Aspiring Youth was recently asked to lead a discussion for King County Public Library. We are honored to have the privilege and are proud to send one of our lead facilitators, R. Boccamazzo PsyD, who wrote the below post:
“Given the prevalence of the autism diagnosis (1 in 68), this movie is for everyone.”
Frequently, I encounter individuals who believe that those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders have no interest in socializing. While the degree of interest varies widely from individual to individual, the truth is I have yet to encounter someone on the spectrum in either my personal life or psychology practice who has zero interest in socializing with other people.
The trouble is people on the autism spectrum do want contact with others, but it is often coupled with idiosyncratic rigidity about social rules and confusion about how other, more neuro-typical individuals socialize. Imagine being a long-time resident of a foreign country where you are still unclear on the local customs of behavior, or maybe even how to speak the language. You would likely be lonely, confused, anxious and pessimistic. This is how many of my clients view their social lives. They desperately wish to have the sort of relationships that others have, especially romantic, but are unsure how to achieve them. If they are achieved, maintaining those relationships is often a confusing, heartbreaking challenge where one partner does not understand the motivations of the other.
Nevertheless, the longing for human contact is there.
The universal need for love is the focus of the documentary Autism in Love, which will be screening for free on Saturday, December 5th at 2pm at the Bothell library north of Seattle. The film follows the lives of four people with autism diagnoses as they navigate the tumultuous waters of love across the lifespan. The film achieves a remarkable balance in shining a light on both the ups and the downs of relationships for its participants. It highlights the fact that, while they may have different ways of understanding and expressing it, all of the people in this film seek out love, companionship and acceptance. At the same time, the film does not shy away from presenting the significant challenges and struggles that the participants face as a result of their unique way of understanding the world.
Given the prevalence of the autism diagnosis (1 in 68), this movie is for everyone: teachers, parents, mental health clinicians, those on the autism spectrum and the general public. The odds are that you will eventually know someone on the autism spectrum at some point in your life, if you don’t already. Register for the free screening and following question and answer session.
Autism in Love Screening and Q&A
Where: Bothell library
When: 12/5/15 at 2pm
Cost: Free – register here
Dr. Boccamazzo is a doctor of clinical psychology and social skills coach with Aspiring Youth. Additionally, he has a private psychology practice in Bellevue offering individual therapy and psychological assessment to adolescents and adults, as well as parent and clinician trainings on technology in psychology. Much of his work focuses on high functioning autism, problematic technology usage, social anxiety, trauma, and schizophrenia. In his spare time, he enjoys acting, board games, video games, and weight lifting.