Helping Kids & Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum Thrive

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a very common developmental disability, impacting one in 54 children. What is true for one person with autism may not be true for another, which can be challenging for kids and teens with the condition as well as for caregivers trying to understand ASD.

So, for children and adolescents who feel that they live in a world that does not accommodate their neurodiversity, how can we help them feel more comfortable in their environment? In what ways can we help them not only survive, but thrive?

Audience Questions

Join us as Laura D. Mead, MSEd, MBA, explains how we can provide both flexible and supportive structure for children and teens with autism spectrum disorder, shares tips to reduce stress in both caregivers and kids, and answers questions about ASD.

  • Where does processing speed and executive function fit into an ASD diagnosis?
  • If we have been working to accommodate our child who is on the spectrum, should we expect there to be changes in their perception and comfortability in the world as they progress through puberty? Does puberty have a different impact on those with spectrum disorders?
  • Can you provide some examples as to how our comfy, cozy world may be to someone on the autism spectrum?
  • I am a teacher in a self-contained classroom and have a student with ASD who is very sensitive to sound. What are some ways I can help him to feel more comfortable?
  • How can we “meet kids in the middle” when trying to accommodate their environment—or is this an impossibility when my child has ASD? Should I just go with what’s going to put them most at ease?
  • Depending on the severity of their autism, how can we help kids convey their condition to their peers to help reduce stigma?
  • How can I talk to my child about bullying?
  • How can we reduce stress in teens who have ASD, but also in their caregivers?
  • My teenager with ASD will be starting college soon. As their parent I’m excited for them, but also very nervous about what this new environment will bring. How can I talk to them about it and help them prepare for it?
  • Do you think that work-study jobs are useful for college students with ASD?
  • Do you have any suggestions for resources or virtual support groups for college students with ASD?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.


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About Laura D. Mead

Laura D. Mead, MSEd, MBA, a teacher and administrator with 20 years of experience in special education, is currently the educational administrator at Pathways Academy, McLean Hospital’s school for students on the autism spectrum, with and without co-occurring psychiatric diagnoses.

Ms. Mead’s background is in psychology, education, and art. She has taught elementary and middle school special education to students with social-emotional and behavioral challenges in both private and public school settings. Her interests lie in building students’ self-esteem within the therapeutic learning environment.

Learn more about Laura D. Mead.

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