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Barbara Fischkin: Sex and the Single Young Man with Autism

Fall_in_loveLittle boys and girls grow up to become young adults. And suddenly Thomas the Tank Engine and Zoe Monster aren't quite as interesting as the cute boy or girl who sits near you in speech therapy. Read Barbara Fischkin's take on her son Danny's desire for a girlfriend from her Spectrum Publications blog HERE.

Dan wants a girlfriend.

That he has wanted one for a long time is not news to me or to anyone in our immediate family. It's not news to his teachers or his speech therapist or to the autism consultants who run Dan's public school program and asked about it in the first place several years ago. It's not news to a certain psychologist friend, who around the same time, brought it up and told me I'd have to do something about this.

Me? Why me? Click HERE to read and comment directly to Barbara.


Barbara Fischkin

Thanks so much, all of you, dear readers and dear friends.

I hope to write more on this. The sterlization issue is such a hard one for mothers' of girls. I appreciate learning about it. And of course, it affects Dan too.

I still think facebook is a great tool for introducing social skills of all kinds. I am amazed that it is the first augmentative communication "thing" that seems to really "spark" Dan in all kinds of ways.

Chantal, a great idea. A dating agency. (um, can we put someone else in charge?)

Ginger, You made me chuckle. Of course that is what I wrote. Many-a-day I am out there tra-la-laing through the flowers too.

xoxox to all B

chantal Sicile-Kira

I enjoy reading all your stories re your son. He sounds a lot like mine! It's an interesting age.... So are we going to start a dating service for our young adults on the spectrum? We've got to think of new ways to get them what they want and need... Who says people on the spectrum don;t want relationships?



From "across the pond":-

My late teens ASD daughter can't tolerate the sound of crying babies (it can trigger a panic-stricken shrieking meltdown) so, in one sense, I hope she doesn't make the transition to seeking boyfriends for a few years yet. She's still a "tomboy" at the stage of wanting pet animals etc. and, with her developmental stages lasting longer than is usual, she may not reach the boyfriend stage for some time, if ever.

We don't know where her voyage to adulthood will take her - it's a little like attempting a round-the-world trip on a sailing boat with no GPS/satnav and there are very few maps or guides to help us. Few professionals seem to have come across our daughter's mixture of ability and disability. We are venturing through uncharted waters or "terra incognita" as mariners described it on old maps.

My grateful thanks to Barbara for "mentioning the unmentionable" in such a non-inflammatory way.

N.B. Maybe five(?) years a well-meaning relative suggested that I should have my daughter sterilised before she reached sixteen (I don't know if this would have been even possible where we live). I declined this kindly-meant suggestion on the grounds that I had no way of knowing what the future would bring and didn't want to deprive my daughter of the possibility of having a child in, say, her thirties.

Ginger Taylor


I am writing to tell you have have not and will not read this article. I am happy in the denial that we will ever have to deal with such topics.

The great thing about autism is that they always stay children and never have to deal with complicated issues like love and sex.

I am pretty sure that this is what you wrote in your article.

Going outside to pick some flowers now... la la la la....

K Fuller Yuba City

At 16 our son is more than a little intrigued by the girls. Right now we are struggling with explaining that these girls are being kind to him, but really have no interest in being his *girlfriend*
The girlfriend and sexuality issue may well prove to be the most complicated issue we will face with our son's Autism issue. So far we have exempted him from Sex Ed. as he has no ability to filter appropriate use of the vocabulary that comes along with Sex ed. It is sad for all of our children affected by Autism, that the desire for companionship and human contact is there, but may never be satisfied.
I guess we should celebrate the fact that this is one developmental milestone that is right at age level! HA!

Anne Dachel

My son is 22 and he often says, "Mom,
I want to have a girlfriend." I too have promoted the Internet as a means to find someone.
We are seeing the generation of children with autism entering adulthood. I can't predict the future, but I'm hopeful.
I was the one who said,
"John's going to learn to talk,"
"John's going to ride in an elevator,"
"John's going to fly in an airplane,"
"John's going to get his driver's license."
And he did them all.
I don't actually remember specifically how I pulled off any of those impossible tasks--I know I felt like I had landed on the moon each time. Each one was the achievement of a lifetime for me.
I've always said, "John, you can do anything!" So, if John wants a girlfriend, John will find a girlfriend.
Anne Dachel
Media editor

Maurine Meleck

You write with such honesty about every subject and never miss a beat. Thank you for being such an important voice for the autism community.

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