Monthly Archives: September 2019

Tips for Parents: How to Help Your Teen with Autism Approach Dating and Intimacy?

Talking with your teenage children with autism about dating and intimacy may be difficult for you. Hence, we have prepared this post with some advice for parents to help their young people with autism understand the complicated atmosphere of dating, romantic feelings, and intimacy as a couple.

All teenagers are different, but most teens with autism suffer dating and sexuality problems late compared to typical teenagers.

Many of them have no interest in this until much later, but there are others overwhelmed by anxiety because of the physical and psychological changes of this stage.

Of course, these problems have an impact on the family environment, as the first date of adolescence can be an exciting experience but also a challenge for the life of any of them.

Teens with ASD face many difficulties, but they can be overcome. The most important thing is to support your teen in this difficult stage for him/her, in which dating produces restlessness, anxiety, and in many cases, feelings of insecurity.

Interpret and send the signals

One of the limitations of teenagers with autism is the understanding of the social signs involved in dating. Interpreting a flirt or an invitation is somewhat complex, so understanding these signals is a difficult mission for most teenagers with autism.

This situation can be confusing and disconcerting for your son/daughter, and for the other, it can cause frustration and discomfort because your child’s potential “date” perceive that their messages and feelings are not being heard or valued.

Talking with your child can help establish the qualities of a good partner. There may be important questions in this conversation, such as: should I tell the person about the autism spectrum? Should I relate intimately with someone else on the autism spectrum?

Tips to help your teen with autism approach dating and intimacy

Taking these aspects into account, we have put together a series of general tips so that your child can get closer to dating and intimacy, but its application will depend on a series of variables such as age, experience, etc.

  1. Promote family dialogue

Talk with your child openly about dating. Approach the subject as something natural- even mention that all people find it difficult this experience at first.

  1. Be proactive

Get ahead of the facts. If your son/daughter has not yet begun to talk about their dates, take an opportune moment to do it, for example, when you are in the mood. Let him/her know that you are willing to talk about these topics.

  1. Do not postpone the conversation about this topic

If your child is sexually active or is beginning to interact with others more intimately, you should immediately address the issue of safe sex and the implications of irresponsible or unprotected sex. It addresses other topics such as pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, preventive measures, among others.

  1. Use role plays to play a dating scene

Pay attention to their interest when expressing compliments, verbal and nonverbal. Explain that some behaviors convey positive messages to the other person. Show your child some examples of demonstrations of interest such as smiling, nodding and maintaining eye contact.

Tell your child that everyone likes someone to show sincere interest. The brainstorm technique is highly recommended for the adolescent to generate spontaneous ideas about the subject.

  1. Deliberate about who, when, where, and how to invite someone out

To whom? People your age, someone you like, people you know and talk to you, someone who treats you well.

When? When you already know each other, when there is interest from the other person.

Where? When you are alone with the individual you want to date.

How? Ask if the person has no partner, assess the interest, plan an activity that is enjoyable for both of you, request contact information to confirm attendance.

  1. Bear in mind that we are all exposed to rejection at some point

Express the possible reasons why someone might refuse the dating proposal. School/work responsibilities, the person is committed to another person, or is not interested in a relationship could be some reasons.

  1. Discuss the basic process of a date

Explain to your child that he/she should know the exact date and place of the date, and how the couple will arrive at the place.

  1. Educate your child in everything related to signs

Ask the teenager if he/she would like to hug or kiss at the end of the date, and emphasize that he/she must be sure that the other person has an interest. For this, he/she must know how to interpret the related signals. Kissing or hugging someone requires a mutual interest and should be asked politely.

  1. Discuss the different levels of intimacy

Explain that kissing on the lips is more intimate than holding hands and that the important thing is that you feel comfortable and that many things are different from what is shown in the media.

  1. Support your child on the day of the dating

Orientate your son/daughter about the appropriate customs to make him/her look their best. If you have already taken the first step and decided to invite someone, encourage them to pay the bill, and if someone else asked you out, encourage them to pay their share.

