Published on Fri Apr 30 2021

Exploring Three Core Psychological Elements When Treating Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum: Self-Awareness, Gender Identity, and Sexuality.

Ann Genovese

For those growing up on the autism spectrum, adolescence is associated with unique challenges. Developmental tasks of adolescence include adaptation to a maturing mind and body. What are welcome opportunities for non-autistic peers can become insurmountable hurdles for autistic teens.

1
4
6
Abstract

For those growing up on the autism spectrum, adolescence is associated with unique challenges. This narrative review explores three core psychological elements for clinicians to consider when treating adolescents on the autism spectrum: self-awareness, gender identity, and sexuality. Developmental tasks of adolescence include adaptation to a maturing mind and body, increased expectations for independence, and the ability to establish satisfying interpersonal relationships. What are welcome opportunities for non-autistic peers can become nearly insurmountable hurdles for autistic teens, which, in turn, could lead to crisis, particularly if skills needed for success in managing these tasks have not yet been acquired.