Mental Health and Wellbeing
Autism is a social and emotional learning difference and autistic learners can experience difficulties as they interpret the world around them and by the way they are perceived by the peers and adults with whom they interact. However, there are also many positive aspects of autism which should not be underestimated.
To support the emotional wellbeing of their autistic learners, educational practitioners, need to be aware of:
- Factors which can have an impact: both positive and negative
- Recognise and maximise positive impacts
- Support to reduce negative impacts.
An autistic learner may have a single-minded focus on developing friendships. They may desperately want a friend and can misinterpret kindness for friendship and become attached to someone who does not consider them a friend. Inflexibility of thought and a lack of appreciation of the others’ feelings may result in rejection.
A ‘fragile sense of self’ may leave pupils vulnerable to secondary mental health issues. Some autistic adults report that their mental health improved following diagnosis, perhaps as it helped them make sense of their experiences.