Dating for parents of autistic children

Isolated in worlds of their own, people with autism appear indifferent and remote and are unable to form emotional bonds with others.

Although people with this baffling brain disorder can display a wide range of symptoms and disability, many are incapable of understanding other people’s thoughts, feelings, and needs.

The Center for Autism Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) also hosts or sponsors training programs for professionals, retailers, and community groups.

“It’s a growing area of interest as the rates [of autism] are increasing,” said Judith Miller, a psychologist at CHOP.

They may also fear going to a dentist or eye doctor or being on a crowded bus or at a busy airport.

Autism is a developmental disability that causes problems with social, emotional, and communication skills.

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Children with autism do not follow the typical patterns of child development.

Jefferson is leading a program that trains medical students at Jefferson and Wills Eye Hospital on the subtleties of caring for an autistic patient.

For example, when children need eye drops, they should be allowed to feel the drops on their hands first, she said.

At Wiggle Worms, Ferguson lets autistic children play with a massaging tool that mimics the feeling of the clippers that will be used on their heads.

“It’s a distraction,” said Ferguson, 44, who shares her techniques with other stylists.

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