While a young adult with classic autism may appear content with a solitary “monastic” lifestyle, this is often not the case with young adults who have Asperger’s syndrome or high-functioning autism.
Clinical experience has identified that the majority of such adolescents and young adults would like a romantic relationship.
However, there is remarkably little research examining this aspect of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) or strategies to facilitate successful relationships.
Typical children do this naturally and have practised relationship skills with family members and friends for many years before applying these abilities to achieve a successful romantic relationship.
Young adults with a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome or high-functioning autism also have conspicuously limited social conversational skills or ability to communicate emotions, especially affection.
They also can have an extreme sensitivity to particular sensory experiences.
All of these diagnostic characteristics will affect relationship skills throughout childhood, and will eventually limit an adult’s ability to achieve a long-term successful relationship.
To achieve a successful relationship, a person also needs to understand and respect him- or herself.
Adolescents with Asperger’s syndrome also are gullible and vulnerable to being given misinformation on relationships by fellow teenagers.
This can include instances of being deceived and “set up.” For example, a teenager with Asperger’s syndrome was lonely and longing for a girlfriend.
His requests for a date had been consistently rejected.
Then a very popular and attractive girl in his class suggested the two of them go for a date at the cinema.
He was so happy and the date was progressing well, when the girl became embarrassed and confessed that she asked to go out with him only to complete a dare from her friends. People with an autism spectrum disorder have difficulties understanding and expressing emotions, and an emotion that is particularly confusing to people with ASD is love.
Typical children and adults enjoy frequent expressions of affection, know how to express affection to communicate reciprocal feelings of adoration and love, and know when to repair someone’s feelings by expressions of affection.