Children with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may not have difficulty forming friendships, though they may have a hard time keeping them, due to impulsive behavior and hyperactivity. Children with Attention deficit disorder (ADD) may not have as much trouble keeping and maintaining friendships, though inattentiveness may complicate the processes.
Parents of children with ADHD worry about their children’s ability to form long-lasting friendships. According to Edelman, “Making and keeping friends requires ‘hundreds’ of skills – talking, listening, sharing, being empathetic, and so on. These skills do not come naturally to children with ADD”. Difficulty listening to others also inhibits children with ADD or ADHD from forming good friendships. Children with these disorders can also drive away others by “blurting out unkind comments”. Their disruptive behavior can become too distracting to classmates.
Children with autism spectrum disorders usually have some difficulty forming friendships. Certain symptoms of autism can interfere with the formation of interpersonal relations, such as a preference for routine actions, resistance to change, obsession with particular interests or rituals, and a lack of typical social skills. Children with autism spectrum disorders have been found to be more likely to be close friends of one person, rather than having groups of friends. Additionally, they are more likely to be close friends of other children with some sort of a disability. A sense of parental attachment aids in the quality of friendships in children with autism spectrum disorders; a sense of attachment with one’s parents compensates for a lack of social skills that would usually inhibit friendships.
With time, moderation, and proper instruction, children with autism spectrum disorder are able to form friendships after realizing their own strengths and weaknesses. A study done by Frankel et al. showed that parental intervention and instruction plays an important role in such children developing friendships. Along with parental intervention, school professionals play an important role in teaching social skills and peer interaction. Paraprofessionals, specifically one-on-one aides and classroom aides, are often placed with children with autism spectrum disorders in order to facilitate friendships and guide the child in making and maintaining substantial friendships.
Although lessons and training may help peers of children with autism, bullying is still a major concern in social situations. According to Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times, bullying is most likely to occur against autistic children who have the most potential to live independently, such as those with Asperger syndrome. Such children are more at risk because they have as many of the rituals and lack of social skills as children with full autism, but they are more likely to be mainstreamed in school, since they are on the higher-functioning end of the autism spectrum. Children on the autism spectrum have more difficulty picking up on social cues of when they are maliciously being made fun of, so they do not always know when they are being bullied.