The social arena continues to cause the greatest difficulty for the adolescent with Asperger’s Disorder. In the teenage years, friendships become of primary importance and those who do not fit in are often teased and rejected, making them vulnerable to depression.
Middle school has a tremendous amount of peer pressure to be “cool” and to be just like everyone else. This is hard on many children, but in particular for Asperger’s Disorder children, who lack the skills to try to fit in. While others their age make friendships that involve trust, secrets, and common interests, the Asperger’s Disorder teen does not have friends and begins to identify that his differences are responsible for why he is lonely.
Social life may improve in high school as there is less pressure to be just like everyone else. At this age, teens form their individual identities, and they view differences in a less negative light than in middle school. High school usually offers more opportunities for finding a group to belong to. Being labeled a “computer nerd” or “bookworm” is no longer viewed as so negative and the Asperger’s Disorder child will likely find others with similar interests to socialize with.