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While Paulette doesn't necessarily think women with autism have it easier than men, she has noticed that her neuro-typical dates have particularly valued many of her autistic traits.
“I’ve found that people who are neuro-typical really appreciate the qualities that people on the spectrum posses: complete honesty and almost an inability to lie,” she said.
The former Miss America system contestant and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music-trained opera singer knew she had a different conception of romance than her previous boyfriends had and, for that matter, everyone else.“People tend to think of romance as spur of the moment and exciting,” she told me.
“I think of romance as things that make sense and are logical.” However, she didn't know why until this year when, at the age of 31, when she was diagnosed with autism.
However, both sexes on the spectrum struggle equally with the fear of rejection.
Since so much of dating for adults with autism is trial by error, the risk of mistakes, and often embarrassing ones, is high.
There are a whole other set of things you have to deal with.”While he didn't have PEERS to guide him, in college, Plank studied guys who were always successful at picking up girls and started mimicking their behaviors.For example, while a "neuro-typical" person might think a bar is great place for a first date, it could be one of the worst spots for someone on the spectrum.Dorsey Massey, a social worker who helps run dating and social programs for adults with various intellectual disabilities, explained, “If it's a loud, crowded place, an individual on the spectrum may be uncomfortable or distracted.” Sensory issues may also make certain lights and noises especially unpleasant.“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 are also specifically instructed how to smile and for how long, since “another common mistake is to smile really big rather than giving a slight smile,” said Laugeson.“A big smile can also be frightening.”Neuro-typical people often take flirting for granted as a fairly organic, coy, and even fun back-and-forth, but for someone with autism, it is really a complex, nonsensical interaction. It seems like a waste of time,” said Plank, who worked on with Laugeson to teach his Wrong Planet community members how to flirt.
“Yet those feelings may be invisible to outsiders because we don't show them.