Relationships can sometimes be challenging for people on the autism spectrum. In a new film coming out called 'Autism in Love' Director Matt Fuller and Producer Carolina Groppa look at the lives of 4 people with autism searching for love. Autism in Love will be playing at Tribecca April 16-18th which you can learn more about here. You can follow Autism in Love on Facebook and Twitter.
Autism Speaks Staffer Kerry Magro sat down with Matt and Carolina to discuss more about the topic of autism & relationships.
Kerry: First off, can you tell us a bit about how you get involved with the autism community?
Matt: Prior to directing Autism in Love, I didn’t have any involvement with the autism community. Now, I
have many close friends who are big part of the autism community.
Carolina: I had been working for a doctor in the autism field when the idea for the project was born, and despite working with Dr. Ira P. Heilveil, I knew nothing about autism as well before tackling producing this documentary. What was incredible is how quickly we were embraced by the community and how eager they were to share their stories with us. I am grateful to them for their trust in us and for their bravery.
Kerry: What's the most important thing you've learned about autism and relationships from your new film?
Matt: The thing I keep coming back to is that romantic love requires self-love. If we don’t love ourselves, and accept who we are, we’ll never find the romantic love we want and deserve. That’s especially difficult for many young adults with autism who really just want to fit in with their neurotypical peers.
Carolina: Yes, everything Matt said and also that everyone wants to connect on a deep level with another person, regardless of whatever label you’ve been given.
Kerry: Two years ago we had Arman Kohdaei, an adult on the autism spectrum who also appeared in Autism in Love write a blog about relationships for our website. In the piece he talks about his challenges but says, "to not give up and to seek true love." What do you think are some of the main challenges those on the spectrum deal with today when it comes to relationships?
Matt: I think the main challenges are expression of one’s feeling and desires. For many people, on and off the spectrum, it’s difficult to identify how we’re feeling and what we want in the context of a romantic relationship. More over, when considering someone else’s feelings, things can get complex very quickly.
Carolina: Matt nailed it.
Kerry: What piece of advice would you give for those who may be on the autism spectrum in terms of finding a relationship and hopefully down the line love?
Matt: The biggest piece of advice is to love yourself first. If you commit to that, the rest will fall into place.
Carolina: Yes, and after self love comes patience. Not everything happens when we want it to, and in my opinion, it’s usually for a good reason that has yet to reveal itself.
Kerry: What can we expect from you next?
Matt: Right now, we’re most excited to be premiering the film at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. This is the first time that the world will be seeing the film.
Carolina. Yeah, to have our world premiere at such a respected festival like Tribeca truly a dream and an honor. We are just so eager to share our labor of love with everyone!
Kerry who is also a national speaker and best-selling author joined Matt, Carolina and the Co-Founder of Spectrumsingles.com Olivia Cantu last week on HuffPost Live to discuss autism and relationships. You can watch the entire interview here. You can read more about Spectrumsingles.com on The Huffington Post here.