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20-11-2020 | Original Paper | Uitgave 9/2021

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 9/2021

‘At the End of the Day, It’s Love’: An Exploration of Relationships in Neurodiverse Couples

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders > Uitgave 9/2021
Auteurs:
Rachel Smith, Julie Netto, Nigel C. Gribble, Marita Falkmer
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Rachel Smith was a final year student enrolled in the Bachelor of Science (Occupational Therapy) Honors program at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia.

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Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Abstract

Most autistic people report challenges in initiating and developing intimate, long-term relationships. We used a phenomenological approach to interview thirteen people who were in a neurodiverse intimate relationship (where one partner had a diagnosis of autism) in order to explore the challenges and facilitators both neurotypical and autistic partners experienced. Analysis revealed that ND relationships progressed along similar pathways as non-ND relationships. Facilitators included the strength-based roles that each partner took on and the genuine support and care for each other. Challenges were reported in communication, difficulties reading and interpreting emotions, and idiosyncratic characteristics of the autistic partner. Strategies that both partners used to cope with these challenges and their perspectives of relationship-support services are also presented.

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