Dating is intimidating for any adult, much more for an inexperienced teenager, so parents must provide full support in this area. Emphasize that dating is a positive and enriching experience that allows people to get to know each other better and that mutual friendships can arise from there.

Fuente: http://bit.ly/2ZuF1sG

father and son

Living within the spectrum is not easy, but it can be twice as hard when they are starting experience dating and intimacy. Help your teens with these tips!

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How Important Is Social Skills Therapy in Autism?

The main difficulty faced by people with autism is social interaction. This problem can occur at different levels, some in a severe state, such as those who do not express themselves through speech, or in a mild way. However, even in mild cases, social communication can be limited and have an unfavorable impact on relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. That is why it is highly recommended to go to social skills therapy.

Social skills affected by autism

Autism is a disorder that triggers a series of signs; one of them is the lack of basic social skills. The limitations extend to difficulty making eye contact, asking questions, or giving correct answers, and using daily courtesy phrases such as: please, thank you, permission, excuse me.

These fundamental skills are necessary to interact with others, even for self-defense. There are cases of autism in which these communication skills are not affected, but complications can be evidenced for the understanding of the thoughts and for interpreting the feelings of others.

Most people have the ability to “infer” what others think through gestural signals of body language, and can even react quickly because they understand what is happening in their environment.

People with ASD do not possess these skills, so specialized attention and training are important; otherwise, they can make social mistakes without knowing it, hurt feelings, have inappropriate behaviors, ask awkward questions, etc.

Social skills therapist

Currently, there are many people with autism spectrum disorders. This has led to the existence of multiple businesses related to teaching and social skills for people of all ages.

For now, there is no specific certification or association of therapists, so people dedicated to this field come from different professions and specialties such as psychologists, neuropsychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and language therapists with experience in the application of techniques to develop the social skills of people with autism.

The current virtual market also offers a series of interactive teaching tools in the form of texts and videos for parents and adults with autism.

How do social skills therapists help people with autism?

Therapists help people with autism through effective techniques to develop social skills. These are applicable depending on the environment.

School environment

  • Group activities: Games and activities that favor communication and exchange with friends and colleagues with autism.

Groups should be supervised by school psychologists or social workers both inside and outside the classroom.

External environment

In order to improve these skills outside of school, private consultations and sessions must be paid.

In general, children are incorporated into curricula organized by age and ability of each of them. Personalized professional attention is developed by experts in social skills therapy.

One of the variants of social skills therapy is dramatic therapy, characterized by being educational and fun. It includes video models, group therapy, among others, and is aimed at adolescents and adults.

Some parents opt for cognitive therapy specialists who can be referred by psychologists or psychiatrists.

Are social skills therapies effective?

Therapy is expected to give people with autism the ability to interact with others, talk, play, share, and participate in activities with typical people.

The idea is that it allows individuals with ASD to integrate into society fully and not distinguish themselves from each other.

The average duration of a social skills therapy session is two hours a week, and although it is effective in some cases such as getting the person with autism to look at the face of another when they talk through specific techniques, it is very difficult for them to achieve social behavior similar to neurotypical people.

To reach this level of impact, an intensive program is required compared to the social skills programs currently taught.

How to find a qualified social skills therapist?

In the absence of an official certification that supports social skills therapists, it is a challenge to find the ideal and qualified specialist in the area. However, you can follow these tips that can help you make the best decision.

  • Attend some sessions with your child. Inquire among the participants about the results obtained and the effectiveness of the techniques.
  • Find out if social skills therapy is included in your child’s school program.
  • Verify that the person who imparts these therapies is trained and has experience in a related area.
  • If you decide on a private social skills therapy, consult the Autism Society of America or AutismLink for information and knowledge about local professionals.

Source: http://bit.ly/2Kurv1M

kids smiling

Find out why this therapy is highly recommended for everybody within the spectrum!

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Teens with Autism | How to Explain Physical and Emotional Changes?

