How does autism affect social development?
Autistic spectrum disorders affect three main areas of development, including communication, imagination and social interaction.
Often people with autistic spectrum disorders have difficulty building relationships with other people because they find it hard to see the world through other people’s eyes, interpret other people’s emotions and understand other people’s sense of humour. People with autism tend to see the world in black and white and have difficulty comprehending symbolic and abstract concepts and irony. Many people with autism also prefer to be alone and focus their attentions on activities that are based on facts, dates and information, rather than those that involve social integration or interaction.
Often, people with autistic spectrum disorders have difficulty understanding other people’s emotions and consequently do not know how to react in certain situations. They may also struggle with new environments and scenarios and they may react in an unusual way to noise and crowds.
Helping social development
Most people are diagnosed with autism in the first three years of their life and they will be offered therapies and treatment to try and manage their condition and enable them to live a happy and fulfilling life. Therapies such as speech and language therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and behavioural therapy help children to learn to cope with their emotions, improve their communication skills and adapt to different environments. Children and adults will be offered treatments to help them interact with other people, understand emotion and control their response to emotions and situations.