AUTISM · BIRTH THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL
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For peer relationships, keep it interesting
Looking for ways to support autistic kids’ social relationships in a neurodiversity-affirming way? Start by leaning into special interests—it's a win-win-win.
January 8, 2022
We’ve talked a lot about using peer-mediated interventions to support autistic children in the past, but when you start looking into them with an ableism-aware lens, things get problematic quickly. From fostering weird power dynamics (with non-autistic peers deputized as mini-therapists); to centering neurotypical play and social communication patterns while pathologizing normal autistic behavior; to pushing for excessive eye contact; to encouraging masking behaviors and increasing autistic stress and burnout; to intervention frameworks that ignore the double-empathy problem and put the burden of change only on autistic people—there is a TON to unpack…
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