Sex education is fundamental for teenagers; let them know that they are about to undergo physical and emotional changes and to be fully aware of that world at the right age. It is important to have good communication with them to nurture them of everything they need to know in this process that they will begin to experience.

When is the perfect time? 

The school is usually the main source of information, after the parents, that address this topic at an appropriate level and according to the age of the adolescent. Working with teachers can be an excellent idea to reinforce what is taught at school.

We know that children with autism need a longer and slower period to assimilate perfectly what they are being taught. Starting to address these behaviors a little before they reach puberty would be the right thing to do.

Language

You should be careful about using language when communicating with your son or daughter. Certain denominations and words can be strong for a child with the autism spectrum.

Private and public

Your child should know the difference between private and public, what to do and what not to do:

– Talk about puberty and sexuality only with parents, teachers, and family doctor.

– The door is knocked before entering; we must respect the privacy of all.

– Change of clothes should always be in private places (some individuals with autism spectrum take attitudes of removing clothes from one moment to another in any place, we must teach them that it is not right.)

Physical and emotional changes

Physical and emotional changes are the main springboard to puberty. If it is often a complicated process to understand for adolescents who do not have the spectrum, it is even more so for children with ASD. It’s all about knowing how to explain, communicate, therapies, learning materials, and always inform yourself, so you know what to respond to and be honest with your son or daughter.

Today, we give you a link to a page where you will get good information that will serve you on this topic: https://www.autism.org.uk/about/communication/sex-education.aspx.

 

dad and sons

Be part of the Autism Spectrum and becoming a teen is not easy, but you will always be there for them!


 

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LGBT and Autism | How is it Like to Be Part of Both Communities

Expressing a sexual inclination, different orientation, or identifying yourself as a person with autism and LGBT at the same time can be difficult for anyone.

Although progress in recent years regarding the rights of the LGBT community is evident, members still suffer discrimination, stigma, and political challenges. The challenge increases when it comes to people with autism because it is a permanent condition that affects the way a person perceives the world, as well as his/her behavior, communication and social interaction with others.

The causes are still unknown, not to mention the informational vacuum that exists about the biological characteristics of sexuality and the approach to gender identity. There are people who accept who they are and feel satisfied with it, but there are others who constantly seek to understand their identity.

Undoubtedly, having autism, and being part of the LGBT community can bring about social complexities, presenting a variety of challenges.

Fight for adaptation

For people with autism, everyday life can be overwhelming and involves a constant struggle to adapt to today’s world. According to the National Autism Society, “they see, hear and feel the world differently from neurotypical people.”

Generally, individuals within the spectrum have difficulties in communicating, expressing feelings, understanding social signs and interacting with others. For them to conform to social rules takes time and effort. This allows them to develop a unique identity.

A reality that seeks social claim and visibility

Sexual diversity and gender identity are part of a reality that seeks social claim and visibility, extending to people with autism.

On June 28, 2017, thousands of people gathered for a week in Madrid, Spain, to celebrate International LGBTI Pride Day (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transexuals, among others) and develop activities to discuss and show diversity.

This global event focused its attention on people with disabilities through the Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (CERMI) and the Cermi Women Foundation (FCM), among other institutions, under the slogan “sexual diversity, human diversity,” promoted for the disability movement.

The representatives of CERMI, an organization of which Autismo Spain is a part, met in 2016 to form a Technical Commission to provide support and attention to persons with disabilities in matters of sexual orientation and gender identity.

United Nations (2016) considers that:

“The guarantee of equality and non-discrimination offered by international human rights standards applies to all persons, regardless of their sexual orientation and their gender identity or other condition.”

However, despite rights achievements, when other variables such as sexuality and non-normative gender identity are added to a disability, the problem becomes more complex because exclusion and discrimination come into play.

Autism and exercising rights for sexual diversity and gender identity

Autismo Spain has prioritized the promotion and effective exercise of the rights of people with autism, with the aim of improving their quality of life and granting them equal opportunities. To achieve this, it is important to include the different realities in the field of sexual orientation in a transversal way.

