Boys on the autism spectrum are often hyperaware of their surroundings and sensory input, which can make it feel like they are living in an intense world that they cannot escape. This can lead to emotional meltdowns and retreating from others and their responsibilities. As social support and healthy recreation activities are often barriers to confidence and independence in boys on the autism spectrum, adventure-based wilderness therapy teaches boys how to cope with stressors in their environment. In small groups with other boys around their age, students are introduced to a variety of outdoor activities that help them connect with others and reflect on their personal experiences.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by persistent impairment in communication and social interaction, as well as restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. As a spectrum disorder with a wide range and variation of symptoms, every individual with autism experiences symptoms differently, which suggests that treatment should be individualized.
Common issues that boys on the autism spectrum struggle with include:
- Sensory sensitivity
- Difficulty with transitions and change
- Temper tantrums
- Social integration
- Communicating emotions
- Executive functioning skills
- Low self-esteem
Why choose wilderness therapy?
Out in the real world, the hecticness of everyday life can be hyper-stimulating for young people on the autism spectrum. Wilderness therapy slows everything down and allows teens on the spectrum to take a break from our fast-paced world. The slow pace of wilderness therapy provides an opportunity for these teens to practice social skills and transitions in a calm environment.
Wilderness Therapy helps boys on the autism spectrum:
- Practice social skills. Teens on the spectrum often struggle to make and keep friends and tend to isolate from others when they feel disconnected. A wilderness therapy model provides a built-in peer group with daily opportunities for reflection and learning. Boys learn how to connect with others and begin to understand the bigger picture of relationships through collaboration, teamwork, and social support.
- Adapt to new environments. Rigidity and reluctance to new environments is common among boys on the spectrum. Often, they may only know how to cope with their anxiety in one particular setting. By constantly transitioning from one setting to the next, they are learning to generalize coping skills to be used in multiple settings.
- Cope with sensory overload. An outdoor environment can be very healing for teens who struggle with sensory sensitivity. While the outdoors may introduce them to new senses, once students adapt to the unfamiliarity, they find the fresh air to be soothing. Many of our groups incorporate quiet self-reflection time to prevent students on the spectrum from feeling overloaded.
- Improve communication skills. Therapeutic staff members work closely with students to improve communication skills such as eye contact and practicing conversation. In a group setting, boys learn to identify and communicate what they are feeling and begin to open up to others.
- Lead a healthier lifestyle. Adults on the autism spectrum have significantly higher rates of physical health problems as they often struggle with self-care and social physical activities. Wilderness therapy introduces teens to a variety of adventure activities that serve as positive coping skills and healthy habits they can carry with them once they leave a wilderness environment.
blueFire Wilderness Can Help
blueFire Wilderness Therapy is an adventure-based program for teens ages 11-17 who struggle with addictive behaviors. Wilderness therapy removes students from the distraction of peers, devices, and demands of life and allows them to heal in a supportive and nurturing environment. Students will be able to focus on themselves and become more aware of their troubling behaviors. BlueFire gives them the skills and tools they need to combat these behaviors and be on their way to a happy and healthy life. We can help your family today!
Contact us at 1-844-413-1999 to learn more about wilderness therapy for boys on the autism spectrum.