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American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Conference

PBS Broadcast

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Autistic adults navigate the challenges of dating and romantic relationships
Disability Studies • Psychology • Sociology • Human Development • Human Sexuality
2015. Director/Producer Matt Fuller. Producer Carolina Groppa. Executive Producer Ira Heilveil.
75 Minutes. In English with English Subtitles. Transcript available upon request.


AUTISM IN LOVE is a highly acclaimed documentary that explores the experiences of four adults on the autism spectrum as they search for love and romance. In 2014, the Center for Disease Control announced that in the U.S., 1 in every 68 children could be identified as being on the autism spectrum. Rarely do we hear about about what happens once these kids with autism grow up. What happens when children with autism become adults with autism and want to have lives of their own and find love? AUTISM IN LOVE seamlessly answers these questions with candor and sensitivity. It gives its often marginalized subjects an unprecedented platform to speak for themselves as they navigate perhaps the most fundamental human experience - the experience of love. Through multidimensional and nuanced storytelling, this educational documentary encourages all of us to challenge our assumptions and enriches our understanding of love.

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Reviews & Quotes

"A truly thought-provoking documentary, simultaneously uplifting and devastatingly honest. Valuable to those on the autism spectrum, their caretakers, and all who work with them."

Video Librarian ★★★

Aud: C, P. (C. Cassady)

"Filmmaker Matt Fuller’s sensitive documentary examines three individuals on the autism spectrum and their approaches (or lack of) to romantic relationships. St. Paul-based Stephen was in a 20-year marriage with a more outgoing autistic woman, Gita; now she is suffering from terminal cancer, and—as Stephen watches game shows with his elderly parents—it is somewhat uncertain how much he relates to his impending loss. In Los Angeles, jobless, sports-trivia-spouting Lenny has only vague and largely inappropriate contact with the opposite sex. He is so lonely that, at one point during a breakdown, the film crew weeps along with him. Virginia-based Lindsay and Dave (a scientist)—cohabiting for eight years—are so high-functioning that it is difficult to imagine either one as disabled (Dave even asks that the camera not intrude on their more intimate moments, making him more sensible than many so-called normal interviewees). But Lindsay is uneasy over Dave’s longstanding refusal to commit to a formal engagement. No white lab-coated experts are on hand here to preside over the dramas (although parents seemingly parrot the words of doctors). The sweet but decidedly fuzzy lesson is that autistic adults can form permanent domestic partnerships—except for those who can’t. Recommended."

"As Fuller’s touching film demonstrates, there’s ample hope for those on the spectrum to build a steady, loving relationship. As Wang puts it, “the most important message is that people with autism both love, and want to be loved.”

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