Sexual diversity and gender identity is a pulsating reality that demands a change of vision

about sexuality in the world. Fortunately, in recent years it has been more vindicated, observing a greater visibility from the social point of view, which also has an impact on the group of people with autism.

Expressing sexuality and gender

The difficulty in developing in the social environment and interacting with others complicate relationships with people with ASD.

There are manifestations such as repeating phrases and words, repetitive movements, talking about their own interests, inability to understand emotions, isolation, little eye contact and rejection of physical contact are determining behaviors at the time of consolidating a friendship or romantic relationship.

The above does not mean that a person with autism cannot live a normal life, but it requires greater tolerance and compassion on the part of family members, partners, and friends.

Be yourself

Jack Whitfield, a member of the Ambitious About Autism Youth Council and a Plymouth poet, says: “it can be difficult to express two different identities.”

“Many more of us are adopting different sexualities and gender fluency independently and with relative confidence,” says Jack.

By having contact with like-minded people, Jack says he “has been able to better understand his autism and sexuality.”

“The Last Pride Festival in Plymouth was fantastic in meeting many other autistic people being very open with both, which helps me as I learn more about my possible biromantic or asexual traits.”

“The two movements [autism and LGBT] always seemed to work well together, challenging the convention but with a view to equity and integration, rather than attacking those who are not autistic or LGBTQ,” he said.

“I am grateful because the awkward social encounters that I had previously attributed to my autism are becoming more complex to analyze, by contemplating and questioning my sexuality within it.”

He goes on to say: “As I see my autistic colleagues as brothers and sisters, regardless of where they are on the spectrum, the parallel values ​​of patience and welcome that I see in the Pride movement reassure me of being able to talk about how to navigate this new terrain for me.”

Not always visible

There are different types of autism and levels, and sometimes it is not easy to identify so many call it “silent disability.”

Jonathan Andrews, 24, who has expressed being LGBT and is on the spectrum, says that “both his sexuality and his disability are not immediately visible to people.”

“I don’t announce it when I meet people for the first time, unless it’s something natural in a conversation or if the other person realizes on their own.”

“With sexuality, people often assume that you must be” secretly gay “or similar. With autism, people assume that you are not really autistic, saying: ‘you don’t look autistic’, ‘you look good’ or variants, or assuming that because I’m smart, nothing else matters, or set a lower bar for you, often called “soft fanaticism of low expectations,” he says.

“That said, I would not say that my experience has been mostly negative: in general, I have worked and I am friends with people who accept me for who I am and recognize the advantage of diversity.”

The most important thing to keep in mind is that each individual with autism is different.

Testimony of a beneficiary of the Autism Federation of Andalusia who tells us his personal experience.

To know this reality a little better, we wanted to show the testimony of a person who receives the support of the Autonomous Federation of Andalusia and who wanted to tell us about his personal experience.

Tell us a little about yourself, how would you describe yourself beyond labels?

Personally, the labels cause me a certain rejection, beyond “person with ASD” or “LGBT person,” I am simply a person. In my opinion, the fact of putting so many labels excludes us more than it includes us. We would have to do more to see the person as a human being and not classify them according to their disability, sexuality, religion or color.

Have you ever felt discriminated against or invisible? Can you explain to us?

Everyone feels that way sometimes. I have been discriminated against, tried and rejected for being gay and for having Asperger’s until I discovered that no one has the power to insult you if you don’t give it. With Asperger’s, I felt invisible and displaced almost daily.

What has helped you overcome possible difficulties in this regard?

The power is within each and every one of us. To access it, we have to eliminate fears, complexes, and insecurities. You have to fight and not let yourself fall; never respond with anger (anger feeds anger) and bring out the good that we have inside so that others can appreciate it.

What is required of the society in general or the political class so that diversity ceases to be a barrier to total inclusion?

I don’t expect anything. I fear nothing. I am free.

