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1.2. Explain how these behaviours may influence the way individuals with autism interact with others.

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Some of the behaviours exhibited by individuals with autism significantly influence how they interact with others, shaping their social experiences and relationships. Due to the diverse nature of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), these behaviours can vary widely among individuals, but common traits such as difficulties with social communication, sensory sensitivities, and a preference for routine can create challenges in typical social interactions.

For instance, individuals with autism may find direct eye contact uncomfortable or overwhelming, which can affect their ability to engage in conventional face-to-face conversations. This avoidance of eye contact might be misinterpreted by those unfamiliar with autism as a lack of interest or engagement, potentially leading to misunderstandings or social isolation. Similarly, sensory sensitivities can mean that what is a tolerable level of noise, light, or physical contact for most people might be unbearable for someone with autism, impacting their capacity to participate in social activities or crowded environments.

Moreover, a strong preference for predictability and routine, often seen in individuals with autism, can make unexpected changes or social spontaneity challenging, limiting their interactions and the development of relationships. Social cues and norms that are instinctive to neurotypical individuals might not be as obvious to someone with autism, leading to difficulties in interpreting and responding to the intentions or emotions of others.

However, it’s crucial to recognise that these behaviours are not barriers to interaction but rather aspects of the individual’s experience that require understanding and accommodation.

By adapting communication methods, creating predictable environments, and being mindful of sensory inputs, caregivers, peers, and the wider community can facilitate more meaningful and positive interactions with individuals with autism. This understanding approach fosters inclusion and builds a foundation for individuals with autism to express themselves and connect with others in ways that are comfortable and rewarding for them.

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