Aspergers Teens and Dating

"My Aspie son is 17 years old, and dating is now becoming a problem. He likes girls but struggles with starting a conversation, showing that he likes them, and so on... Any suggestions?"

Aspergers dating can be a bit more complicated than typical teen dating. The onset of dating is a big step for teens with Aspergers (high functioning autism), just as it is for all teens. Like any other teen, your son wants to develop those special friendships and be a part of the crowd. The socialization struggles brought about by Aspergers calls for some advanced planning. Here are some tips to get you started.

Social skills—

Social skills are necessary to form friendships. Unfortunately, this skill area causes problems for people with Aspergers. Dating calls for the ability to notice social cues, body language, and gestures. You can help your son by identifying and practicing necessary skills. Many schools or community Autism support organizations have social skills group therapy classes. By attending these group activities, your son can learn socialization skills in a controlled and supported environment.

Personal Hygiene—

Sometimes personal hygiene is all but forgotten by people with Aspergers. Dating definitely requires good personal hygiene. It is difficult to attract the attention of the opposite sex if you forget to bathe and brush your teeth. Help your son create a schedule for his personal hygiene. A visual checklist can keep him on a regular schedule.

Interest-led activities—

One way to meet people is through a shared interest. For example, if your son's special interest is computers, he could join a computer club or take a class. Now is the chance to put to good use those obsessive interests that are so commonly held by people with Aspergers. Dating someone who loves the same things you do makes for a more natural relationship.

Therapy—

It is not easy to make your way through the teen years with Aspergers. Dating is expected and desired. If your son is struggling, he may benefit from individual therapy. A private counselor can help him work through his issues, concerns, and fears. A counselor can give him strategies that will make life easier and more pleasant.

With a little planning, your son can tackle his socialization struggles. With a bit of organization, some social skills practice, and possibly some therapy, your son can begin to overcome some of the weaknesses of Aspergers. Dating will then become his reality. With a little practice, he will become comfortable with himself in social situations.

4 comments:

  1. I knew a couple who were both aspies... they were the perfect fit since they each had different strengths, but both fully understood the NEED for we time and plenty of ME time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I use to write to my son a" speech" when he was younger, then he knows how to initiate a few conversations with girls.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Working on hygiene became much easier with one of my students once he started liking girls. When i told him that girls like hair washed and a clean smell, he started showering much more often. The next step was to identify nonverbal skills that girls do to show liking as well as how to initiate a conversation, listen, and give compliments.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Have him memorize a list of "conversation starters" like 1.) How was your weekend (if it's early in the week) or 2.) What are you doing this weekend (end of week), 3.) What's your favorite band? etc... Make sure he memorizes them so can whip one out when needed. It really helps.

    ReplyDelete