Therapy for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Does your child have autism and anxiety? Are you looking for ways to help them? If so, you’re not alone. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex condition that affects social, communication, and behavior skills. It is often accompanied by other mental health issues such as anxiety or mood disorders. At Decade2Connect, we can create a specialized therapy treatment plan for your child. We can also guide you and the rest of your family on how best to support your child.

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of complex neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by difficulty in social interaction, repetitive and restrictive behaviors, as well as communication difficulties.

How common are Autism Spectrum Disorders?

It affects 1 in 68 children in the United States and is five times more common in boys than girls. ASD can range from mild to severe, and its symptoms are often present during early childhood but can persist into adulthood.

Do Kids with ASD Often Have Anxiety or Mood Disorders?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, up to 80% of children living with ASD also experience co-occurring mental health disorders, such as anxiety and mood disorders. This rate is significantly higher than the general population, which suggests that autism and these mental illnesses are strongly correlated.

As parents of children with ASD, it is important to recognize the signs of anxiety and mood disorders in order to seek appropriate treatment for your child. Symptoms may range from difficulty sleeping or concentrating, to sudden changes in behavior or emotions. If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, it is important that you speak with a qualified professional who can diagnose and provide treatment options for your child.

Treatment Options for Kids and Teens with ASD and Co-occurring Anxiety or Mood Disorders

Treatment for kids and teens with autism spectrum disorder and anxiety aims to reduce the symptoms of both conditions and promote healthy functioning. Interventions typically involve a combination of psychotherapy, medication, lifestyle changes, and other supportive therapies such as occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, or social skills training.

Psychotherapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one type of psychotherapy that has been found to be particularly helpful in managing anxiety among those living with ASD.

Medication: Medications are used to reduce symptoms related to the underlying condition(s), such as irritability or impulsivity associated with ASD or anxious thoughts associated with an anxiety disorder.

Lifestyle Changes: Exercise can be especially helpful as it can help regulate moods while also providing a distraction from anxious thoughts or worries. Establishing routines at home can also provide structure and predictability while reducing stress levels among children living with ASD.

Supportive Therapies: Occupational therapy (OT), speech-language pathology (SLP), or social skills training can also be beneficial for kids and teens with ASD and a co-occurring mood disorder or anxiety.

Contact Decade2Connect about ASD Questions

There are a variety of treatments available for kids and teens living with ASD co-occurring with an anxiety or mood disorder. Our therapists can provide a safe, supportive environment for your family to help you and your child live happy, healthy lives. Contact us today.

Our Intensive Outpatient Program is in-network with United!