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Why do some autistic people struggle with relationships?

Why do some autistic people struggle with relationships?

It is a common misconception that autistic people struggle with relationships, however, it is a fact that some do. In this blog, SpecialKids Company will discuss common autism relationship problems and why these occur.

Common autism relationship problems and why they occur

1. Communication: They may not know what to do or say

Some people with autism have communication difficulties, which can make it hard for them to communicate with others. This is why it is important to ensure that children with autism and communication difficulties are supported with appropriate communication aids.

2. The environment: certain places and situations can be overwhelming

The environment can affect how children with autism interact with others, particularly when they have sensory difficulties. If somewhere is too loud, too bright, or even has strong smells, it can impact on how they are feeling and can cause overwhelm and anxiety. Meeting with others in places that your child is comfortable may help them to build relationships.

3. Misunderstanding social cues: struggling to read things such as facial expressions, tone of voice and body language

Sometimes autistic people can struggle to read social cues that neurotypical people consider to be commonplace. They might not recognise when the tone of someone’s voice is irritated, or their face is signaling that they are unhappy with something. Autistic people can find it hard to read body language, facial expressions and gestures. Some people with autism can appear overfriendly, which can also cause difficulties with others. This can lead to misunderstanding, which can be difficult for everyone involved.

4. Anxiety: This is common with Autism and may mean a struggle to social or go out

Sadly, a lot of autistic people suffer from anxiety, which can be due to numerous reasons. This can make it difficult for them to want to go out and socialise with others and can result in low mood or irritability.

5. Change of routine: new relationships often come with a need to change routine

Lots of children with autism like consistency and routine, so a change of routine can be overwhelming and difficult for them. Routine is comforting and provides reassurance so breaking a routine is extremely difficult. Friends might be more spontaneous and struggle to understand this. Similarly, if plans are made and friends do not stick to them, for example turning up late, this can be hard for an autistic person to understand.

6. Lack of shared interests

Some people with autism have very specific interests and struggle to find others who share the same interests with as much enthusiasm.

It is important to remember that social interactions can be difficult for autistic people and can cause stress and anxiety as they worry about social expectations. We must do our best to ensure that others are aware of this so that autistic children are supported and can develop meaningful friendships in their own time and on their own terms.

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