Child development doesn’t happen in a vacuum, but within a social context. This implies a complex interplay of variables affecting children’s social and emotional functioning, which in turn affect their mental health. Our different projects in this context are unique in that they were among the first to collect data over time and produce large longitudinal data about the emotional intelligence of autistic and non-autistic youth - over a three or four years timespan. Several interesting findings emerged from this, e.g. how theory of mind skills and moral emotions develop alongside each other, and how mental health concerns may change over time for autistic youth. This kind of research provides important insights for parents, educators and practitioners, highlighting how social environments can optimally support growth and well-being in autistic youth.
Psychology, Leiden University - Carolien Rieffe, Boya Li, Marieke Bos, Evelien Broekhof, Rachel O'Connor.
Partners from different clinical settings - Lex Stockmann (Center for Autism), Els Blijd-Hoogewys (INTER-PSY), Kirstin Greaves-Lord (Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam).
Projects were funded by NWO, ZonMw, Nuts-OHRA.