Social events can be difficult for individuals on the autism spectrum. They may prefer to go to social events only if the events are focused on one of their special interests, or they may not like to go to social events at all. Many ASD adults do not like “small talk” while others just don’t know what to say at events that require socializing with strangers or mere acquaintances. Others are prone to talk excessively about their own interests, creating some social discomfort for their listeners or accompanying family members.
Their children may need some tips on how to handle social events with an ASD parent. The child or teen can learn understand that these activities may be difficult for their ASD parent. The child and parent may be able to compromise, and go less often or for shorter amounts of time so that both the child and their parent can get their needs met. If a particular activity is really important, the child can make a special request that the parent attend and explain why it is important. The child or teen may also be able to find other family members or friends that can accompany them to certain social events if their ASD parent finds it difficult to go.
The child and the ASD parent may want to discuss what kind of social activities they both enjoy and find something on which they both agree. When I was growing up with my father who is on the spectrum, we used to play chess together (one of his lifelong special interests) but he never went with me to my horse shows and my mother went instead. He didn’t like going to neighborhood activities but he did like to go out to eat at restaurants with the immediate family.
If you are interested in this topic, you may be interested in my book: My parent has an autism spectrum disorder/a workbook for children and teens.