Teaching Social Skills helps Alleviate the Higher Levels of Social Anxiety and Depression Suffered by Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Posted by ROWI
- On January 21, 2019
By Greg Feinberg & Dr. Candice Feinberg
Without Social Skills Training, teens can experience a cycle of rejection and frustration that leads to social withdrawal or isolation.
Teens with symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder experience greater levels of anxiety, depression and social withdrawal. These co-occurring mental health issues arise from complications teens have with social situations as a result of their ASD. This social awkwardness leads to a greater level of anxiety, depression. Specifically, teens begin to fear the negative reactions arising from social interactions, which makes them anxious. Teens then avoid these interactions resulting in isolation and depression. This isolation only acts to increase the fear and anxiety of the next interaction which can cause even greater social awkwardness. This emotional cycle will then continue and often accelerate. The cycle can be broken, and the co-occurring symptoms of anxiety, depression, withdrawal and isolation can be reduced or eliminated through the teaching of social skills.
ROWI Teen and Parent Wellness Centers offers a program to teach teens with ASD the social skills necessary to break the emotional cycle of anxiety, depression and social withdrawal that can otherwise result.
Several clinicians have confirmed that teens with ASD suffer from higher levels of social anxiety. Bellini, S. (2006). The Development of Social Anxiety in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 21(3), 138–145. This social anxiety has also been proven to lead to higher levels of social loneliness, withdrawal and depression. White, S.W. & Roberson-Nay, R. J Autism Dev Disord (2009) 39: 1006. Learning social skills has a significantly positive impact in building friendships and reducing social anxiety and core autistic symptoms. Schohl, K.A., Van Hecke, A.V., Carson, A.M. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2014) 44: 532.