Question: Is it possible that the social skills of a person with autism are only immature because he has mental retardation?
Answer: I think maybe we have to think about mental function or mental retardation and social function or social impairment as being overlapping skill sets. Many times, both will be impaired but oftentimes one more prominently than the other.
And so, if the social impairments are much more prominent than the learning impairments, we tend to focus on the autism. If the learning impairments are much more prominent than the social impairments, we tend to focus on mental retardation.
But the two are mixed together in very unpredictable ways and each child can be quite different from the next.