Do people with ASD really prefer to be alone?

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Mani
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07 Jun 2013, 6:19 pm

Hi,

Do people with ASD really prefer to be alone or are they alone because they have trouble communicating? The reason I ask is because my son has ASD and does not play with other kids at school. The books that I have read about ASD say that they prefer to be alone but I worry that he is lonely. Should I encourage him to play with other kids or just let him be? I have done role play to show him how to join other kids or join in conversations but he doesn't' bother with trying. So, do people with ASD prefer to be alone?



Verdandi
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07 Jun 2013, 6:23 pm

Some yes, we do prefer to be alone. Others don't want to be alone but have trouble with communication, social issues, making friends, etc. Some have both (often want to be alone, but having trouble when wanting to find someone to spend time with.

Only your son could tell you which it is for him. I mean, it could be he doesn't see a point to spending time with people, it could be that he wants to but has no idea how to do it and so doesn't try. It's hard to say and everyone is different.



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07 Jun 2013, 6:34 pm

I like intense interaction (or, intense to me), and then a goodly amount of alone time.



NEtikiman
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07 Jun 2013, 6:35 pm

The fact that we're all different really is the key. When I was younger I couldn't care less about being around other people. I lived in a city with a lot of crime, so no one was really worried about this. Then, around 4th grade, I moved to a small town and discovered that most people had friends and enjoyed hanging out with other people... It seemed like everyone had friends and knew how to make friends. That pressure really made me feel bad.
Today, I enjoy occasional interactions with others when we have something particular to do (like playing poker or taking a walk), but I find them exhausting and need a fair bit of time to recuperate afterwards... Luckily my fiance is understanding about this and lets me be in my own little world until I'm ready to come back!
I don't know your son, so I don't really know how he feels about being social. I can say that the fact that you're here trying to learn more and try to see the world from his perspective bodes well from him. Welcome to WP!


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Last edited by NEtikiman on 07 Jun 2013, 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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07 Jun 2013, 6:45 pm

When I was in junior high, the boy scout troop was across the school boundary line in the other district. And that was very fortunate. So, perhaps a reputation I had at my school for being a loner or being 'weird' did not always translate. Sometimes I was rejected at scouts, but for a good while I had a good friend.

I really encourage you to run multiple tracks. Yes, teach the school social skills in straightforward fashion. And, at the same time, if the opportunities are there, encourage your son in social events not connected with school. (and I have a theory that for a variety of reasons, only 1 out of 9 groups work out. Just like highly skilled social people know how to skim parties and maybe attend three in one evening)



Nambo
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07 Jun 2013, 6:54 pm

I would say I prefer to be with somebody, and prefer to be alone, so I cannot win either way, its like the adage some men say about women, "you cant live with them, and you cant live without them.

I hate being alone all the time, but when Iam with people, I realise I would rather be alone.



mackico
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07 Jun 2013, 7:05 pm

I like my alone time, but I get lonely, and do enjoy structured activies with other people.

So... a bit of both.



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07 Jun 2013, 7:15 pm

Ideally, I'd do best with an 80/20 split: 80% of time alone, and 20% around others. If the others are annoying, I'd be fine with 95% alone and 5% just necessary encounters with cashiers, doctors, etc.



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07 Jun 2013, 7:16 pm

mackico wrote:
I like my alone time, but I get lonely, and do enjoy structured activies with other people.

So... a bit of both.


Yes! Time around others is much more enjoyable if it's a structured activity. That's why parties are so difficult for me-- way too free form.



rixxar12
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07 Jun 2013, 7:22 pm

I like to be with people but a moderate quantity of people, but i enjoy more my alone time.

¿Do i prefer to be alone?

Yes, but that does't mean i dont like to be with people.

You prefer vanilla ice cream, but that doens't mean you dont like chocolate ice cream.



Marybird
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07 Jun 2013, 7:26 pm

I prefer to be alone. Except when I am spending time with my daughter and grand kids.



redrobin62
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07 Jun 2013, 7:40 pm

I don't particularly like being alone but it just always seem to turn out that way. I've been alone so long I've forgotten what it's like to be around someone.



WitchsCat
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07 Jun 2013, 7:44 pm

While there are times that I do enjoy being alone, I also enjoy the company of others, as well. I usually enjoy being around people I know, but I usually avoid contact with strangers.


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07 Jun 2013, 7:48 pm

I now prefer to be alone, and since I found out I had AS, I'm much more comfortable with it. I no longer see myself as wrong or bad for being the way I am.

When I was younger I wanted to be around people. I'm not sure if this was because all normal human life evolves around people, and all I knew is what I was taught, or if my usually bad experiences with people led me to prefer to be alone.

While I do prefer to be alone, I couldn't or wouldn't want to be alone all the time. We all need some companionship, even if only websites such as this one.



Last edited by Thelibrarian on 07 Jun 2013, 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Laddo
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07 Jun 2013, 8:12 pm

My advice is to ask him whether he prefers being alone or if he wants to socialise with the other kids but doesn't know how. That way you can tailor the way you support him through it to his preferences. If he prefers to be alone, make sure his teacher knows that too so they can get the other kids to make sure he gets his own space. If he wants to play with the other children but is mystified by them (as we quite often are of neurotypicals) then you can try and find ways to engage him in the role play, especially if you make it clear what you are trying to teach him.


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Jayo
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07 Jun 2013, 8:38 pm

That's a common misconception and stereotype about people with Aspergers, kids included, that they want to be alone.

The only way you'll truly know, as a couple of other posters have suggested, is to ask your son directly. As an Aspie he will appreciate the direct approach :)

For many Aspies in childhood (and beyond) including myself way-back-when, a desire to be alone may stem from regular bullying and teasing that just accumulates over time, and breeds a certain cynicism about people. I don't believe Aspergers unto itself creates a desire to be alone.

So, if your son gives a response to the effect of "what's the use in trying to be with other people, they don't let me so I might as well be alone" then that gives you a starting point to develop and target strategies, and he should (gradually) be more receptive to them.