To enable us to grasp an understanding of ‘is it Autism?’ or ‘is it Adolescence?’, we firstly need to explain what goes on for a person during this confusing time.
Adolescence is an unsettling period of time for anyone as it signifies the beginning of self-identity in a quest to find out who they are and where they fit within their world. Developing their own identity is a tricky time as they experience physical and emotional changes and are often guided by friends, peers and other influential people in their lives.
It is also a time of feeling self-conscious about who they are and mostly rely on their peers to provide them with social and emotional rules etc. The peer group helps to establish their social knowledge and understanding and give them a sense of purpose or direction in life. The social rules are generally unspoken and assumed by the peer group. As their social awareness and experience of different social context becomes more apparent, they develop a sense of another person’s perspective and feelings.
For a typical teenager, adolescence brings with it many ups and downs socially, emotionally and physically.
A teenager on the Autism Spectrum also experiences these ups and downs but most often to the extreme and with much confusion.
It is much simpler to explain the key points or differences as outlined below –
We would love to hear about the experiences you’ve had – feel free to share any additional key points that we haven’t mentioned above! 🙂
Written by Sherri Cincotta