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5 Benefits of Engaging with the Community for Young Adults with Autism

There is a general stereotype that individuals with autism spectrum disorder do not enjoy socializing. In most cases, this is not true. Part of the diagnosis is struggling with social and communication skills. As a result, many autistic young adults end up feeling isolated and not equipped to join in on typical social activities.

While the internet offers a vital connection to the world for many young adults with autism, it cannot replace the invaluable lessons and experiences gained from face-to-face social interactions. These interactions play an enormous role in teaching social cues and behaviors, and fostering a sense of community belonging.

Recognizing and supporting an autistic young adult’s desire for socialization and enhanced engagement with the community is essential for their well-being and personal growth.

  1. Lessens Feelings of Isolation

Young adults with autism may feel isolated due to challenges in interpreting social cues and engaging in typical social behaviors, which can make forming connections with others difficult. This, combined with a societal misunderstanding of autism, often leads to reduced opportunities for social interactions, further exacerbating feelings of isolation.

Engaging with the community through organized social outings, activities, or events helps bridge the gap, offering structured environments where these individuals can form meaningful connections.

  1. Improves Mental Health

Young adults with autism are already at higher risk for anxiety and depression than neurotypical peers. Active participation in community events and activities provides a sense of belonging, establishes a supportive network, and helps to alleviate feelings of loneliness. This sense of connection and community can be a powerful counter to mental health challenges often faced by those with autism, giving them a more positive and optimistic outlook.

  1. Provides Opportunities to Develop Friendship

In community settings, autistic young adults can explore common special interests, such as technology, art, or nature, that provide natural opportunities to connect with peers who share similar passions. Engaging in activities centered around these interests can help them to develop more meaningful friendships by enhancing their confidence with the interaction and providing a simple starting point to conversation and connection. 

Even if not centered on their special interest, they become more familiar with and connected to the community at large, and allow themselves more gateways for relationships.

  1. Promotes Independence

Community involvement helps promote independence by encouraging individuals with autism to make decisions, navigate social settings, and participate in activities outside of their usual routine. This exposure to diverse experiences and responsibilities enhances their ability to act autonomously and make informed choices, both important steps toward living an independent life.

In addition, community involvement can teach practical life skills, such as using public transportation and learning the social rules of specific types of outings. Learning to travel and get around independently will offer an autistic young adult greater freedom and self-reliance.

  1. Boosts Confidence

Active participation in the community can boost confidence by giving young adults the opportunity to successfully navigate social situations, contribute to group tasks, and achieve personal goals. All of this will reinforce a positive self-image. With an increasing self-esteem, they will feel more empowered to take on new challenges.

Engaging with the community offers countless benefits for young adults with autism, significantly enriching their lives and playing a crucial role in their development and well-being. It is vital for families, caregivers, and communities themselves to actively support and facilitate opportunities for these young adults to participate in and contribute to community life.

Gersh Experience provides an ideal transition into adulthood through both its residential and day programs. It is uniquely designed to support your autistic young adult in gaining independence. We provide many opportunities to work on socialization and living skills so that our students leave prepared to lead fulfilling, connected, and empowered lives. Reach out here to learn more.


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