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Scotland-wide research on people with learning disabilities, which includes some adults with ASD, produced similar findings.
Three quarters of people interviewed were not in relationships and reported significant barriers to achieving this (Scottish Government 2000, SCLD 2006).
Autism-specific research on Sexual Health and Relationships is limited but the evidence available to date indicates that adults with ASD are more likely to be unmarried and isolated, and experience difficulties with social relationships, mental health issues and a poor quality of life.
Only 15% of people with ASD report having had a sexual or romantic relationship and only 25% have at least one close friend (Howlin and Moss 2012).
It is important for people with ASD to experience Friendship and learn social skills before they move in to a Relationship:o Match4Me is a dating service run by ENABLE in Forth Valley that helps people with a learning disability to find a partner.
It also helps to prepare people for Relationships by offering Educational sessions in dating skills including; holding a conversation, boundaries, appropriate behaviour, the Law and consent, real life v fantasy (dangers of pornography), choosing a suitable partner, respect and responsibility, abuse, intimacy and sex, contraception and where to get help. A Survey of what Matters Most to People with Learning Disabilities in Scotland Today, Scotland: Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability and ENABLE Scotland, available here Howlin, P and Moss, P. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 57, 5 , 275-283 quoted in Hartman, D (2014) Sexuality and Relationship Education for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London The Scottish Government (2000) The Same As You?
We should also remember that a person may not want a relationship now, but may do so in the future.
Or, worse, chatting for ages, and then seeing them immediately unmatching after they see your photo.Under the National Care standard 16, carers and services have a duty of care with regards to Relationships ; “Staff recognise that your sexuality and sexual needs and preferences are important to you.They accept and support your right to have intimate relationships that you have consented to in the privacy of your home and if it is legal to do so.”Here are some useful tips on putting Sexual Health and Relationships on the agenda for the people you care for;• Even if the person has had Relationships & Sexual Health Education at school, they will need to recap (or completely re-learn) this information as adults.To get pieces of the profile picture revealed, you have to say messages that are worthy of the other person’s like.If your messages earn 50 likes, you get to see their profile photo.