Anxiety has been found to be a common problem amongst autistic teenagers  (White et al., 2012). Supporting your son, daughter or student to notice anxious feelings and how to select and use coping strategies can be beneficial for everyone.

Links to Research Bulletins and Best Practice Resource

Best practice resource

Autistic teenagers may experience anxiety due to:

  • Daily challenges
  • Unexpected changes
  • Social demands – or the fear of not understanding social situations
  • Difficulties with communication
  • Exposure to anxiety provoking situations
  • Not understanding information the same way as others – difficulties with context
  • Building on poorly understood information
  • Not socially motivated e.g. social reinforcement not always effective or even recognised
  • Perceived lack of common sense
  • Naivety in relationships e.g. Bullies are now ‘best friends’
  • Unknown or highly personal issues


Autism and Anxiety Girl Video:

Sarah Hendrickx, “Autism: how anxiety affects everything”

Dr Fiona McCaffrey, “Autism and Managing Anxiety”

Dr Fiona McCaffrey and Dr Rachel Ferguson,“Reducing anxiety in autistic children and young people”

Dr Brenda Smith Myles, “Well Being and Being Well.”

Frances O’Neill, “Autism, Strategies to help with anxiety.”

McCaffrey, F. and Ferguson, R., 2018. Parent training as a means of reducing anxiety in autistic children. Autism Network1, pp.14-19.

McCaffrey, F. (2021). Anxiety and Autism: A Brief Review of Research and Autobiographical LiteratureREACH: Journal of Inclusive Education in Ireland27(2), 113–121.

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