Dating help programs to be unveiled at Scottish autism conference

Scotland – A conference being held on Wednesday March 25 will contain presentations from Belgium and the Netherlands on their new programs aimed at helping people on the spectrum form better relationships.

One of the presenters Peter Vermeulen, who runs Belgium’s Autism Central, told news outlet The Herald that:

“We are starting to have people with autism in their 50s and 60s and there is nothing for them. And what about supporting women who are married to people with autism – that is a big challenge for the future,”

adding that when people picture autism, they usually picture kids, not the adults who need just as much understanding and help.

Currently in Belgium there are courses on relationships for people on the spectrum and courses for their spouses. There are also courses on sexual education that, according Vermeulen, contains pornographic imagery that is shocking the public. Vermeulen contends that it has to be graphic because it helps people on the spectrum better understand the subject. He then continued to argue that being on the spectrum is like visiting a foreign culture.

“If there is one area where there are no fixed meanings at all, it is social interaction and relationships,” he told The Herald

Director of development for the charity Scottish Autism Charlene Tait commented to The Herald that many people off the spectrum assume that those on don’t want relationships.

“There are a lot of myths about people with autism, that they do not interact or relate or do not want these things, but most of the people I have met really, really do.”

There is hope. One Scottish scientist used his own experiences of being on the spectrum and formulated a study that suggests people with autism can learn the meanings behind body language and gestures.

Source: The Herald Scotland website: Call to help adults with autism and their partners

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