Social Skills and Friendships
Many young people with autism want to develop friendships and wish to have intimate relationships, yet may not innately have the skills to initiate social interaction, maintain and repair friendships or understand the social nuances and mores needed to form such relationships.
Some teenagers strive, yet struggle with
- Initiating interactions,
- Responding to the initiations of others,
- Maintaining eye contact,
- Sharing enjoyment,
- Reading the non-verbal cues of others, and
- Taking another person’s perspective
All skills which are necessary for peer-to-peer relationships and thus if we have not specifically taught them, it is difficult for the young person with autism to develop, and keep meaningful and fulfilling personal relationships.
The acquisition of such skills takes time, patience and effort for parents, teachers and the young person. Recognition must also be given that the skills once taught are practiced in a variety of settings to help the young person generalise them.
Communication is one of the core areas of difficulty for teenagers with autism.