During the teenage years, friendships for typical adolescents are often based on shared interests such as academic achievements, mutual participation in sports and the arts. Friendship becomes the primary focus for their time, interest and energy, and a major source of self-identity and self-esteem. By contrast, the autistic teenager typically has fewer friends, meeting with friends less often at school and for a shorter duration. Autistic adolescents often sense their difference to their peers and feel that others do not want to be around them. Autistic adolescents often blame themselves for their peer rejection and become anxious to avoid socialising. A lack of genuine social acceptance by peers will obviously adversely affect the development of self-esteem, self-identity, and perception of autism.
We created this presentation for parents and professionals to explain the friendship challenges and provide ideas and strategies for increasing friendship success for autistic adolescents at high school.
See trailer below for more information on content for the day:
About the speakers
Prof Tony Attwood PhD With a remarkable career spanning five decades, Professor Tony Attwood is one of the world’s foremost specialists on Autism. Holding an Honour’s degree in Psychology from the University of Hull, a Master’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of Surrey, and a PhD from the University of London, his credentials are a testament to his expertise. Currently serving as an adjunct Professor at Griffith University in Queensland, Professor Attwood’s impact has enriched the global understanding of autism.
Alongside Dr Michelle Garnett, Professor Attwood co-founded Attwood & Garnett Events in 2019, driven by the shared goal of enhancing autism awareness and understanding. Their shared vision seeks to reshape the narrative surrounding autism to create a world where autism is embraced, and the diverse strengths, talents, and perspectives of autistic individuals are celebrated. This transformative narrative fosters a more inclusive and accepting society, benefitting all its members.
Renowned for his extensive contributions to understanding Asperger’s Syndrome, now commonly referred to as autism, Professor Attwood has authored numerous publications on the subject. His seminal book, Asperger’s Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals debuted in 1998, resonated globally and has since found its voice in over 25 languages, making his insights accessible across cultures and continents.
With a dedicated commitment to practical application, he has run a private practice for 30 years, only recently closing his books due to a long waiting list. Beyond his clinical work, he dedicates significant time to travel, sharing insights and knowledge through workshops and seminars across national and international platforms.