How do you see yourself in the future?

Shining and giving light to those around me. That is my goal in life.

Source:

http://bit.ly/2KoAPoe

http://www.autismo.org.es/actualidad/articulo/una-realidad-poco-abordada-hasta-ahora-la-orientacion-sexual-e-identidad-de.

girls

Never think less of yourself because you are a person with autism and also part of the LGBT community.

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Tips for Parents: How to Approach the Sexual Topic?

The arrival of adolescence and the development of the body bring with them a series of normal sexual feelings in all young people, but in adolescents with autism, this stage is somewhat difficult. In this article, we give you some tips to address sexuality and relationships.

Most people within the spectrum experience sensations, feelings, needs, and certain sexual behaviors, as do all young people.

This experience does not have to be traumatic or overwhelming. On the contrary, with proper and timely sexual education, and teaching that allows them to know how relationships work, this stage can be satisfactory.

1. Don’t ignore it

At home, there must be respect for the privacy of every family member. Prohibitions and turning sex into a taboo subject is counterproductive. There are parents who forbid talking about sex at home and even see it as a sin. It is not possible to prevent young people from being sexually active if they have already reached the legal age.

When there is no privacy, sexually active youth can choose public places to perform sexual acts. For this reason, many young people keep their relations secret, in many cases uncontrollably and with insecurities.

Having sex in public places can cause severe penalties and can even lead to arrest.

To ignore the issue of sexuality is to risk the teenager with autism becoming a victim of abuse or confusing a kiss or a hug with a sexual act.

2. Explain that relationships come before sex

It is important to explain the importance of building social relationships based on friendship, in addition to consolidating emotional life as a couple. Young adults with autism should understand that it is a stage that is part of the development of life.

Social interaction is more difficult for a teenager with autism, so to experiment with new relationships, it is advisable to guide them on how they can develop an intimate or friendly relationship.

During adolescence, sexual maturity comes a few years before reaching emotional maturity, an essential moment to make key decisions.

Individuals with autism are growing in an era of technological evolution and visual culture in which the internet, social networks, media, games, music, and pornography convey messages that incite sexual relations, even making them look like socially accepted and habitual behavior.

This stage is full of confusing information. It is where parents must intervene by providing the necessary information to face it in the best way.

Disorientation can lead them to think that sex is expected behavior. Therefore, it should be clear that sex is not a mandatory act.

3. Where and when to start educating

Sexual and relationship education should begin immediately so that the child understands himself/herself, that is, as he/she grows, the parts of the body are explained in addition to touching, dressing, and undressing.

If he/she develops awareness about the physical appearance of adults compared to his/her body, it is a good occasion to start the discussion.

The beard, the breasts, and the hairs of the armpits are tangible and observable signs so that the child can perceive the differences.

Unlike previous generations, puberty occurs at an early age, first in girls, then, in boys. Young women and young men experience physical and emotional changes at this stage.

4. Plan what to cover

Adolescents should receive specialized attention and education, which should include health and hygiene, body changes, personal space, social norms, personal safety, and privacy rules in order to improve interpersonal relationships, communication, social behavior and understanding of the environment.

Clarifying the moment in which distance should be taken, as well as relationships and mutual consent that must exist in interpersonal relationships, are the greatest challenges parents face.

5. Make limits clear

When initiating a conversation with adolescents with autism, limits concerning the body should be established, that is, make clear which parts are private and should not be shown, which are the appropriate places or spaces and which are the private ones.

For some parents, it is uncomfortable to start educating teenagers with autism about limits, but if it is not oriented properly, the person will not be able to distinguish what kind of behavior is socially approved in adulthood.

6. Build trust

Highlight the positive in the teenager, recognize their abilities in their presence, and make them feel what they are worth. Supporting them and contributing to improve their self-esteem is decisive in the puberty stage.

Wearing age-appropriate clothing, having a unique and personal style are crucial factors in developing the ability to overcome adversity and obstacles in adulthood.

