Social Interaction in Adults With Autism

It goes without saying that most autistic adults on the spectrum are prone to peer pressure when they try to fit into a crowd of neurotypical adults. Such behaviour may take the form of adopting a certain lifestyle or even parroting what they hear around them within the context of their everyday lives. Especially if they pick up on a phrase or subject they like, much to everyone else’s dismay. It needs to be stressed that not all adults on the autism spectrum are insular and on the contrary make bad judge of character.

 

A lot of the above mentioned has to do with being unable to pick up cues on body language and interpersonal behaviour, leading to a vast gap in communication between themselves and the neurotypical who just interpret them as being “weird”, abnormal and may even be frightened off by them. Not fitting in and not feeling a sense of belonging is often an unheard cry amongst adult autistic males and females on the adult autism spectrum leaving them both vulnerable and very easy to manipulate and take advantage of, often with tragic consequences which may ultimately lead to an adult autistic meltdown as a result of being deceived or rejected by those neurotypical elements whom they may have perceived as friends.

 

Meltdowns involving adults on the autism spectrum can sometimes be so severe that there have been cases of violence against innocent third parties. Yet all this is preventable if such ASD adults are equipped with the necessary life skills for coping with anger and frustration. A lack of these skills can destroy relationships with relatives, friends and spouses alike who may even begin to fear them. Techniques for coping can be purely psychological from a Jungian perspective as opposed to psychiatric drugs. Therapy involving art and writing as well as riding, other exercise and/or meditation and even martial arts. Tai Chi, which trains the mind in mental discipline and involves moving steps in a certain meticulous pattern is often helpful. Music can be a great tool even though the NT adult might not always understand an autistic adult’s choice of music. A number of these coping techniques combined, can bring out the best in such an adult and help build relationships with neurotypical peers.

NT and ASD adults in canteen

It is often said that adults with autism lack empathy. Frequently, the opposite is true. It may simply be that the majority don’t know how to express it properly in an efficient and appropriate manner. There are numerous occasions where adults with autistic traits may say inappropriate things without any intention to cause harm or upset the neurotypical person yet once something is said it cannot be undone. The same rule is true in the opposite case. While autistic adults may be very forgiving, they may be extremely sensitive and take things to heart, too literally, often interpreting what is said as final  What may have been a small matter to the neurotypical person, to the adult, on the autism spectrum it can have long-lasting ramifications. So just as much as neurotypical Individuals may be upset by inappropriate comments said by autistic adults, the latter too are also harmed. It can affect them many substantially more than the average neurotypical individual without them even realising it or caring for that matter, despite the myth that all adults with autism lack empathy.

 

A lot of conceptions and misconceptions exist on both sides regarding adults with autistic traits. This not the fault of anyone but simply a common human error of assumptions, which both adults on the autism spectrum and the neurotypical populace at large are guilty of. Such misunderstandings occur due to the inability of reading each other’s intentions accurately.

Yet social skills can be taught to adults with Autistic traits and in the long run, equip them the journey ahead of them in life. In some, it comes sooner while in others it comes later yet as soon as it is grasped the less awkward it is for everybody involved including ASD Adults.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Social Interaction in Adults With Autism”

  1. What a great post on adults with autistic traits. I had no idea that adults with autism faced a lot of social pressure where people do not know a lot about them.

    I had no idea that they were considered to lack empathy too. Very interesting

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