Purpose: Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have social deficits that affect making and maintaining friends. Many empirically tested methods to address these social deficits are available, yet difficulties related to the establishment and maintenance of authentic friendships persist. Method: This viewpoint article (a) briefly reviews the current state of the science relative to social and friendship skills training for individuals with ASD, (b) considers the potential links (or lack thereof) between current social and friendship skill interventions for individuals with ASD and outcomes related to making and maintaining friends, (c) examines how friendship-related outcomes might be maximized, and (d) proposes a framework for intervention planning that may promote these valued outcomes. Results: There are several key concepts to consider in planning intervention targeting friendship as an outcome. These concepts include (a) equal status, (b) mutually motivating and authentic opportunities for interaction, and (c) frequent opportunities for interaction. Conclusions: There are many aspects about friendship development that cannot be controlled or contrived. Much is still to be learned about the achievement of better friendships for individuals with ASD. Reconceptualizing the way we design intervention may promote better outcomes for individuals on the autism spectrum.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language
- Speech and Hearing