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Autistic adults and sexuality


Tom Sandfordt and Michelle van Boerum have an enviable romance relationship based on mutual trust, and the same kinds of intangibles that characterize other loving couples. Photo by James J.

Teenagers and Adults. By the...

Watching Michelle van Boerum and Tom Sandfordt as they stroll hand in hand, heads bent together in eager conversation, even a casual onlooker would peg them as a loving couple. They met at a Special Olympics event where they both were competing.

The attraction was mutual and instantaneous. Today, they live down Autistic adults and sexuality street from each other, in a supervised apartment program provided by Bancroft, a Cherry Hill-based nonprofit that offers an array of programs in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware Autistic adults and sexuality children and adults with special needs.

As the attention on autism is expanding from the requirements and challenges of childhood to the needs, many of them still unmet, of adults, one need has been left largely undiscussed. Motivation, of course, is only part of the equation. Misconceptions about the sexuality of people with autism also known as autism spectrum disorder, or ASD abound, even among some of the people closest to them, and can hinder the development of healthy sexual outlets.

In fact, some are open to dating so-called neurotypicals, and some actually prefer to date them exclusively. In fact, social interactions in general are often challenging for individuals with autism; couple that with a tendency among parents and educators to avoid raising the topic of sex with children and young adults on the spectrum, and you start to see the difficulties that sex and sexuality can present for those with ASD.

Roadblocks to Romance The word autism was coined in the early 20th Autistic adults and sexuality out of a deep misunderstanding of the condition, which persists even today. In fact, says Kerry Magro —a blogger, mentor and author of a self-published book, Autism and Falling in Love: What some people may perceive as an empathy deficit actually derives from the "Autistic adults and sexuality" hard wiring that can make it difficult for people with "Autistic adults and sexuality" to read emotions, make small talk or maintain eye contact—all traits that are essential when it comes to connecting with new people.

Those challenges can lead individuals on the spectrum to overcompensate—forcing themselves to stare at a stranger rather than give in to the desire to avert their gaze, for instance, or to engage in inappropriate conversation or avoid social situations entirely.

Magro, who lives in Hoboken, started dating at 18, but felt hobbled by a feeling of awkwardness around the opposite sex.

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