Discovered over 50 years ago by Hans Asperger, the life-long condition and developmental order that affects around 1 in 200 people, appears predominantly among boys. There is no cure and sufferers see and understand the world in a very different way.
There is no specific genetic factor linked to the condition and many mistakenly consider this to be linked to ADHD attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Physical limitations impact greatly on any person with a disability and AS usually experience social anxiety which can often be persistent. A fear of interacting with others may often bring on panic attacks and shaking, and due to this they will often appear withdrawn and shy and this is another factor of people with the condition.
Inviting them to an event can be challenging however, always allow them to be themselves in a calming environment. Try not to overload them with too many questions, and let them do all the talking as they’ll want to open up about their lives and feelings and what they really want from a situation or a new experience.
If you’re meeting an AS for the first time, let the conversation take its course, invite them to express their feelings and tell them about yourself and your interests then wait to see if they have a wish to investigate further. If they do then you’re on a winner. AS’s tend to enjoy the Arts and the creative aspects of life so the conversation around that topic is a good grounding for friendship.
Be positive always, and accept that if you engage fully and understand the different slant of an AS’s world, then great bonding friendships can be established. Try to overcome any issue with small talk, don’t become too complex, and remember too that an AS will not easily see another person’s point of view, so take all these factors into account. If the friendship strikes a positive note and you are included in his/her thoughts and opinions, this means you are valued as a friend.
Everyone needs romance and for most people this happens naturally, however with Asbergers, the lack of communication and social skills can make dating and falling in love far more difficult. They simply don’t understand the traditional meanings and gestures of love and romance. AS’s tend to choose neurotypical NT (someone not on the same autism spectrum) therefore the whole process can become easier as an NT can handle the complexities of the social world for them. You learn to read their signals and AS/NT partnerships are then willing and frank about talking openly about what is expected and what any true feelings really are.
Initially things can be difficult as those with Asbergers usually avoid eye contact so perhaps when they hear the words, ‘I love you’, and they may flip and panic and be overwhelmed and may just offer a grunt and seem disinterested. They can often feel overwhelmed, but take heart in that they do feel love but cannot easily interpret it. They will go off on a tangent but their show of affection will be shown in their particular way. So if you are an AS/NT partnership just enjoy the special times knowing that there is deep affectionate love which may not be shown in direct ways, but it’s there. If an AS wants a hug or kiss it really does mean you are loved.
Step one is that you need to date by different rules and it’s certainly not impossible. If you’re going on a date with an AS is advisable to read up on the condition ahead of meeting so you’ll be fully in the picture as to what to expect. Initially they may not pick up on body language, but be calm and don’t panic as if you really get on and fancy each other then you need to take things gradually. Never ever think that a date or a relationship won’t be possible, it will, as if there’s a real attraction things will progress naturally. Be open and honest with your date and speak clearly and don’t be concerned if an AS date doesn’t always look you in the eye.
You need to stay ahead in conversation and don’t be fazed if you feel awkward at any stage as your AS date is unable to follow gestures and romantic signs. This can often feel like a one-way mission and tough work, but stay with it. AS’s are perfectly normal people with their own free will. Once they understand your gestures and you are patient, then you’ll gain more understanding, as everything about you will be observed. Never joke about, stay on one clear level, and never take offense in something that’s said in an unusual manner as it’s all part of an AS characteristic.
As with all areas of dating there are numerous websites where you simply register and where you are safe among kindred spirits. You won’t find it hard to date as all offer genuine profiles and photos and all messages are controlled. It’s up to you how you play it, but chat rooms and forums are all available online and you can enjoy all the same opportunities that are offered by conventional dating sites. It’s worth taking a look at Tendermeets.com which offers a really great platform for finding love and friendship, and you can register for a free trial then upgrade to a premium if the site works for you.
Not only can you meet your date but there’s a blog, tips on dating, staying safe on a date, and a whole lot more. You’ll never feel lonely if you know you can chat with someone else about your feelings and offer or gain support. And who knows, in time you may even meet your special person who in turn becomes your life-long partner.