Relationships, Friendships, and Successful Social Communication: Addressing Disability

Published In

Seminars in Speech and Language

Document Type


Publication Date



Children with autism may perceive friendship in a qualitatively different manner than their neurotypical peers. Yet, these friendships have been reported as satisfying to the child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Although many studies have identified lower quality of friendship in ASD, reduced reciprocity, and increased loneliness and depression, perhaps it is time to take a closer look at the perspective of autistic individuals and to identify how the broader community influences development of relationships and friendship. The World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning framework aligns well with a social model of disability lens, which states that although individuals may be challenged by their health impairment, disability is created by barriers to access, agency, and independence in society. This article discusses how clinicians might examine ways to address disability within the home, school, and community to create opportunities for relationship and friendship development, while considering the definition of friendship from multiple perspectives. Keywords Autism - social communication - social model of disability - friendship - relationship

Locate the Document



Persistent Identifier