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‘Too withdrawn’ or ‘too friendly’: considering social vulnerability in two neuro-developmental disorders

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Debbie Riby

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Abstract

In some neuro-developmental disorders, the combined effect of intellectual disability and atypicalities of social cognition may put individuals at increased vulnerability in their social environment. The neuro-developmental disorders Williams syndrome, characterised by ‘hypersociability’, and autism spectrum disorders, characterised by ‘social withdrawal’, are at two extremes of atypical social functioning in humans. In this article, we use Williams syndrome and autism spectrum disorders as exemplars to demonstrate how atypicalities of social cognition may contribute to social vulnerability in these populations. The lives of individuals with both these disorders are marred by an increased risk of social isolation, bullying, unsteady relationships, employment difficulties and abuse. While different behavioural interventions have been tried to improve social functioning in these populations, there has been great variability in their success. Finally, we discuss different issues regarding social independence of these individuals; including employment, safety and decision making.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Jawaid A, Riby DM, Owens J, White SW, Tarar T, Schulz PE

Publication type: Article

Journal: Journal of Intellectual Disability Research

Year: 2012

Volume: 56

Issue: 4

Pages: 335-350

Print publication date: 01/08/2011

ISSN (print): 0964-2633

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2788

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2788.2011.01452.x

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2011.01452.x


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