Exposure’s Max Ferreira reviews the Undateables TV show and explains how autistic youngsters like himself benefit from socialising
When my mum told is different from each other. But me about a TV programme called The Undateables, I was unsure whether I would like it or not. But after watching one episode I realised that this unique show is beneficial to people like myself to motivate us to become more sociable.
The Undateables is about how young people with learning disabilities can escape loneliness and start forming a relationship with someone for the first time or in a long while. Young people sign up to a dating agency where they are helped to meet the right person.
For example, in season six, 23-year-old Sam has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. Sam has been on a few dates with girls, but has never been on a second date with any of them.
Sam was introduced to Amy who also has autism. They met at a pub for a drink and a simple conversation,without rushing into becoming boyfriend and girlfriend straight away. Then they had fun at a nearby trampoline centre.
Overall Sam’s date was a success and he even arranged to meet Amy again, this time going for a meal.
What I like about The Undateables is that it addresses how every vulnerable young person is different from each other. But also they have the same feelings, wanting to find love and be with someone trustworthy who has charm and empathy.
According to Scope’s Independent. Confident. Connect- ed. report: “Connecting with friends, family and other disabled people is seen as a strong enabler of independent living, having a sense of self- worth and feeling valued.”
This means when someone with a disability spends more time with young people they are familiar with,they gain confidence and experience when it comes to teamwork or social interactions.
In my experience of autism, I have struggled to make friends and fit in with other people in my school days. This is because I was worried about being bullied or doing tasks that were too difficult for me.
But now, as a young adult, I have been making the effort to be with people my age. I am currently trying to stay in contact with people I’ve recently met and hopefully arrange to meet up somewhere to eat or do a fun activity, like bowling.
I recommend The Undateables to anyone with autism and learning conditions to understand about how people like us can be around others and start forming a relationship with someone new, with help and guidance.
For young people with special needs here are some tips about relationships and spending time with new people. They are based on my own experiences and tips from Ambitious About Autism
• Be confident and enjoy yourself
• Don’t overthink or stress out about what could happen
• Learn more about the person you meet by asking questions, like what their interests are
• Show good eye contact
• Respect their needs, personal space and beliefs
• Don’t make unkind comments on someone’s appearance
• In a conversation stay on topic and don’t interrupt the other person
• Avoid asking sensitive questions about someone’s personal life, (e.g. how much they earn), until you know them better
• Don’t be too generous, e.g. lending money
• Do activities that you both enjoy and are comfortable with
• When meeting someone online avoid making jokes, which can be taken the wrong way.
To find out more about autism: Visit ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk