There is usually a common misconception around autistic individuals and their abilities to forge friendships.
Many people believe that when a child is autistic then they seclude themselves to such an extent that they don’t need friends or they don’t want to have friends.
The reality is very different from this because autistic children tend to find and seek friends in different ways than a non-autistic child.
It’s sometimes complicated for individuals to forge friendships, can you imagine what is like for those individuals on the spectrum? It can be almost impossible, especially if their caregivers don’t have the necessary tools to understand an autistic child.
The reality of social interactions and friendships
Social interactions, connections, and even friendships (or the lack of them) can serve as a predictor of how an individual is on a physical and mental level. In other words, the lack of these connections could have a significant impact on the immune system, self-esteem, stress responses, sleep patterns, and even on the cardiovascular health of a person.
Having friends is more than sharing some quality time with them or having a good time.
Having friends can also mean that they help us to become a better version of ourselves, they make us feel loved, they make us feel accepted, and, above all, they accompany us whenever we need them.
This reciprocal relationship is often misunderstood when a person has autism, mainly because their social networks are small, especially if they are compared to those who are not on the spectrum.
Personal interests play a big role
So, how could a person with autism forge a friendship? Well, it’s not that difficult either, especially if two individuals share the same love and interest in something.
Nowadays, there are even experimental programs that have been thoroughly designed with them in mind. These programs seek to support autistic individuals, their interests, and, at the same time, they become a meeting place for them to get to know each other and engage with each other.
There are many activities that an autistic person could do, especially if they are looking into forging new friendships. For example:
- Theatre: this activity will allow them to interact with others, especially if they get a part in the play.
- Playing a sport: it could be a football team or any other type of sport, the important thing here is that the person wants to learn how to play it, and, what’s more, they also want to share some time with others who do the same thing.
- Mutual interests: if an individual is into trains, then they can always go to a train’s museum and do some of the activities they have to offer. If everything goes well, then this could even be a monthly or even weekly outing, which will allow them to interact with others who share the same passion as them.