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What I Loved About 'Love on the Spectrum' as Someone With Autism

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The docuseries “Love on the Spectrum,” which originally aired in Australia in 2019 and just premiered on Netflix this week, looks at seven singles and two couples, all who are on the autism spectrum navigating the dating world. This isn’t the first time Netflix has brought up the topic of love, as they not too long ago had the documentary “Autism in Love” streaming on their platform.

Growing up with autism, one of the most difficult challenges for me was finding meaningful relationships. Barriers such as having trouble understanding the perspectives of others and some other social challenges made dating challenging. It was tough at times because I couldn’t find any resources to help me out. Because of these challenges, I decided to write a book on my journey trying to find love on the autism spectrum called “Autism and Falling in Love,” and today as part of my mentoring work offer dating advice to my mentees so they don’t feel alone like I sometimes did.

I find this series vital to starting a larger conversation about dating in the adult autism world. While topics like employment, postsecondary, housing and guardianship often get the spotlight, dating falls through the cracks too often in these conversations. Based on the challenges I faced in my 20s, I truly resonated with many of the individuals filmed in this series.

Warning: spoilers ahead

Throughout the five episodes of Season 1, you get to follow these individuals’ journeys as they do things such as going on dates, celebrating anniversaries, interacting with family and getting helpful dating advice from relationship coaches. Here are some things I absolutely loved about the show…

The Authenticity of the Cast

As someone who is a full-time public speaker, I can’t tell you how uneasy I feel at times when I’m being recorded. Here, you can tell each of the cast members are being their unique self. At times, when a situation may be challenging for a member of the cast, they ask for the camera to go off of them for a minute and everyone behind the scenes is fine with that. A challenge I often hear from mentees is having to “mask” some of their autism characteristics because they want to “fit in with the crowd.” This doesn’t seem to be the case for any of the cast on the show

The Inclusion of LGBTQ Cast Members

Along with dating, issues that are impacting those with autism who also are LGBTQ also seem to fall through the cracks. For example, Chloe is looking for love regardless of gender. It was refreshing to see the spotlight here for a change.

The Producers

When I first saw that there were only going to be five episodes, I was concerned that it may not feel like a complete docuseries…

That luckily wasn’t the case.

I love that the series focused on topics such as the significance the family dynamic can have, social skills, dating tips, that autism is a spectrum where if you’ve met one individual with autism, you’ve met one individual with autism, and tackling the misconception that those with autism lack empathy

Overall, I’d recommend this show without reservations. I applaud the creators and the wonderful cast (Michael is hilarious and steals the show!) for being so open to have their lives filmed. Fingers crossed this brilliant series gets renewed for another season!

You can watch “Love on the Spectrum” on Netflix here.

Screenshot via Netflix on Youtube

Originally published: July 22, 2020
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