Emotional problems and social success in ASD

In Emily Neuhaus and Sara Jane Webb’s article on Spectrum News titled, “For autistic children, emotional problems may hinder social success,” they discuss commonalities found in parent completed behavioral checklists about the relationship between social motivation and emotional challenges.

After looking at more than 2,000 behavioral checklists, Neuhaus and Webb found that two out of three children diagnosed with autism have difficulty to meet threshold for clinical evaluation in a certain area. Once comparing their scores with the parents’ reports, they were able to conclude that higher social motivation allows for better social success. They were also able to conclude that there is correlation between emotional problems (anxiety, irritability, or aggression) and poor social skills. Overall they concluded that children to be socially successful need to have social motivation and good emotional regulation. Based on these findings, they recommend that children with an ASD diagnosis and mild emotional difficulties would benefit from therapy in order to gather a set of tools for regulating their emotions during social interaction.

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