Serious mental illnesses can interfere with social activities when a person is particularly unwell. Relationships and a good social support network can be protective factors against mental illness. However new research looks at the way girls and boys with autistic spectrum disorders differ from each other and raises the possibility that autistic girls express their traits through social relationships. Furthermore, it is reported that this may mean they are less likely to be referred to a doctor. The research is not yet published and so we will need to reserve judgement until it is. However, it does raise an important question of what successful social behaviour looks like. Is successful social behaviour best judged by people within the group or by external observers or by both?
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