A Multi-dimensional Perspective of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Friendship
Friedman, Jillian Michelle
Area of Honors:
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Bachelor of Science
Erinn Heer Finke, Thesis Supervisor Dr. Carol Anne Miller, Honors Advisor
friendship autism spectrum disorder (ASD) children
The purpose of this study was to determine the experience of a child with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder during the process of initiating and maintaining friendships. Data were collected from multiple stakeholders for the current investigation including a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a typically developing child and the parent of the child with ASD. Various perspectives were gathered related to the topic of interest in order to generate a complete view of this child’s experiences. This study used qualitative interview methodology to understand the concept of friendship, specifically developing and maintaining friends. Several themes and sub-themes emerged from the data and are reviewed and discussed. The main themes included: (a) defining friendship; (b) initiating friendships; (c) activities and interests; (d) maintaining friendships; (e) number of friends; (f) feelings of friendship; (g) defining the perfect friend.