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Autism/My son, Asperger's syndrome and dating


We have a 25 year old son with Asperger's Syndrome, who has two older sisters, 32 and 36 years old. He enjoys life, has a job he likes which he does 3 days a week, works in a shop which sells various things - a family-run business, repairing and cleaning equipment for them. He does have a sort of social life, socialising with the owner and his friends, going out for meals/drinks with them, on trips out with them, there's no annoying co-worker situations etc. due to where he works and it being a small business.
However, he said to us on Wednesday that he wants help in finding a girlfriend, and we were suggesting some activities to him, but my husband recognized our son isn't very sporting.
My husband suggested our son join a dating agency / introduction agency. He said he'd done his research and thought that the advantages were it was better than online dating, people's profiles are screened, and although the cost is high (£400 + for one membership fee), he said he'd pay on a preloaded credit card and not use a normal credit card, and he thinks they'd understand our son's needs. Our son has never really gotten very far with relationships, only friendships, he is friends with women, but they're mainly 30+, and his friends are mainly married/engaged so little chance of meeting a partner there; but he really enjoys his job and his friends.

I'm not so sure, not in a this-is-a-bad-thing kind of way, just because I don't know much about it.

He likes his job, enjoys his life, he just says he wants to have someone other than his sisters to share it with.

What would you advise, and is my husband going the right way about it?

I'll admit, this area relating to Asperger's is not something I know much about; my knowledge comes mainly from books, like Tony Attwood's one and Patricia Howlin's ones.

Hello there, Sandra!

My first part of the whole thing is a counter question: what is this agency that they would A) cost that much and B) understand your son's difficulties? Have you actually taken time to talk to the people involved with it? have you taken time to research it? That's a lot of money to be losing if things go wrong, and they do not understand your son's social difficulties. This is only a caution from me; not a definite 'Don't do it'. Research, basically. Make *sure* before you spend it.

My second question: have you talked with your *son* about the introduction site? What are *his* thoughts on the agency for getting himself a partner? Remember: this is *his* relationship that you are working toward, so whether or not he has Asperger's, *he* needs to have input in the whole thing. So how does *he* feel about the possibility of being put through a site like that?

I don't disagree with the need to have a partner, for the record. I think that it is a good idea, and while I personally wouldn't consider 'online dating' to be the be-all and end-all (you eventually need to meet someone face to face!), I *am* strongly in favor of it being a good point to look for things. Likewise, agencies and groups can be very helpful toward finding people as well. I am just concerned that there are so many duds out there, and that as I said, that's a lot of money to be spending on a 'maybe'. I would definitely do your homework on the place and involve your son before making the final decision.

Now, you mention your boy isn't sporty. Well, what *is* he? What sort of things *is* he into? Because if he's not into sporting, consider looking into getting him involved in things he *is* into. Is he a gamer? Maybe see if there are local video game groups in the area, or let him get involved with group play. Is he interested in acting? Have him take occasional theatre trips and get involved in a local community theatre. Is he interested in comic books or anime? See about local conventions that he might feel comfortable at. Finding one's soulmate is easier done when one is involved with people they're interested in!

For the record, if I have misunderstood your use of the word 'sporting', blame my Canadian upbringing. :)

Hopefully those suggestions were some help! Further comments, questions, feedback, and follow-ups are always welcome if anything else needs to be asked (or misunderstandings corrected!)



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Trey McGowan


My primary expertise is in the area of the social, psychological, and mental development of Aspergers Syndrome and other high-functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorders. I am also very knowledgeable in the communication disorders and common co-existing issues. I'm well-read on most of these as well as having experienced it myself. Other aspects of autism, I can do fairly well at as well, from the oversensitivity to the recognition of it.

Warning: I am *not* a medical professional, and while I can research answers through books and online, I can not give direct medical expertise.


I am diagnosed Asperger's/ASD since 1993, and have been reading up and studying it, as well as taking 'first hand accounts' for most of those years. In addition, I have had three children, adopted elsewhere, all of whom are varying degrees of autistic from mid to high functioning. My mother has done some research on the subject as well, and passed some of it on to me.

I have completed grade school and most of high school, and achieved a GED. I've also received home schooling.

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