Residential Treatment for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Updated on April 26, 2022

Treating Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Mental Health Needs

Children with autism spectrum disorder get quite a bit of attention in the early years as they are learning social skills and coping mechanisms that help them function in a society that is geared towards neurotypical people.

Yet many kids with high-functioning autism learn these skills quickly, so they are able to move into their teenage years with fewer supports and interventions. Unfortunately for many of these teens, this sets the stage for mental health issues, and parents are left without the resources they need to find appropriate help.

If you feel that your autistic teen is struggling, or if you feel that their autism symptoms are getting worse, it may be time to look at more intensive therapies and treatments. If you are proactive as a parent, you can give your teenager with ASD the right tools to cope with any mental health concerns that come their way.

The Link Between Autism Spectrum Disorder and Depression

What parents of autistic teens need to know is that there is a direct correlation between ASD and depression. In fact, autistic people are four times as likely to suffer severe depression as their neurotypical peers.

Treating teenagers with autism often focuses less on the autistic characteristics, which are simply part of who they are, and more on the other mental health aspects that come with the condition.

Autistic people are four times as likely to suffer severe depression as their neurotypical peers.

What parents of autistic teens need to know is that there is a direct correlation between ASD and depression. In fact, autistic people are four times as likely to suffer severe depression as their neurotypical peers.

Treating teenagers with autism often focuses less on the autistic characteristics, which are simply part of who they are, and more on the other mental health aspects that come with the condition.

Unfortunately, researchers are not sure why this correlation exists. Some have theorized it is part of the neurodiversity picture, while others feel it may come from social pressures to conform to a neurotypical world.

Some research has found that people with autism seem prone to dwell on negative emotions, and this can make the risk of depression higher. Other mental health conditions often come with autism as well, though they may be more because of the neurodiversity instead of an actual disorder.

In fact, many people with high functioning autism, which used to be called Asperger’s syndrome, may get diagnosed with OCD, ADHD, bipolar, and generalized anxiety disorder before they receive their autism diagnosis.

These traits often stem from the neurodiversity, and proper autism therapy can help parents and teens manage them more effectively.

Treating Teenagers with Autism and Mental Health Concerns

Unfortunately, for teenagers with autism, traditional depression treatments may not work well. Talk therapy, for example, can be hard for teens that struggle with communication or getting in touch with their own emotions.

Medications can be helpful, but autistic teens tend to react differently to depression medication than neurotypical teens. Depression and anxiety medications can make teens with autism more impulsive, which can make them at risk.

Sometimes, the best way to address severe depression and anxiety in teenagers is through residential treatment at a facility that understands autism spectrum disorder. This treatment plan gives the child intense, focused therapy, so they can learn to manage their disorder and thrive with it.

How to Tell if It’s Time for Intervention

How can you tell that your autistic teen needs additional intervention beyond what you are doing?

A residential treatment center may be needed if your child is experiencing chronic behaviors, is having severe aggression, is facing school expulsion, or shows other signs of an emotional or physical crisis. In general, if parents think the autism is “getting worse,” or it is impacting the child’s quality of life more intensely, it may be time to seek outside help.

No family or teenager should live in an emotional or physical crisis when help is available.

How a Residential Treatment Center Helps Autistic Teens in Crisis

Residential treatment for teens with ASD does not focus on “curing” autism. Autism is not a disease that needs a cure. It is a different way of thinking and interacting with the world. Rather, when treating teenagers with autism, the goal is to help them learn healthy coping behaviors and skills to use when the world feels overwhelming or they face too much stimulation from their environment.

Residential treatment works well because it removes the teen from crisis. It puts them in a safe environment where they can focus on their emotional and physical health, without the pressures of regular school and family environments. It provides the teen with the focused attention of trained therapists who understand them and their disorder well.

When these teens are in crisis, their school work often falls behind. This can make their anxiety and depression worse. In a residential treatment center, they can catch up with their school work so that part of their anxiety lessens.

During the time that the teen is in the residential treatment center, the family can learn coping mechanisms and skills to help at home, too. They also have the chance to heal from the crisis as well. When the teen is healthier and ready to return home, the family is ready to welcome them back.

Sending your autistic teen to residential treatment can feel frightening, but the link between ASD and serious mental health concerns is very real. Often, residential treatment is the exact tool they need to recover from a mental health crisis, gain important skills, and move forward with confidence and hope for a happy future. If you feel that your teen is facing a crisis.

 

Speak to an expert about Residential Treatment for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and how it may help your child.

Connect with an Admissions Counselor who specializes in Residential Treatment for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to help your teen begin their recovery today.

Sponsored Ad

Share This Article With Others!

We Are Here For You

We understand this is a difficult time for you. Sadly we do not know of any free programs.

Step 1 of 3
  • Verify Insurance Benefits Online

  • Submitting your insurance information on our HIPAA Compliant Form will allow our Admissions Department to complete a verification of benefits of your insurance coverage which we can then review with you.

    Please note: We are not contracted (in-network) with any insurance companies and therefore do not accept HMO policies; all policies must have out of network benefits in order for our Residential Treatment Center to work with your policy. Also, please understand that we do NOT accept Medicaid or Medicare.

  • Contact Information

  • Insurance Policy Information

  • Upload Files
  • Should be Empty: