AS and Socialization

Students with AS exhibit behavioral deficits effecting their development, independence, and successful socialization including persistent deficits in social communication and social interactions that range from abnormal social approaches and the failure of normal conversation, to a reduction in the sharing of interests and a lack of interest in people. These skill deficits, combined with resistance to change and fixed interests, create major social deficits for children with ASD, including difficulties making friends, initiating appropriate social interactions, or engaging in others’ interests. The overall lack of socialization translates to limited exposure in all social situations, including those requiring conflict resolution and compromise skills.

Recent changes in the diagnostic criteria of ASD might have affected the diagnosis and treatment of individuals affected by ASD. The APA’s (1994) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., DSM-IV) listed several social behaviors that are significantly impaired with ASD, namely, multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye contact, body language, and gestures that regulate social interaction. Children and adolescents with ASD fail to develop appropriate peer relationships and demonstrate a lack of social and emotional reciprocity (Hughes et al., 2011). Changes to the DSM-V (APA, 2012) imposed stricter diagnostic criteria for ASD that have the potential to eliminate AS and PDD as ASD (Robison, 2012). The population with ASD also have difficulty with semantic and pragmatic language, or pragmatic language impairment (PLI), as well as difficulty socializing and communicating (Whitehouse, Watt, Line, & Bishop, 2009).