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Resource Guide

12 Tips for Supporting Your Autistic Teen

May 19th, 2023

Sarah Taylor

For Caregivers

The teen years can be a turbulent time for families and a particularly challenging time for neurodivergent youth. From new social pressures to their changing bodies, autistic teens experience unique social, cognitive, and emotional changes. However, autistic teens can thrive during their adolescent years when supported and safe. 

Here are 12 tips to support autistic teens: 

  1. Be patient. The teen years are difficult, and your teen needs your support while navigating school, stresses, and social life.  
  2. Provide for their sensory needs. Sensory items such as fidgets can reduce anxiety and overstimulation.  Be mindful of any sensory sensitivities to tastes, sounds, and textures and allow them space from sensory overwhelm.  
  3. Break chores down into smaller tasks and use visuals when helpful. This encourages executive functioning skills without being overwhelming.  
  4. Show interest in their passions. Take time to listen, learn, and connect.  
  5. Validate. Their emotions and struggles are real, so acknowledge, listen, and show empathy. Hold space for them when they need to talk or connect. Monitor changes in mood, and for more information on mental health see our blog on Mental Health Resources.   
  6. Support their identity, pronouns, and name choices. Many neurodivergent teens identify as 2SLGBTQIA+.  
  7. Advocate, and encourage your teen to self-advocate. Ensure adequate school and mental health supports are in place.  
  8. Plan ahead for transitioning to adulthood 
  9. Talk to them about their changing bodies and emotions. Below are some resources on puberty and autism.  
  10. Speak openly about sex and dating. Answer questions and provide resources.  
  11. Encourage good sleep hygiene. Adequate rest promotes better mental health.  
  12. Let them take the lead in activities they enjoy. Teens strive for independence and autonomy.   

Below are some resources to help you or your loved ones navigate the transition into the teen years. 



Find Support BC 

Family Smart 

QMunity Youth Services 

Ask an Autistic: Youtube Channel 

Growing Up: Teens with ASD 

ACT Video: Autism and sexual health 

Autism in Teens 

Community Mental Health Resources for Autistic Youth | Anxiety Stress and Autism Program (ASAP) ( 

Autism AND Adolescence| Purple Ella (VIDEO) 


Mental Health 

How Can You Support Your Teenager 

Getting Help During Mental Health Crisis for Children/Youth (Island)  

Foundry BC 

Child and Teen Mental Health BC  

Youth in BC Chat 

Kids Help Phone BC 

Child & Youth Mental Health – Province of British Columbia ( 



Understanding Autism: Secondary Teachers Guide 


prevent bullying and discrimination, promote kindness ( 



A Handbook for Autistic Youth Transitioning to Adulthood 

Community Living BC 

See more on this Transitioning into Adulthood 

PATH and MAPs training – ImagineACircle 



Planet Puberty 

Sex Ed Guide 

Kids Health: Teens 

Sex Ed Toolkit for Autistic Teens  


Executive Functioning  

Understanding Neurodivergence & Executive Functioning – Microsoft 365 

Executive Function Tests – The OT Toolbox 

Executive Function Coaching – The OT Toolbox 

Developing Executive Function Skills: Get Ready, Do, Done — SLP Corner 

Executive Functioning Apps 

Alexa Skills for Therapy – The OT Toolbox 

Visual Daily Planner | Tiimo ( 

Executive Function & Social Skills » West Coast Centre For Learning ( 

Executive Function Coaching – Fraser Academy X – FAx 

ADHD Coaching ( 

Body Doubling | Find a [virtual] body double! 

What is Body Doubling? Why is it so good for ADHD? 

–  FLOWN Discover a new way to think and work 

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