A mixed-neurological intimate adult relationship is a relationship between a person with high-functioning autism and a typically developing person. Typically developing people are people who don’t have autism or another developmental disorder. In a nutshell, high-functioning autism is autism (or ASD) without cognitive or language impairment.
Many people with high-functioning autism will marry and have successful careers.
Chances are that some of the high-level employees in your workplace have high-functioning autism. They can be doctors, surgeons, data analysts, financial analysts, IT professionals, programmers, physicists… you name it. Those who are able to find employment within their niche interests are often able to contribute unique skills to the workforce. And not all people with high-functioning autism in the workforce are in exceptionally high-level jobs. In most cases, their colleagues will not be aware that they have ASD. Your colleague in the next cubical could have ASD and you wouldn’t necessarily know it.
Autism has a genetic component and sometimes people with high-functioning autism aren’t themselves aware that they might be on the spectrum until a family member, usually a child, is diagnosed. In some families, one parent and one or more children have ASD.
High-functioning autism is easier to recognize in children than adults and until the last twenty years or so, most children with high-functioning autism went without the advantage of a diagnosis. These children used their intellect and their resourcefulness to develop compensatory strategies on their own. By the time they reached adulthood, those strategies masked the most obvious signs of ASD.
Often, neither they nor their current intimate partners knew about the autism when their intimate relationships began.
Intimate adult relationships between typically developing adults and adults on the autism spectrum are mixed relationships because the partners are neurologically dissimilar in a manner that affects their communication and social interactions. Intimate adult relationships are commonly accepted as the most important relationships of one’s lifetime and successful communication and social enjoyment are critical to adults’ satisfaction within them.
Currently partners in mixed-neurological relationships have few resources to help them navigate their differing communication styles. In fact, there is scant acknowledgment that mixed-neurological relationships even exist and few resources to assist professionals in working with them.
Most of us have heard of mixed-orientation relationships and mixed-faith relationships and the difficulties that arise between partners who navigate these differences. It is less common to consider the friction that may occur when the incompatibility between partners is neurological.
My programs provide information, strategies, resources and support for typically developing members of mixed-neurological relationships and their partners.