Overcoming Social Isolation: Positive Friendships and Autism
We talk a lot about how crucial it is for children to learn how to make friends, how to increase their social skills and get out in the world. But have you ever tried to make friends as an adult? It’s ever so much harder than childhood friendships, which can sometimes whip up unexpectedly on the playground or sitting next to someone in class. As adults, it is so important to take steps to overcoming social isolation. One way to do that is to join a social support network like All Friends Network and learn how to bring new friendship and autism together. Managing social anxiety, learning how to start a conversation or join one already in progress, how to cultivate and maintain long-term friendships – there’s a lot to learn and do, but the rewards are massive.
What is Social Isolation?
For those who have autism, cerebral palsy, and other developmental disabilities, social isolation is a reality that many will have to face at some stage of their lives. It can be challenging to put yourself out there in the world and make friends, but friendships are crucial to building a community of people who understand your disability because they have one themselves. That’s not to say that disabled individuals cannot be friends with those who do not have disabilities. However, if you are having trouble making and keeping friends, a social support network that is safe, secure, and friendly is a great place to turn over a new leaf.
Social situations can be difficult or overwhelming for many people. Autistic individuals may feel like non-autistic people do not want to interact with them, or they may prefer their own company. It could be that the person wants to interact with others but just doesn’t know how to get started. Confidence, social skills, and practice can go a long way to making it easier to engage on your own. Negative situations from the past, such as teasing or bullying, can also play a part. Managing social anxiety is not easy, but it is definitely worth the effort required to make it work. Whether you live independently on your own or have a family social network that you can fall back on whenever you want to be with people, overcoming social isolation should be at the top of your to-do list.
Managing Social Anxiety
One way to take charge of your life is to plan or get involved in planned activities that cultivate social interaction. All Friends Network offers opportunities for young adults and developmentally disabled individuals of all ages to interact with others just like themselves in a safe and secure environment. In addition, we offer a wide range of workshops, one-on-one sessions, and seminars designed to give our members the tools they need to succeed. Friendship and autism together can make a significant impact on someone’s life. Not just yours, but quite possibly the person you decide to befriend. Learn how to engage in small talk, introduce yourself, and chime in on a conversation. Planning conversations out in advance can make it seem less overwhelming.
Some people experience extreme levels of anxiety whenever they engage in social situations. While this may have to do with your autism or other developmental disability, it might be something that your physician can help you overcome. Support, advice, services, and, in some cases, prescriptions can make it easier for managing social anxiety. Once you overcome your fears and gain confidence, you might not need the extra support at all. Joining social groups like All Friends Network and the AFN-Live LINK Network can also be beneficial. Sign up for a group activity, get out and meet new people, and find a social support network that is right for you. You might want to attend local in-person events or be more comfortable with online services.
Contact All Friends Network (AFN) to get more information about our program and all it has to offer. Join as a member in a safe and secure environment to interact with other members on your terms. Take charge of your life and put your concerns about friendship and autism behind you.