Anger is a common symptom for high-functioning teens with autism. When an angry outburst occurs, it can be impossible to communicate with your child as they are overwhelmed by their feelings and emotions. High-functioning autism and anger are manageable through counseling and behavior analysis, where your teen will learn how to identify and manage their anger in positive and healthy ways.
At Camp Worth, our autism spectrum disorder therapy program in Fort Worth helps high-functioning teen boys and girls ages 11 – 17 and their families better understand why angry outbursts happen and how to recognize the signs of an angry outburst. Our programs and services offer effective approaches to helping teens with autism. Call 855.915.2545 or complete our online form to contact our staff about your teen’s high-functioning autism and anger.
Managing Your High-Functioning Teen’s Autism Anger Issues
High-functioning teens with autism can communicate well with others and maintain an independent life where they can hold down a job and take care of their personal hygiene without help. But they still are subject to the same sensory and social symptoms common to all teens with ASD and can become overwhelmed in certain situations.
When an angry outburst occurs, knowing how to handle the situation can be difficult. It is vital to remain calm and patient in order to help your teen manage their anger. Here are some tips for managing autism and anger in high-functioning teens:
- Take deep breaths. Deep breathing is a great tool to help calm yourself and your teen in an overwhelming situation.
- Encourage physical activity. Exercise and outdoor activities can help release pent-up energy and frustration, allowing your teen to manage their autism and anger better.
- Acknowledge your teen’s feelings. Letting your child know that you recognize their emotions can help them feel heard and understood.
- Practice empathy. Understanding your teen’s perspective can help them feel seen and validated, making it easier to work through difficult emotions.
- Use positive reinforcement. Rewarding appropriate behavior with praise or small rewards can help reinforce it in the future.
At Camp Worth, our experienced counselors and staff understand the difficulty of managing high-functioning autism and anger in teens. Learning to recognize the early signs of an angry outburst can help your teen remain calm and deal with their emotions in a positive and healthy way.
Early Warning Signs
If your teen doesn’t know how to handle their angry thoughts and feelings, they can fly into a blind rage that can harm themselves or others. Signs that your high-functioning teen is in distress and struggling with their feelings include the following:
- Rocking or pacing
- Placing hands over ears
- Being very still or tense
- Asking more questions than usual
- Threatening others
If their anger and obsessive thoughts continue, you can expect to see an outburst with the following:
- Crying and shouting
- Running away
- Hitting, kicking, biting, and scratching
- Unable to listen or process information
- Unable to calm down on their own
After your teen calms down, they may be physically exhausted and need to sleep. For as much as their meltdown is stressful to you, it is much more strenuous on them. Afterward, they may withdraw further and have no memory of their actions during the meltdown.
A meltdown for a teen with high-functioning autism and anger can last just a few minutes to several hours. Remember that these meltdowns are not an attempt to manipulate you to get something they want. Angry outbursts are typically a cry for help when they are overwhelmed and unable to stop themselves.
What Is Behavioral Analysis Therapy?
Behavioral analysis focuses on where your high-functioning teen needs help the most, understanding their feelings and emotions that can come up during social interactions and daily living. While high-functioning teens have better communication skills, they still struggle to understand subtle social nuances that lead to frustrated feelings. If they do not have the skills to process these feelings, it can lead to an angry outburst.
By enrolling your teen with autism in a behavioral analysis program, they will:
- Work on motor skills
- Identify and manage negative behavior
- Improve their social skills
- Learn how to communicate feelings and emotions effectively
- Reduce episodes of self-harm
Choose Camp Worth for Anger Therapy for Teens with High-Functioning Autism
At Camp Worth, we will approach your teen’s high-functioning autism and anger based on their individual needs. While there is no cure for ASD, our play-based treatment approach is designed specifically with your teen’s unique symptoms in mind. Our therapists are highly skilled in working with teens to help improve their communication and social skills with a wide range of therapy options.