I am so lonely: Social Engagement for Children with Autism

alone2by Inna Selipanov

It comes as no surprise to anyone that children with autism are much less social than other kids. This is one of the main symptoms of autism. Do not let that fool you, however, into thinking that people with autism want to spend more time alone.  A lack in recognizing social cues does not, in this case, equal a total lack of interest in social interaction. It may be, and most likely is, more difficult for autistic kids to make friends, but the quality of their interactions with other people is what makes a difference.

If you have a child or a family member with autism, do not presume that the said person likes to spend more time on his own than other children his age. Instead, try to understand the social difficulties he has in forming bonds with people (including primary caregivers), and help him to make friends. Also understand yourself that what may seem like an interest in spending time alone may be a misread social cue, sent out by a child who struggles with sociability. Look for different kinds of cues to read your child better and ensure quality relationships are formed.

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  1. Cindy
    Posted September 2, 2009 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Just a addition, some children with autism are outgoing as well yet miss the social cues that we take for granted.

    For example, my daughter with autism will leap at you from across the room and give you a huge (sometimes too tight) hug. She doesn’t get that her friends at school might not like to be touched. One day, she put her arm around a classmate who in turn shrugged it off. Most would recognize that this means, “I don’t want your arm there”. My daughter put her arm back around her classmate who ended up moving to another part of the room.

  2. polandspring
    Posted October 19, 2009 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Don’t spend a lot of time on why they misread social situations well. I would tell kids, “Not being able to read social situations happens to a lot of kids. That’s why they’re always in trouble. As you become an adult you learn to read this kind of thing better. And some people lag behind. It just doesn’t happen to them as quickly as other people, and that’s OK.”

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