A Strange World: Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, and PDD-NOs: A Guide for Parents, Partners, Professional Carers, and People with Asds

By Martine F. Delfos | Go to book overview

9
Forming friendships and relationships

Making friends and forging relationships is one of the principal components of social functioning. For people with an autistic disorder, who already have so much difficulty in superficial social functioning, forming friendships and relationships is much harder. Also, they are somewhat less oriented towards intensive social contact. As a result, few autistic people manage to forge successful, close relationships but people with what is said to be a mild form of autism, Asperger’s syndrome, more frequently establish relationships. Above averagely gifted autistic people start a family more often than less gifted ones. In the case of those who have a partner and children, considerable effort is required from both partners to ensure the success and continuation of the relationship.

It is particularly difficult if the condition was not diagnosed in the person’s youth, which is still often the case for Asperger’s syndrome. It is extremely demanding to provide care to people who have not been diagnosed. Because of years of having had a feeling of failure, they are often embittered and anxious. There is no trust in care and hardly any trust in the parent, who has not managed to raise him or her into a normally functioning human being. The autistic person and those around him become exhausted. This was the case for Irving and his mother, who were mentioned in Chapter 6. To partners of autistic people, the relationship may be particularly burdensome as they wrongly interpret their husband’s or wife’s behaviour.

Martin’s wife was in despair. For years she had tried to change him.
Divorce seemed the only solution. She interpreted the fact that he did
not change his behaviour as him rejecting her. But gradually she became
aware that he was generally not very capable of changing. As long as she
saw him as someone who stubbornly wanted to get his own way and
was rarely inclined to adjust his pace to that of others, she cherished

-240-

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A Strange World: Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, and PDD-NOs: A Guide for Parents, Partners, Professional Carers, and People with Asds
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • List of Figures, Tables and Boxes 8
  • Foreword 11
  • Preface 13
  • Part 1 - What Is It? 15
  • 1 - Introduction 17
  • 2 - Predisposition or Environment 31
  • 3 - Differences between Men and Women 53
  • 4 - Autistic Disorders 84
  • 5 - The Core of the Problem 104
  • Part 2 - What Can You Do about It? 161
  • 6 - Before and after Diagnosis 163
  • 7 - Stimulating Me–Other Differentiation and Empathy 173
  • 8 - Social Skills 200
  • 9 - Forming Friendships and Relationships 240
  • 10 - Resistance to Change 268
  • 11 - Coping with Anxiety and Obsession 302
  • 12 - Coping with Aggression 332
  • 13 - Acquired Social Anxiety 350
  • 14 - Epilogue 363
  • Appendix I - Diagnoses 365
  • Appendix II - Internet Addresses 379
  • Appendix Iia - Summary of Karen Williams' Article 383
  • Appendix III - Books 385
  • References 389
  • Subject Index 410
  • Author Index 414
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