Specialized Dating by kalyani10 People on the autism spectrum can vary widely in their social and physical functioning. As far as romantic relationships are concerned, problems with communication and social interaction pose the biggest challenge to dating an autistic person.
However if you have met someone you really like but who is on the autism spectrum, go through the following tips and then decide if you would like to give the relationship a chance. Read up If you have just started dating an autistic person, the first thing to do is to be well-informed. There has been tremendous advance in medical science and research related to autism.
Read up on these and find out as much as you can about the particular autistic condition of your partner. Usually with more information comes hope or at least awareness about what to expect and how to cope with the condition as it will affect your personal lives.
Take the initiative Since people with autism have trouble reading body language and cues, they find it difficult to negotiate the complex art of social interaction. While in the professional field, this may have only limited impact, while engaging in personal relationships, this becomes a major handicap. This is the reason why autistic persons are perceived as socially awkward and sometimes even rude. So if you wish to get to know your date better, you may have to take the initiative more than once.
So do whatever you can to get your partner started in dating or other relationship socialization. Once they cross the threshold, they can learn a good deal of social behavior and eventually improve their knowledge as well as handling of relationships. They usually born with an inability to pick up behavioral cues, interpret them and then send their own response — a skill that non-autistic people learn naturally and easily but one which many autistic people take time to learn.
So it is best you develop ways of communication which suit your relationship particularly. It will be easier for them to participate in a discussion based on their likes rather than merely making polite talk. Be prepared to listen to them talk to you about their "specialty subjects".
They may not realize that you are not interested without you telling them. Then again do not pressure them to have eye contact with you. It is extremely uncomfortable for most people on the autistic spectrum to look at people in the face for extended periods of time, if at all. Either way it's usually best not to draw attention to it.
Remember that just because they are not looking at your eyes does not mean they are not listening to you. Also avoid pointing out or criticizing unusual behaviors your partner may have such as hand gestures, knee-jerking and pacing. If you do this you will not only hurt the person's feelings, but possibly destroy any chance of having any sort of relationship with them. On the other hand if you keep behaving normally, without drawing attention to the unusual things that they are doing, they will be more relaxed and more capable of modeling their behavior on yours.
What to do on a date When going out on a date with an autistic person, it is necessary to choose the venue carefully. If you wish to get to know each other better, head for a place where there are minimal distractions or sources of stress around the individual. Try to avoid flashing lights, annoying sounds, excessive crowds which may distract or stress out your partner. Better still, organize your date around an activity like mini-golfing or chess which provides structure and regularity.
Another important thing to remember is that people on the autistic spectrum do not filter out things in the same way that most people do and thus it can be a lot to manage. This does not mean that they do not like you, it just means that they have had enough for the day. If you stay on and keep talking, you can put them at risk of having a "meltdown. Take it slow and as far as possible be consistent so your partner can adapt. Physical intimacy may take time since many autistic people can have difficulty in expressing their emotions through physical gestures.
In fact at the earlier stage of dating, avoid touching your partner without warning. Usually people with high functioning autism do not like to be touched unless they initiate it, like if they tap you on the shoulder.