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8. Relationships

Relationships often define our joys, challenges, growth, and experiences. Yet for some, especially those on the autism spectrum, forming and nurturing these relationships can feel like putting  a jigsaw puzzle toghether without an image of what it should look like.

Decoding the Dance of Relationships

Every relationship, whether platonic or romantic, requires a balance of understanding, communication, and compromise. For individuals with autism, the unspoken rules can pose challenges, making  it complex and confusing.

Why Relationship Building Can Be Daunting

Autism can sometimes lead to difficulties in interpreting non-verbal cues, understanding societal norms, or even managing emotional responses. These factors, combined with unique personal experiences, can make conversations and social interactions difficult.

Supporting Ourselves and Others

Recognising that everyone’s approach to relationships is shaped by their personal experiences and neurological makeup is crucial. Making strong relationships involves a mutual effort of understanding and patience. Both parties, whether neurotypical or on the spectrum, have valuable insights and feelings to contribute.

Practical Steps for Nurturing Relationships

  • Open Communication: Establishing a habit of open dialogue and sharing your needs and understanding helps in setting expectations and feeling heard.
  • Seek Guidance: Relationship counselling or workshops can provide valuable tools and insights.
  • Social Stories: These can be useful for individuals with autism to understand different social scenarios.
  • Shared Activities: Engaging in joint hobbies or tasks can strengthen bonds and promote mutual understanding. For instance, delving deep into shared hobbies can be an excellent platform for connection.

Examples

  • Group Activities: Joining a book club or a gardening group, where the focus is on a shared interest, can pave the way for organic relationship-building.
  • Visual Aids: Using charts or apps to schedule and track social interactions can help in maintaining and understanding relationships.
  • Consistent Check-ins: Periodic check-ins, whether face-to-face or through messages, can keep the connection alive and offer opportunities for open dialogue.

Daily Change Summary

Relationships, while undeniably complex, offers rewards of unparalleled depth and warmth and can help everyone grow. With understanding, patience, and genuine efforts, individuals, regardless of where they stand on the spectrum, can form bonds that enrich lives in countless ways.

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