Netflix recently premiered a 5-part reality series titled Love on the Spectrum. Navigating dating, romance, relationships and sexuality is challenging for any young adult. Adding autism into the mix makes things more complicated. This series explores the challenges that arise as adults with autism navigate this part of their lives. Love on the Spectrum is an opportunity for neurotypicals to better understand adults with autism. It aims to foster empathy and understanding. Viewers will end the series feeling invested in the lives of its stars and wanting to know more. The series allows its subjects to tell their own stories and gives them control over the situations that they are in, offering real insight into their experiences. Each episode draws on a range of emotions in its viewers. We see the struggles that these young adults face, but we also witness their successes. Viewers may tear up with compassion as one star shares their sadness over dating struggles but will tear up with joy during another star’s proposal.
Organizations might be interested in paying close attention to the role of Jodi Rogers in the series. Jodi is introduced as a relationship specialist who works with individuals with autism. In her own words she explains dating on the spectrum as, “Look, it’s not for everybody, which is the case in the general population as well, but what I’ve found is that once people on the spectrum hit adolescence and early adulthood, they desperately want those relationships. The difficulties they’ve had weren’t for lack of warmth but the complex social skills needed to develop and maintain those relationships.” She speaks to the need for agencies to support these types of relationships by fostering the skills needed for healthy dating. Jodi works with several of the show’s stars by helping them navigate the world of romance. As agencies we can learn from her approach and work towards supporting healthy relationships and sexuality in the individuals we are serving.
Whether you are looking for a model of relationship support, want to learn more about relationships on the spectrum or are seeking validation of your own journey, Love on the Spectrum is worth the watch.