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Prosem Lecture: My Kind of Friendship: Perceptions and Practices of Autistic and Non-autistic Young Adults
October 18, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Presenter: Erinn H. Finke, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Associate Professor, Audiology and Speech Pathology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Editor-in-Chief: American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Topic: My Kind of Friendship: Perceptions and Practices of Autistic and Non-autistic Young Adults
The extant literature has outlined both quantitative and qualitative differences in the friendships made and maintained by autistic people. Despite years of focused intervention efforts on improving social skills, differences and dissatisfaction with friendship outcomes persist. This suggests a need for reconsidering how autistic friendships are conceptualized and described. The discussion about the friendships of autistic people needs to be reframed from a discussion focused on social deficits to a discussion of differences in preferences and practices. In this way, the focus would be on how autistic individuals want to conduct their friendships and behave as friends rather than on the differences in the ways autistic people think and behave in friendships compared to their non-autistic peers. Viewing the friendships of autistic people in this way creates a whole new lens for examining friendships and friendship outcomes. This lens refocuses the discussion of friendship outcomes on the norms for autistic people as a distinct group, which may be different from the norms for friendships of non-autistic people. This talk will present emerging evidence of the friendship preferences and practices of autistic people as well as discuss potential paths forward as a field by de-centering neurotypicality as the standard.