Friendship in High-functioning Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Mixed and Non-mixed Dyads
Friendships containing a child with autism and a friend with typical development (“mixed” friendships, n = 26) and those of children with autism and a friend with a disability (“non-mixed,” n = 16) were contrasted with friendships of typically developing subjects and their friends (n = 31). Measures included dyadic interaction samples, and interview and questionnaire data from subjects, friends, and parents. Mixed friendship interactions resembled typical friendships. Participants in mixed friendships were more responsive to one another, had stronger receptive language skills, exhibited greater positive social orientation and cohesion, and demonstrated more complex coordinated play than in the non-mixed dyads. Exposure to typical peers appears to have significant effects on friendship behaviors.