A Spectrum of Relationships: A Guide to Understanding Social Connections for Teens and Adults with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome
A Spectrum of Relationships explores the social connections teens and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) form with other people in their lives. The author, C. S. Wyatt, reflects on his own experiences as a diagnosed high-functioning autistic individual navigating the complex and sometimes frustrating social situations of daily life. From early classroom experiences to dating and marriage, this book discusses relationships with family, friends, classmates, coworkers, and lovers.
Children with autism spectrum disorders grow up to be adults with ASDs. Many, if not most, will have the same urges, impulses, and desires as the rest of the adult population. Autistic adults want to work. They want to pursue college degrees. And, though their parents and caregivers might not want to ponder this, the teen or adult with an ASD will experiment and eventually engage in romantic physical contact with another person. Some will get married as adults and have children of their own.
Autistic students and adults often feel invisible at school, work, or among their peers. These autistic individuals are intelligent and some have taught themselves enough social skills to succeed academically. Unfortunately, few have mastered the social skills that become essential to personal and professional success in adulthood. A Spectrum of Relationships offers some ideas and encouragement to those discovering the essential nature of social connections to personal fulfillment.
The underlying assumption of this book is that social connections are essential to personal and professional development. Success in its various forms requires a solid, supportive network of social connections. A Spectrum of Relationships represents a conviction that any success I have in life would not be possible without my family, friends, and several great mentors. No one succeeds alone. We build on the knowledge of the past, skills and information learned from those in our social circles and from the resources to which we are guided.
Our relationships are affected by receiving a diagnosis associated with autism. Whether it is Asperger’s Syndrome or Pervasive Developmental Disorder — Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), being identified as an autistic individual forces us to consider the role autism plays in self-definition. How an autistic person views herself or himself affects not only relationships, but overall mental health. A good self-image, and an accurate one, helps us build relationships.