Kids with Autism and friends

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Kids with Autism and friends

One of the common myths about people with Autism spectrum disorder is that they're asocial, that they don't actually want to have friends, that they don't want to be social. But that's a huge myth actually. And if you were to ask a person with Autism, a child if they wanted to have friends, most of them would probably say that they do want to have friends, but that they just don't necessarily know how to. And that's a bit problem of course for our kids, because the result is that many kids with Autism spectrum disorders is that they're very socially isolated. They're in their bedrooms playing with their video games or on their computers and not really interacting with people socially. But it's not necessarily because they don't want to. They really struggle with knowing how to make and keep friends, and the result is this social isolation that often leads to things like depression or anxiety, tremendous loneliness, or even peer rejection where they're being teased or bullied and have bad reputations with their peers. So of course one of the things we need to do as parents and practitioners and educators is be able to provide them the support that they need to learn how to make and keep friends.

Watch Liz Laugeson, PsyD's video on Kids with Autism and friends...


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Liz Laugeson, PsyD

Psychologist & Author

Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.  Dr. Laugeson is the Director of The Help Group – UCLA Autism Research Alliance, which is a collaborative research initiative between The Help Group and the UCLA Semel Institute, dedicated to developing and expanding applied clinical research in the treatment of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders.  She is also the Director of the UCLA PEERS Clinic, which is an outpatient hospital-based clinic providing parent-assisted social skills training for adolescents and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other social impairments. 

Dr. Laugeson has been a principal investigator and collaborator on a number of studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigating social skills training for youth with developmental disabilities from preschool to early adulthood and is the co-developer of an evidence-based social skills intervention for teens and young adults known as PEERS. She was the two-time recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the NIH from 2004-2007, recipient of the Semel Scholar Award for Junior Faculty Career Development in 2008, and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Pepperdine University in 2010. Dr. Laugeson has presented her research at international conferences throughout the world including the U.S., Canada, England, Italy, and Australia. Her work has been featured on national and international media outlets such as People Magazine, USA Today, the LA Times, New York Times, Washington Post, CBS, NBC, and Channel 4 in the United Kingdom.

Peer Pressure, Peer Pressure, Friends, Friends
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