing Your Child for School
Bullying and ASD
Some of the typical characteristics of individuals with an ASD increase their risk of being teased and bullied.
A literal understanding of language can make a person with an ASD vulnerable to verbal teasing. Problems with social skills can lead to misunderstandings about the intent of other students: sometimes, an individual with an ASD mistakes bullying for friendliness. On the other hand, it is quite common for individuals with an ASD to be particularly sensitive to comments from others, so they may mistake a friendly overture as bullying.
Specific mannerisms that a person with an ASD may display, such as hand flapping, rocking, or self-commentary can also make them the target of bullies.
It is important for the individual to learn to recognise suspicious or unfriendly behaviour, to have a selection of possible activities to engage in during meal breaks and to have a safe place to go to.
The following information may be useful:
Bullying and Autism Spectrum Behaviours
Adolescence, Puberty and Sexuality in the ASD Teenager
As individuals with ASDs reach puberty and their bodies begin to change, these physical changes may be out of step with their academic and social skills.
As change is often a problem for individuals with an ASD, it is very important that they are prepared for the changes that puberty brings – physical changes and emotional changes.
It may be difficult for parents to know when to start to talk to their son or daughter about puberty and how to explain it. The following information sheet may be of assistance and also includes social expectations regarding privacy and personal hygiene.
Family Planning Victoria has extensive information explaining puberty and sexuality to individuals with a disability. Read their information sheets at Family Planning Victoria
What is it like to have Asperger’s Syndrome?
Alex is 16 and has Asperger’s: the link below goes to a short video called “In My Mind” by Alex Olinkiewicz and it explains how he feels about his condition and how it affects him.
Watch Youtube clip
Where to get more help
We provide a full range of Information Sheets about all aspects of ASD – these are updated regularly.