March 11, 2015

Dating with Asperger’s: A new documentary follows a lonely Aspie’s search for love

Asperger's syndrome can make dating a challenge, but loneliness proves more a debilitating hurdle in this new film

David Matthews in "Aspie Seeks Love"
This review was written by Matthew Rozsa, who is a high-functioning autistic, and Liskula Cohen, who is not, so that it could incorporate both perspectives.

There is a universality to the suffering captured in “Aspie Seeks Love,” a new documentary by Julie Sokolow that premiered at Cinequest over the weekend. As it chronicles its protagonist’s dogged attempts to enter a successful romantic relationship, the film reveals an agenda much deeper than discussing Asperger’s syndrome or the broader autistic spectrum. At its heart, “Aspie Seeks Love” is a parable about loneliness — a condition which afflicts everyone at some point in their lives and for far too many proves incurable.

That’s the fate David B. Matthews, the titular Aspie, spends the bulk of the film trying to avoid. A Pennsylvania writer and artist who wasn’t diagnosed with AS until he was 41, Matthews possesses all of the tell-tale signs of high-functioning autism — remarkable intelligence, social awkwardness, a wealth of personality tics and other idiosyncrasies. Occasionally a viewer might feel like the film is making him appear more eccentric than he really is (the questioning about his masturbation practices was certainly intrusive and unnecessary), but for the most part Sokolow’s subject comes across as disarmingly relatable. MORE >

March 7, 2015

Autism advocate Temple Grandin: 'Old-fashioned '50s parenting' can help kids

Temple Grandin
By Sue Thoms | 

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - Temple Grandin, a professor and author who has autism, called for a bit of old-fashioned 1950s-style parenting to teach social skills and help children develop their talents.

"I'm seeing too many smart kids get hung up on their autism. They are fixated on that. We've got to build on their strengths," said Grandin, speaking Friday, March 6, at the Michigan Council for Exceptional Children Conference at the Amway.

Grandin, who grew up in the 1950s, said the expectations and social rules she learned in childhood can help children stretch themselves and develop work skills.