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Online dating, she says, helps her get over her nerves.“A lot of times people on the spectrum, when they talk, either their face or their vocal tone is kind of wooden.
Over the years, he’s tried dating sites like the Canada-based Lava Life and Australia’s RSVP, but he found his most recent long-term relationship on Facebook.“In 2008, I met a female on the autism spectrum in the United States,” Burge says.
“That became sort of a long distance relationship for a while, and that collapsed due to the immigration difficulties.”Despite having some success in online dating, Burge isn’t optimistic about finding a partner.“I’ve got to the stage where I just find the whole concept of dating and relationships is just simply overwhelming,” Burge says.
“It’s important to know that those differences are there.”Wendy Katz, who works for a nonprofit in Louisville, Kentucky, met her ex-husband online, and after her divorce eight years later, she’s dating again.
Diagnosed at 17, Katz has no problem being social, but she says it’s a daily practice.
“I don’t think there’s any future in that direction for me.”Jeremy Hamburgh is a New York-based dating coach for both neurotypical people and people with disabilities.
He’s a for those who can hardly flirt, and he spends hours hiding behind book shelves and potted plants in bars and restaurants as his clients attempt to initiate conversation, then offers feedback later.
The social stigma of ASD is something that Hussein and others grapple with regularly.
After a few hours of setting up his dating profile, Hussein shuts his computer and gets ready for bed, leaving his door slightly open.
He can hear a song on the radio and play it note for note on the piano. For people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, it’s an alternative to picking up people at bars or parties and risking potential in-person rejection.
Garry Burge is 41, lives with his parents in Brisbane, Australia, and was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in 1998.
“I’m trying to not be shy about it.”Hussein, though, has reservations about mentioning his condition to his potential prospects.“At the moment I don’t want to reveal that I have Asperger’s because some people who are already on Ok Cupid will think that ‘this person has a disability,’” he says.