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Health Information For Teens
Autism spectrum disorder is a difference in the way a person’s brain develops. People with ASD are born with it and their problems usually begin in the first couple of years of life. They may have trouble with communicating and relating to others.
ASD affects different people in different ways. Some people can’t speak or learn. Their behavior may seem strange; they may avoid other people; they may pace and move their bodies in unusual ways, like flapping their hands. They may repeat lines from TV shows or movies.
People with less severe ASD are able to talk and learn. But they may have trouble:
Some might get get super-focused on a single topic or hobby, some of which may be unusual (apple varieties, World War I).
No one knows exactly what causes ASD. It probably has something to do with DNA — the genes passed down from your parents — and other things, like infections or toxins that change the way the brain develops. Problems during pregnancy and around the time of birth raise the chance of getting autism.
Vaccines do not cause autism.
Doctors check babies and little kids for signs of autism at each checkup visit. A parent may think that something is wrong and tell the doctor. Maybe the child is old enough to speak but doesn’t. Or a kid doesn’t seem interested in people or plays in unusual ways.
If the doctor suspects autism, a team of experts (which may include doctors, a psychologist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, and a special education teacher) will evaluate a child.
There is no cure for autism, but treatment can make a big difference. The sooner treatment starts, the better. With therapy, people with autism learn language, improve in school, and build social skills. Many kids with ASD are in special education classes or get special education services.
A treatment program might include:
People with ASD have a very wide array of signs and symptoms. Some people with ASD do not feel that they have a disorder and don’t want to change. They’re proud of who they are and they want to be accepted, even though they may have different strengths and weaknesses than most other people.
All people deserve respect. But people with ASD may be teased, bullied, or left out because they’re different. Bullying and teasing are never the right way to treat other people, but it may be hard to be a friend with someone who has ASD.
People with ASD often don’t understand playful jokes or sarcasm. You may need to be very clear and factual when you communicate with someone who has ASD.
Try to be patient and kind. Remember how hard it might be for the person with ASD to understand how to be a friend. Stand up for classmates who are bullied. Tell adults, so they can help protect kids who are bullied.
ADHD is a medical condition that affects how well someone can sit still, focus, and pay attention. This article for teens has the basics on ADHD.
You might want to make new friends, but arenât sure how to do it. This article for teens with autism can help.
Knowing what to say comes naturally for some people, but others need some help. Hereâs advice for teens who want to learn how to get along with people.
When you’re a teen, your body changes â this is part of growing up. You will have to learn new routines to keep yourself clean and healthy. Here’s what to expect.
When you’re a teen, your body changes. This part of growing up. It’s called puberty. Here’s what to expect.
Learning to take care of your body is part of growing up. Here’s what you need to do to keep your body clean and healthy.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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