Navigating the World of Relationships in Teens and Young Adults with Autism and LD
Home BlogCollege Internship Program – CIPNavigating the World of Relationships in Teens and Young Adults with Autism and LD
no image

Navigating the World of Relationships in Teens and Young Adults with Autism and LD

Dating and Relationships CIP

Three Concepts that Constitute a Healthy Relationship:

An Outline for Young Adults with Autism & Learning Differences

by Jolene Liang, CIP Long Beach

Enjoying time with friends and/or intimate partners is an integral part of life and a way for many of us to feel connected to each other. Identifying, maintaining and learning how to develop close relationships is greatly emphasized during young adulthood where friendships may align or misalign with the changing social environments starting from high school to college and eventually into independent life. This is a challenging landscape and can be particularly difficult for young adults that have difficulties understanding the always changing social environment.

We spoke to several CIP Long Beach students about their relationships, what makes them work, and what they’re finding important to focus and work on. The following quotes all come from current CIP students.

Read the blog post here.

The Five Stages of Friendship

Adapted from the Autism & Learning Differences: An Active Learning Teaching Toolkit

This chart helps explain the stages, which are shown as concentric circles that starts with #5 (strangers) and works through the stages of relationships to #1 (self-intimacy).

The Five Stages of Friendships

Our Autism & LD Teaching Toolkit contains more than 500 pages of resources, lessons, guides, and activities that teach essential skills for life, school, work, and independent living. The toolkit presents tried-and-true strategies that address difficulties with social skills and Executive Function, cognitive rigidity, self-esteem issues, and more for young adults with autism learning differences.

Learn more about the Toolkit here.

Coming Out to Your Parents

What to Consider if Your Sexuality or Gender Identity Differs from Your Parents’ Belief System

by Jodi Pierce, CIP Brevard

Parents of young adults on the spectrum may be from a generation where relationship roles are more conventional or traditional. Heterosexuality and clear gender identity may be the norm for their age group, and for their expectations in their adult children. But as we’ve learned with our students, their friends, and our community and the world at large, there is a continuum of sexuality and many different types and variations of such. If young adults identify themselves as different from their parents’ expectations, it can cause anxiety and conflict. Communication and patience are the keys for setting up the best possible situation for acceptance and support.

Parents can experience a range of emotions when reacting to the emerging sexuality in their teen and young adult children. Don’t ask or expect them to be an emotional resource if their belief system doesn’t mesh with non-traditional sexual preferences. Lean elsewhere for support if you know your parents will struggle. As you show confidence in your decision, you are also showing responsibility and self-reliance, qualities that any parent wants to see when their kids make big strides in growing up. 

Read the blog post here.




This has been a special needs program update from Asperger’s & LD College Programs. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.