There are many reasons for the connection between autism and social isolation. A large part has to do with society and people’s expectations. People enjoy outgoing and charismatic people more than solemn and thoughtful people. Autistic people are most often in the second camp because of verbal and nonverbal communication issues. Autistic individuals eventually learn to become comfortable being outsiders and maximize their time in solitude. to work on their projects. They learn to accept that they can’t fit in with society. There are five primary causes of autism and social isolation.


Autism And Social Isolation


What Is Autism?


According to Autism Research Institute, “Autism is a developmental disorder with symptoms that appear within the first three years of life. Its formal diagnostic name is autism spectrum disorder. The word ‘spectrum’ indicates that autism appears in different forms with varying levels of severity. That means that each individual with autism experiences their own unique strengths, symptoms, and challenges.”


The Autism Spectrum


There is a range of autism. Some autistic individuals who are high functioning may be able to pass by people on the surface until they get into a conversation with someone. On the other end of the spectrum are autistic individuals who cannot fully function. They need other people’s help and assistance with daily tasks. They may hurt themselves by banging themselves or hitting themselves. There are yet others who are somewhere in the middle of this spectrum.


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15 Common Signs Of Autism


There are things that you can look out for to identify autism. The main symptoms of autism relate to verbal and non-verbal communication. There are fifteen common signs of autism:


  • Reduced eye contact
  • Differences in body language or lack of body language
  • Lack of facial expressions
  • Lack of eye contact
  • Lack of nonverbal communication
  • Not engaging in imaginative play
  • Repeating gestures or sounds
  • Repeating routines
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Ritualistic behaviors
  • Tone of voice
  • Pragmatic language
  • Self-injury
  • Closely focused interests
  • Indifference to temperature extremes



4 Ways How Autistic Individuals Become Social Outcasts


Autistic individuals will usually become social outcasts. They lack the acceptable soft and social skills that are needed to gain approval from people and society. There are four ways how autistic individuals become social outcasts in society.


Society’s Focus On Soft Skills


There is an overemphasis on soft skills in society and by people. These are the very skills that autistic individuals lack. To succeed in life, they must find ways to deal with this enduring social expectation while trying to navigate as a social pariah in society. They eventually learn to become comfortable as social outcasts and spend time alone.


Society’s Expectation


Society is built around extroverts. It favors extroversion personalities. That is why you see people often gushing over celebrities, politicians, or well-known influencers. These people can understand emotions and manipulate them to their advantage. Since they can connect with people on an emotional level, people think that they are just like them, so they must be nice. These people must care about them. Autistic individuals may eventually learn to see through the facade of nice-sounding words, charisma, and good looks because it is part of a world that is alien to them. They learn to overlook society’s expectations and to embrace being society’s black sheep.


People’s Expectations


People often have those same emotions. People prefer extroverted and outgoing people to introverts. This is because most people think that what society says is the best way. People like to go along with the crowd and fit in. They want to please their friends or co-workers. People often focus on external validation. External validation comes from relationships and getting others’ approval of you. Autistic individuals learn that they can’t meet people’s social expectations, so they would rather spend time alone.

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Social Outcasts


Since autistic people lack the social skills and charisma to excite people, they often experience being outcasts. They cannot go along with the crowd because they stick out, even if they try to fit in. Eventually, autistic individuals learn that society and how the system is built are not for them. They must find their way to make do in a culture that highly values the things that autistic people lack. This may result in autistic individuals learning to enjoy spending time in solitude which society frowns upon.

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5 Causes Of Autism And Social Isolation


Several factors can drive autistic individuals into self-isolation. Five causes contribute to autism and social isolation.


Poor Social Skills


Autistic individuals usually have poor social skills, a lack of nonverbal communication, and an inability to read body language; many may end up in social isolation. This is because it takes too much effort or is impossible to communicate verbally and non-verbally with people. This leads to many autistic individuals ending up in social isolation. It is easier for them not to deal with people who expect them to have a range of emotions and to be able to communicate those emotions or feelings to others fully.

Poor Verbal Communication


Autistic people may spend more time alone or experience social isolation for many reasons. It may not be worth the time to work to improve non-verbal communication skills because it does not make a difference. They can only marginally improve so much, but still, they stand out to people for their inability to read non-verbal’s. They will also stand out to others because of their monotone voice. They have difficulty fluctuating and changing the range of their voice to show a range of emotions or to stress particular points in verbal communication. As a result of these everyday problems, they may eventually stop trying to improve these soft skills that society places a premium on in their professional and daily life.


Poor Nonverbal Communication


This leads them to end up socially isolated. Instead, they would focus on their interests rather than deal with other people’s expectations that they know they cannot meet. Instead, they would find ways to become the best at that one interest rather than deal with others. Since they do not have the required verbal and social skills that society and employers expect, they have a higher unemployment rate. According to Good Autism School, “up to 70% of approximately 6 million adults with autism in the USA are struggling with unemployment or underemployment.”


Difficulty With Relationships


As a result of often having poor communication and non-verbal skills, autistic individuals have difficulty with relationships. This makes it difficult to make and maintain relationships. Autistic individuals have a hard time with relationships, be it with family to romantic relationships, because they come across as cold due to their monotone voice and poor non-verbal skills. Nonverbal body language accounts for 60% to 65% of communication. People place a premium on soft skills instead of the delivered information. Those are the very things autistic individuals have the most difficulty with, directly affecting their relationships.


Always Being In Their Heads


Autistic individuals often experience being in their heads. This means that their brain is always running. It seems never to stop. It can get even worse if they experience sensory overload from sounds or visuals. Since people are expected to have good soft skills, the interaction with people that autistic individuals lack may replay those interactions in their minds for what they should have done. These types of things make autistic individuals always live in their heads. The mind will run non-stop twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and three hundred sixty-five days a year. It never stops.


Autism And Solitude


Despite being socially isolated, many autistic individuals may learn to enjoy spending their time alone. What most people think of as scary or not normal, autistic people can learn to enjoy spending their time alone in solitude. They can use solitude to take advantage of the autistic symptoms by focusing and working on an interest in creative ways. Autistic individuals can spend time in solitude to master a skill and craft. They can be highly productive once they learn to utilize time management strategies to focus solely on a project. Autism, when appropriately managed, can become a superpower!

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Social isolation is often thought of as a bad thing. The flip side of isolation is solitude. It is ultimately a matter of perspective and how someone views spending time alone. Autistic individuals have difficulty maintaining relationships because they lack the non-verbal and soft skills that people expect in social situations. For these reasons, they may enjoy spending time in solitude working on their projects because they don’t have to deal with people and society.

Views expressed in this article are the author’s opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of Secure Single. It is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not investment or financial advice. James Bollen is the author of Thriving Solo: How to Flourish and Live Your Perfect Life (Without A Soulmate). Now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon. Subscribe to Secure Single’s Substack for free!
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James Bollen is the Founder and President of Secure Single. He is an entrepreneur and a content creator with the goal of helping all different types of singles to learn to thrive as a single person.
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