Raising autistic/ADHD teens..? tighten your belts

Raising primary-aged autistic, ADHD children has its challenges. Some of these can be managed with a tailored mix of adaptations to strengthen your child’s skills and build self-esteem in a world which is often ignorant and unkind.

But when your little one grows up, the challenges don’t go away, they morph into a tangled fisherman’s web that we need to trawl through. Today’s neurodivergent teens exist in a hyper stimulating world, thrumming with the colours, sights and demands of social media. Young people are spiralled into depressive episodes as they compare themselves critically to other young people in ways that is harmful and unnatural.

Autistic and ADHD teens can fare badly in this environment*, that relies so much on ‘successful’ social interaction and communication. On top of these, they may be dealing with their emergent sexuality as well as pressure from school, peers and parents.

I was delighted, to deliver a seminar “Autistic, ADHD Teens” for @A2ndVoice and be available to answer questions for families in London Borough of Haringey and surrounds. In the talk, I address some of the key sensory and emotional challenges of being an autistic, ADHD teen and make suggestions for parents and carers, that may ease everyone’s path on this major emotional and developmental transition. Take a look at the film here – it’s about 55 minutes, so you might want to grab a long drink before you settle down to watch!


I also discuss some of the environmental and emotional issues that may be affecting parents by the time their children reach adolescence: marriage break up, supporting elderly or bereaved parents, personal illness, menopause or loss of employment. It’s a long list and goes some way to explaining the heavy load that parenting whilst managing competing needs, can create. Many families are overloaded and these constant pressures can easily build into an explosive situation for everyone concerned.

© Suzy Rowland

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