Developing Friendships When You Have Autism
Developing friendships can be anxiety-provoking for many people with autism. The positive feelings of being understood can make a huge difference in overcoming barriers to forming friendships.
Sometimes people with autism can find initiating conversation complicated. Building rapport and maintaining conversations can be tricky. Having a ‘social script’ can help put those with autism at ease.
Help Friends Who Have Autism To Understand Friendships and Behaviours
Proximity, tone of voice, knowing the difference between a true friend and a ‘fake friend’ – this can be hard to fathom out for people with autism. Social skills sessions can be beneficial in learning to recognise and respond to behaviours appropriately.
Understanding and keeping up with levels of expectations can be tricky. Therefore social media is often very useful as there is less emphasis on non-verbal cues and this can reduce the anxiety that face-to-face interactions can bring to some people.
How to Help Build Friendships and Understand Feelings
The breakdown of some friendships can lead to feelings of worthlessness, isolation and upset. It can be extremely difficult to move on from past experiences, meaning present or future social relationships are associated with previous, negative situations.
Negative self-talk can lead to feelings of inadequacy. Working on confidence building, taking part in resiliency sessions, using coping cue cards, and being aware of what being and having a friend means can be of huge benefit.
Managing Boundaries and Behaviours In Friendships
Getting easily attached to people can often occur if you have autism. Having boundaries and understanding socially appropriate behaviour is beneficial; take a look at Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking concept as this could help support this.
Understanding the stages of friendship and managing anxiety can be difficult. Anxiety can unfortunately lead to the avoidance of social situations and isolation. To help you to deal with these feelings you could try creating an emotional regulation strategies toolkit which might help.
Importance of Routine When Developing Friendships
Having a routine provides predictability and comfort; therefore it can be a struggle to cope with things that are outside of our control. It may also be hard to understand other people’s perspectives in certain situations.
Having clear arrangements with friends, including knowing when interactions will begin and end, can be helpful when developing friendships when you have autism.
Support From Incredible Kids
Whether you are looking for support, advice, friendship or fun inclusive family play you will find something for everyone in your family at Incredible Kids.
Whatever additional needs or disability your child or young person has, you will find a place where you are all welcomed, accepted and understood. Find out more about our inclusive play sessions in Bristol where friendships can be developed and enjoyed.
Keep the Faith!
Everyone with autism is different. However, we all want the opportunity to be involved, make friends and contribute – so please believe in us!
Written by Lauren