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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores positive psychology as an adjunctive treatment for individuals on the autism spectrum. Positive psychology has the potential to enhance quality of life and emotional well-being by enabling individuals to focus on strengths and by providing hope for the future. An overview of autism characteristics, current practices in autism, and positive psychology in relation to autism interventions illuminates commonalities among treatments. Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) often present with comorbid conditions, such as executive dysfunction, anxiety, and depression, that contribute to states of emotional imbalance and negativity. Positive psychology may be useful in moving individuals with ASD away from negativity and immobility, thus yielding beneficial therapeutic results and increasing proactive behavior. Because positive psychology depends on an ability to deal cognitively with life situations, the chapter includes a review of literature pertinent to high-functioning young adults with autism, for whom this intervention may be especially beneficial.

Keywords: positive psychology, autism, autism spectrum disorders, Asperger syndrome

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