How Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder Experience Relationships
Simona Rogič Ožek

Summary:  Persons with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face difficulties in social communication and interaction, which results in challenges when establishing, developing and maintaining relationships. To better understand the relationships that persons with ASD establish with people outside the family, this paper presents a qualitative study of experiencing relationships from the perspective of persons with ASD. We studied the way relationships are experienced in a sample of 18 adults with ASD with normal intellectual abilities using semi-structured interviews. Qualitative analysis showed that those with ASD in our sample simultaneously expressed a diverse range of aggravating and encouraging factors in their relationships with others, with the former more frequently expressed than the latter. The aggravating factors were related to avoidance of relationships, various aggravating experiences when initiating relationships, dependency in relationships in adulthood and aggravating experiences in the past. The encouraging factors included a positive attitude towards relationships and the tendency to relate to others and establish reciprocal relationships in adulthood. Understanding how persons with ASD experience relationships can help improve professional support and educational strategies in social relatedness to ensure social inclusion.

Journal of Contemporary Educational Studies is
published with support of Slovenian Research Agency.