Hudson Valley Parent

HVP March 2018

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18 Hudson Valley Parent n March 2018 Encouraging socialization In his early teens, Peter had to be more than gently encouraged to participate in anything outside of school. He did not like to do anything after school until Backyard Sports, sports clinics for kids all the way from preschool to eighth grade, became an option. He explored several sports each year and had one-on-one volunteers teaching him the ropes. That eased him into social activities without having to always deal with the stresses of being on a team. In middle school, I signed him up for a cooking class as an after-school activity. He begged not to go. We made a deal. He would try class for two weeks and then we would make a final decision. "Okay, By PATRICE ATHANASIDY W ith three teenagers in the house, there is always a learning curve for me as the Mom. When do I let go? How much freedom is too much? What rules change because each of my children has different strengths and weaknesses? I also have the added challenge that my almost 17-year-old son, Peter, is on the autism spectrum. Throughout his life, it meant I approached milestones differently than with my two daughters, who are now 15 and almost 20. I am finding the always tricky teen years a bit more challenging with Peter. but pick me up early," Peter said. The next week I received the more typical teenage response: "When you pick me up, text and wait in the car, pleasssse." It was followed later that day by a text reminding me not to come inside to get him. That class was the beginning of a more socially involved teen. He joined Walking Club through his school and now competes in the Pioneers program, a sports league for students with special needs. Yearning for his freedom Suddenly, Peter wanted to go out with his friends beyond the planned activities. That is when it got tricky. Peter wanted to go out to lunch or bowling with his friends and without his parents. He saw his sisters do it all the time. "Mom, why Navigating the teen years with a son on the spectrum Social situations are di erent Peter is a 17-year-old Hudson Valley native. He tests his boundaries, searches for freedom and looks towards the future just like any other boy his age.

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