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Social skills and Puberty

One of the features of having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is that social behaviours do not develop typically - they need to be explicitly taught. People with ASD often need opportunities to practise new social skills and to receive feedback on their performance. There are many new social skills to be learned during adolescence.

Some examples of such skills are:

  • how to excuse oneself politely so as to leave the room and manage personal care tasks,
  • pain management for menstruation,
  • how to determine whether a person is making romantic advances or just being friendly,
  • deciding whether a person’s sexual advances are appropriate or inappropriate,
  • how to express acceptance/refusal of another person’s romantic or sexual advances,  
  • how to appropriately express sexual interest in another person.

Students with ASD are likely to require extra support to develop social skills which will assist them to communicate well in romantic and sexual relationships. For more information about how to teach particular social skills to students with ASD, see the section on teaching social skills.