Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Asperger's syndrome in adolescence, Autistic youth-Psychology, Autistic youth-Education, Friendship in adolescence, Aspergers, Friendship, Adolescence, Orion Academy (Moraga, Calif.)


This study explored how Aspergian adolescents attending a specialized school perceive and understand friendship. This exploratory qualitative study aimed to further knowledge of how Aspergian adolescents understand friendship for clinicians, parents, teachers and researchers. Another primary goal of this project was to collect the views and perceptions of Aspergian adolescents and to disseminate the findings to the participants and other Aspergian adolescents. The primary goal of this research project was to examine how being educated in a specialized school affects how Aspergian adolescents understand the concepts surrounding friendship. This study was conducted at Orion Academy, an 8th-12th grade preparatory high school for students with Asperger's Disorder and Non-verbal learning disability located in Moraga, California. Data was collected through three focus groups consisting of eight participants; four 8th graders, two 9th graders and two 12th grade students. This study found that Aspergian adolescents both desire and are able to make and maintain long-lasting and intimate friendships. Social skills courses, class size and class composition at Orion Academy were found to positively impact students' ability to make and maintain friendships. Participants also benefited from the lack of bullying at Orion Academy.




iii, 91 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 76-79)