The idea is that in the adult stage, they do not need to receive guidelines, but suggestions to set their limits with judgment and conscience.

Source: http://bit.ly/2OWoX2j

Don't be scared, your teens will need you more than ever with all the changes that adolescence brings, besides the struggles with autism.

Don’t be scared your teens will need you more than ever with all the changes that adolescence brings, besides the struggles with autism.

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Teens with Autism | How to Balance the ASD with Adolescence?

Puberty is an important stage of transition characterized by many changes and alterations in the organism with psychological and emotional impact.

It is a stage in which people experience intense transformations in their body and mind.

Teenagers begin to worry about what they are, and what others think, in addition to beginning to understand what is socially acceptable and what is not.

There is a greater sexual and romantic impulse while encompassing a complex and difficult period for everyone who goes through it. But, in the case of teenagers with autism, it includes a challenge for family members.

Body changes

The human body warns of a series of changes due to its development; it is understood that it goes from childhood to puberty. When children reach this stage, the tone of voice changes and the penis becomes a little bigger.

Likewise, girls may perceive breast enlargement and menstrual periods begin every 28 days. In both sexes, puberty causes the growth of pubic hair, and underarms, showing a strong tendency to suffer from acne.

These changes in the body represent a stage of great difficulty for adolescents, for a child with the autistic spectrum, these body changes can surprise him and cause them certain fears.

 

Given this, it is necessary for parents to talk with their child before this stage, in the case of girls it is a priority to be taught about feminine hygiene and the care of their body in general.

To educate children with ASD, you can use audiovisual content, images, or cartoons that allow you to graphically the changes that occur in your body.

Recent research shows that during puberty there is a strong tendency to suffer seizures among people with autism, this particular situation is worth discerning with the doctor during childhood to detect in time the symptoms and signs that may occur.

It is a good idea to start conversations with the neurologist and other specialists to have several opinions on the subject.

Sexual feelings

Sexual impulses or excitement are typical in the puberty stage, an absolutely normal body behavior in kids with autism.

But in their adolescent years, some sensory problems can be suffered as a result of this condition which can generate feelings of anxiety.

Adolescents may have inappropriate behavior from a social point of view, being able to masturbate in a place not suitable for it.

Masturbation is a healthy and normal attitude in the developmental stage; however, despite being natural some adolescents with autism do not have the level of social awareness to know when and where it is convenient to do so.

In this sense, direct communication with the child on the subject is essential to discuss all the concerns and doubts that the child expresses.

If you don’t feel comfortable when you start talking about sexuality, then establish a communication with the child’s therapist that will surely give you some guidelines to help you face this stage of shock.

School challenges

Generally, entering primary school causes many concerns in children with autism, which represents a real challenge for them when trying to get good grades. It is difficult to configure a willingness to study, without initially causing a psychological and emotional impact on them.

To exemplify the above, if the kid is in a class, teachers will demand more abstract thinking and tasks that don’t need to be memorized. This complicates things a bit because they have ample memory capacity, so they are very good at remembering information.

However, abstract thoughts are not the strength of children with autism; for them, abstract concepts are quite complex, which could negatively impact their self-esteem.

Before reaching adolescence, parents should address the issue of esteem with therapists and other specialists to improve the kid’s self-esteem and an appreciation of themselves that is not linked to their school grades.

Besides, the therapist can help you learn to cope with the frustration of having to ask for help from classmates or teachers constantly.

The specialist can also guide on the strategies necessary to summarize and analyze the content of the subjects both teachers; school counselors can help to achieve a greater understanding.

It is about involving all those who make up the educational community to support and facilitate the learning of the child with autism.

Everyone goes through puberty at some point in life, and it is essential to plan together with the child’s therapist, the school teacher about to know what to do when the child enters the adolescence stage.

With professional help and consistent planning, this stage can flow satisfactorily.

Source: http://bit.ly/2OWoX2j

family

Don’t be scared your teens will need you more than ever with all the changes that adolescence brings, besides the struggles with autism.

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