Clinical Issues: Social Skills Programs to Teach Friendship Skills for Children with Asperger Syndrome When we observe and assess the social play and friendship skills of children with Asperger syndrome (AS), we recognize a delay in the conceptualization of friendship. The child may have an overall intellectual ability within the normal range, but the understanding of friendship skills resembles that of a much younger ... Clinical Issues
Clinical Issues  |   October 01, 2003
Clinical Issues: Social Skills Programs to Teach Friendship Skills for Children with Asperger Syndrome
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Tony Attwood
    Private PracticeBrisbane, Australia
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Language Disorders / Social Communication & Pragmatics Disorders / Clinical Issues
Clinical Issues   |   October 01, 2003
Clinical Issues: Social Skills Programs to Teach Friendship Skills for Children with Asperger Syndrome
SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, October 2003, Vol. 10, 16-19. doi:10.1044/lle10.3.16
SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, October 2003, Vol. 10, 16-19. doi:10.1044/lle10.3.16
When we observe and assess the social play and friendship skills of children with Asperger syndrome (AS), we recognize a delay in the conceptualization of friendship. The child may have an overall intellectual ability within the normal range, but the understanding of friendship skills resembles that of a much younger child. However, it is not simply a matter of developmental delay. There are aspects that are conspicuously unusual for any of the developmental stages (Church, Alisanski, & Amanullah, 2000).
At present, we can only speculate what the consequences may be for children who fail to develop peer relationships that are appropriate for their developmental level, but there will inevitably be lasting effects in several aspects of cognitive, social, and emotional development. When playing in a group, children learn the value of alternative perspectives and solutions in problem solving. They acquire increasingly sophisticated and successful strategies to resolve conflict and the interpersonal and team skills valued by employers. Many of the characteristics valued in a close friend become the attributes associated with lasting personal relationships. Clinical experience also suggests that the social isolation of children with AS in the school playground can increase the child’s vulnerability to being teased and bullied. A lack of close friends can also be a contributory factor in the development of childhood depression. A delay in social knowledge can also lead to anxiety in social situations that may develop into social phobia, school refusal, and agoraphobia. Thus, we achieve cognitive and affective growth within our circle of friends. It is inevitable that impaired peer relationship skills can result in significant psychopathology.
First Page Preview
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview ×
View Large
Become a SIG Affiliate
Pay Per View
Entire SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education content & archive
24-hour access
This Issue
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access
We've Changed Our Publication Model...
The 19 individual SIG Perspectives publications have been relaunched as the new, all-in-one Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups.