Kids With Autism Need to Date Too

Mom Moment 6

holding handsOf all the myths about autism -- and whoo boy are there a lot -- one of the most prevalent marks kids on the spectrum as unfeeling, lacking the ability to love and desire to feel a human connection. Guess what y'all? Teenagers with autism are the same mess of hormones and lust as their peers. They want to date too.

And thanks to two particular college kids with Asperger's who volunteered to work with The New York Times and their Love on the Spectrum project late last year, these loving, feeling kids finally have a voice in the national discussion of autism to break down another barrier to getting a date: society frowning on them. Jack Robison and Kirsten Lindsmith have sparked the kind of outpouring of emotion that the myth makers wouldn't expect from kids on the spectrum. 

But emotional these kids have been. They want the world to know they don't love other people "despite" their autism. They just plain love other people. It's an important -- albeit difficult to grasp -- distinction. But kids with autism are trying to show the world that the syndrome may affect much of what they do, but that doesn't mean it's a "problem." As one high schooler said:

Love is a really hard thing to accomplish, maybe even the hardest thing in the world to achieve, and it is hard for everybody. It doesn’t matter if you are autistic or not. If anything, this article shows trials and tribulations that befall every relationship of society.

More from The Stir: Adorable Little Girl Doesn't Think Down Syndrome Makes Her Brother Different (VIDEO)

His point is well taken. Love and relationships are HARD. Being on the autism spectrum may make for complications in dating. But really, other folks have complications too. We just have different hurdles. Depression. A rough childhood. Divorced parents. Fear of commitment. Falling in love too easily. Falling out of love to easily. The sky is the limit.

It doesn't mean the rest of us don't date. So why not kids with autism? Why don't they deserve the same chance to go out and feel that heady rush of hormones and the sweet thrill of a first kiss?

I'm glad the world is getting to know more about autism for the sakes of all these kids. The more examples out there of these kids growing up and doing "normal" stuff, the better. But what we need as a society is to learn the truth about autism, not truck in myths and half-truths. First lesson? Love is not a foreign concept for kids with autism. 

What's the most pervasive myth about autism you've encountered?

 

Image via katerha/Flickr

autism, dating

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nonmember avatar Shannon

I taught high school at a school for students with special needs for a few years. The boys and girls, autistic or not, all had their crushes, whether it was Zac Efron or a teacher down the hall. I once wore a cute dress and some nice earrings to work and all the boys told me how pretty I was, and couldn't stop staring like typical teenagers, so I made sure to dress pretty plainly from then on. So many people think people with autism are dead inside, and it's just not true.

Todd Vrancic

Children with autism have feelings, they just have trouble communicating them.  This was how it was explained to me.

nonmember avatar Jane

The kid down the street from me growing up was autistic and he totally liked me. I didn't know people were as ignorant as that. Lol..

Rasho... Rashonda85

Why choose asperger kids to talk to?! Their extremely mild on the spectrum ...more kids are diagnosed with pdd nos and classic autism!

sjk43093 sjk43093

My fiance is autistic

Brenda Culver-Kramer

I was once asked if I was going to have my 6 year old daughter, fixed. I was shocked to say the least, diagnosed Autism non pervasive disorder at 3 she has come so far and is truly a loving person. She has feelings and understand who is true to her and treats her well. Don't be in such a hurry to rule these kids out for long term relationships.

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