As we celebrate World Autism Awareness Week in 2021, we do so against the backdrop of a very challenging year. Because, for more or less everyone, 2020 was a year to forget. It was a year when we spent far too much time at home and without the social contact many of us need and crave.
However, one positive impact of the pandemic is that we’ve all been reminded that relationships are important. Even if, somewhat ironically, they’ve been hard to maintain.
For people with autism or a learning disability it’s not just hard to maintain relationships. Because it can often be difficult to create them. And that’s something that at Talkback we are forever focused on helping our members deal with. We knew it before, but we have been sharply reminded over the last 12 months just how important that is.
How do relationships affect people with autism?
Autism affects how people handle information, as well as how they observe the world around them and make sense of their place in it. As well as this, it impacts how people communicate. Having a learning disability affects how people learn skills in their life. As such, for both groups, it is often hard to make and keep friends.
Because we understand how important relationships are, we help break down barriers. So we can provide people with autism and learning disabilities the power to make their own friends. As well as understanding the dynamics of relationships. Because friendships help people grow.
One of the best ways we can do this is by defining the boundaries and values of what a relationship is.
Firstly, they can be between anyone. Because age, sex, gender, status, race, or religion do not matter. Each relationship is unique – made with compassion, positivity, and equality. Relationships affect our happiness, quality of life and self-confidence. Because how we feel about ourselves, good or not, affects how we interact with others.
There are many different types of relationships. However, all relationships should be agreed by both people. There should be clear boundaries to make sure that everyone is happy and safe. A successful relationship takes effort from both people to be built and maintained.
And, perhaps most importantly, it’s vital to acknowledge that it is healthy and normal for our relationships to change through our lives. It is natural for some relationships to end and understanding how to manage this is a part of our development.
What We Believe – Celebrating Relationships
At Talkback, we believe everyone has the right to have relationships. So, we help people develop the skills to build and keep good relationships. Therefore, they have the choice and control to build safe relationships,. As well as the confidence and self-respect to enjoy them.
And everyone is happy when we make that connection with each other. We celebrate World Autism Awareness Week with this in mind.
To find out about how we build relationships click here
Written by Tony Flower