Katie's Diary

Autism Relationships

18th July 2014

LIVING with autism can be challenging for the individual but for those they live with it can be even more of a problem. This month is Autism awareness month and we recognise the challenges that people go through in their everyday life, including what seems simple to most, building a relationship and having comfort from another human being.

People with Autism often reach adulthood and carve out successful careers before they are diagnosed but as we all know success on your own can be lonely it is far better shared with someone else.

ubu developed uStep because we recognised that the best results for vulnerable people was to allow them to direct their own care and support to become fully integrated  members of the community they wanted to live in.

Relationships are a key part of everyone’s development and we have always supported the people we serve to fulfil their hopes and dreams through romance and sexuality.

Autism is no barrier to a healthy relationship but we recognise that there are times when people on the spectrum need counselling and advice.

uStep enables the people we serve to develop the social skills and understanding to have healthy relationships.  

People with autism rely on logic but relationships are more ad hoc and spontaneous than that.  They rely on spur of the moment rather than planned to the nth degree.

Simple things such as reading social cues, making small talk and social niceties are thrown out of the window when it comes to relationships for people with Autism.

ubu welcome’s partners who like us break down each step of the relationship journey into simple bite sizes to help those with Autism understand what words and actions mean.

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.

For example while a smile across a room is romantic it is usually accompanied by looking away, something that people with Autism don’t do.  

With the right support those with Autism can learn to understand how to have social interaction that can lead to romance if they want it to.  For example; first, a couple notices each other across the room, they make eye contact and look away, and they look again and they look away.  The look away makes it known you're safe, but the common error someone with autism can make is to stare, which can seem predatory and scare a person.

People with autism need help and advice in how to smile and for how long, since another common factor is to smile really big rather than giving a slight smile.  A big smile can also be frightening.”

It may seem clinical but in a world where more than 1 in 50 are diagnosed with Autism, concrete action has to be taken so the same opportunities to be fully integrated members of their communities with relationships are part of that.

Don’t forget to follow us on @ubusupport for more insight into our work 

Autism Relationships

 I decide what matters to me. ubu help and teach me to make my future happen 

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