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Arranging Intimacy: Matters for Autism Spectrum Adults

The thought of dating can be daunting to even the most accomplished dating aficionado. My experience with clients has shown that frustration with dating spans all persons, including those on the spectrum.. Let’s then factor into consideration dating options for persons with ASD, how does one begin to determine what qualities they desire most in an intimate partner? Moreover, where does one begin to finds someone that shares commonalities and interest that can develop into an intimate relationship? I will attempt to discuss these questions in the content of this blog.

Understanding what qualities one desires in a partner is one that typically develops over time and with experience. In day to day interactions with others, we begin to formulate in our mind what we do and do not like about people. We begin to draw closer to persons who emulate qualities we like and refrain from those who we don’t care for. At the heart of this matter is the fact that often times, persons on the spectrum are not exposed to these types of interactions on a regular basis to assist them in determining what qualities they do like about another. These types of interaction can be fostered with the assistance of structures groups or social skills meeting for those that are less inclined to engage with peers on a regular basis. Understanding ones interest in a significant other can also be fostered in a therapeutic setting wherein time can be spent not only determining what an ASD individual desires in another but also what qualities they possess that may help to understand what type of partner may be better suited for them.

In my work, I have used well known dating questionnaire not to assist the individual in joining a dating site but to begin to consider, if given the opportunity to date, what they enjoyed or would enjoy in an ideal partner. An exploration of this magnitude may be daunting but allows for an individual to form realistic expectations of desired partner. It also provides a person an opportunity to gain additional insights about themselves that could be useful in selecting a partner. While such work is helpful in the therapy room, it does not allow for practical application.

As mentioned before, social groups can allow for such practice. Online interactions can also provide opportunities for meeting people but needs to be explored with caution. When choosing to explore dating sites, consider sites that are specific to your needs. For instance, while exploring the internet, I was able to identify sites that cater to persons with ASD. While it may not be the first, The First Autism Dating Site, http://www.autismdating.net/, was created by a 29 year old Belgium male who, with the support of agency, created a site where Autism and Dating coincides. Facebook could also be used as a resource for meeting people with similar interest. As with any online network it is important to be aware of predators and scams that attempt to solicit money or request private information. The focus of any interaction, whether through groups or the internet, is to develop social interactions that can help a person on the ASP better discern what qualities they would want in a partner. For more information of Autism Services please contact Monique Lewis, M.S, Marital Family Therapist employed by ASD Consultancy. You can contact Monique at monique@asdconsultancy.com or (562)833-6900. For more help visit www.asdhelp.com. ASD Consultancy will be at the Orange County Autism Walk, Nov 13th, 2010. We would love to see you there!

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