People on the spectrum have difficulty establishing and maintaining relationships. They do not respond to many of the non-verbal forms of communication that many of us take for granted, like facial expressions, physical gestures and eye contact. They are often unable to understand and express their needs just as they are unable to interpret and understand the needs of others. This impairs their ability to share interests and activities with other people.
For this reason they are likely to appear distant and aloof. Because they are often delayed in their speech and struggle to make sense of other non-verbal forms of communication, they may withdraw into repetitive play and behaviour and avoid interaction.
Their difficulties with social interaction may manifest in the following ways:
- Limited use and understanding of non-verbal communication such as eye gaze, facial expression and gesture
- Difficulties forming and sustaining friendships
- Lack of seeking to share enjoyment, interests and activities with other people
- Difficulties with social and emotional responsiveness
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