Teenage social struggles no surprise

Beth Finke wrote a post earlier this month where she said she hadn’t expected study results to show that young adults with autism were even less likely than their peers with intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities and communication disabilities to see friends, receive phone calls or be invited to social activities. Results of that study, called Participation in Social Activities among Adolescents with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, came as no surprise to me, though — when I speak with adolescents and adults with autism they report that they really do want to have friends and social relationships, but the complexities of navigating the social world feel overwhelming.

Paul Shattuck, an assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University, led the study. Dr. Shattuck is an amazing researcher who uses the National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS) data to look at life after high school for those living with autism, including the use of services and (most recently) participation in social activities. The purpose of research and data are to inform and improve practice, and Dr. Shattuck’s work is invaluable in this respect. You can link here to read the full study — as an autism professional I am well aware of the social challenges experienced by young adults with autism, and Dr. Shattuck’s data is a reminder that we have a lot of work to do to ensure individuals with autism get the support they need to make friends and enjoy the rich social life that our culture associates with adolescence.


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  1. Jacqueline Perez Says:

    My name is Jacqueline Perez and I am desperately seeking help for both my cousin who has autism (14 yrs old) and my uncle. My uncle is a single father of two boys Tito 16 yrs. old and Ramiro 14. Mom passed away 4 years ago leaving my uncle to raise his children. My uncle loves his sons dearly but has come to a point where help is truly needed. Ramiro has become very aggressive at bath time and bullies my uncle for his laptop. Uncle Nori is a graphic designer and works on his laptop from home to support his boys. Ramiro will cause “battle wounds” to my uncle so that he gives up his laptop. I’d love to possibly find a way to get ramiro his own laptap. Is there and organisation that what help me in this matter? Any help you could provide would greatly be appreciated.
    Sincerely yours
    Jacqueline Perez