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Living with ASD: How do children and their parents assess their difficulties with social interaction and understanding?

Knott, Fiona and Dunlop, Aline-Wendy and Mackay, Tommy (2006) Living with ASD: How do children and their parents assess their difficulties with social interaction and understanding? Autism International Journal, 10 (6). pp. 603-611. ISSN 1461-7005

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Social interaction and understanding in autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) are key areas of concern to practitioners and researchers alike. However, there is a relative lack of information about the skills and competencies of children and young people with ASD who access ordinary community facilities including mainstream education. In particular, contributions by parents and their children have been under-utilized. Using two structured questionnaires, 19 children with ASD reported difficulties with social skills including social engagement and temper management and also reported difficulties with social competence, affecting both friendships and peer relationships. Parents rated the children's social skill and competence as significantly worse than did the children themselves, but there was considerable agreement about the areas that were problematic. Using an informal measure to highlight their children's difficulties, parents raised issues relating to conversation skills, social emotional reciprocity and peer relationships. The implications for assessment and intervention are discussed.