Meaningful social interactions as a foundation for affection and learning for autistic individuals

Daniela Wachholtz*, Veronica Vidal, Oswin Latimer, Mariluz Jiménez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Social interactions are postulated as a crucial part of socioemotional development and significant outcomes in life (Bauminger et al., 2003; Healy et al., 2013). There are different types of social interactions that we experience during our life, like caregiver-child, peer, and teacher-student interactions. Historically, social interactions have been promoted from an ableist perspective in autistic populations (Nario-Redmond, 2020). These modes of interactions expect individuals to conform to neurotypical social exchanges creating a great source of negative experiences for autistic individuals, which translates into stigma and mental health issues due to the impact on affectivity capabilities. Social interactions and their impact on socioemotional development have been stated as an essential mainstay for learning. Learning occurs when meaningful interactions develop, which, in turn, happen in specific shared activities and employ multiple resources. In this chapter, we provide a detailed description of how social interaction, affectivity, and learning interplay in the development of the autistic population. We discuss how the classical development and support models lack the understanding of the relevance of meaningful affection-based interactions to promote learning. We propose, as an alternative, the use of socio-ecological models (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 1998; Vidal et al., 2018; Vidal et al., 2022) to support a positive learning experience paradigm, promoting the development of social interactions in autistic populations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAffectivity and Learning
Subtitle of host publicationBridging the Gap Between Neurosciences, Cultural and Cognitive Psychology
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783031317095
ISBN (Print)9783031317088
StatePublished - 27 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023. All rights reserved.


  • Affectivity
  • Autism
  • Learning
  • Social interactions
  • Socioemotional development


Dive into the research topics of 'Meaningful social interactions as a foundation for affection and learning for autistic individuals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this