The aspects of autism that can make everyday life challenging—reading social cues, understanding another's perspectives, making small talk and exchanging niceties—can be seriously magnified when it comes to dating.
A constant complaint among the individuals interviewed for this piece is the misconception that people with autism can't express love or care for others.
“I think a lot of times someone will go out on a date with someone on the spectrum and think they’re a robot,” said Alex Plank, founder of Wrong Planet.net, a popular online autism community.
“Yet those feelings may be invisible to outsiders because we don't show them.
Because we don’t show them or the expected response, people make the wrong assumption about our depth of feeling about other people.”It’s not that individuals on the spectrum do not have the same desire for love; they just may not know how to find it. Elizabeth Laugeson, an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCLA said, “If you asked a person with autism if they wanted a romantic relationship, they would probably say yes, but they would probably also say they don’t know how to.”Partially from the emphasis on early intervention treatments, there's a dearth of dating skills programs, or, rather, effective ones for people on the spectrum.
For example, while a "neuro-typical" person might think a bar is great place for a first date, it could be one of the worst spots for someone on the spectrum.