Healthy Relationships Virtual Course for Adults on the Spectrum

July 31, 2023

Classes Are Designed to Help Adults with ASD Struggling with Dating and Making Friends

A new virtual course called HEARTS, or Healthy Relationships on the Autism Spectrum, has been designed for adults with autism who struggle with dating and making friends due to hidden nuances related to their diagnosis. A professor and chair of occupational therapy at the College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College, Emily Rothman, developed the course using funding from a National Institutes of Health grant.  Each HEARTS course is six weeks long and consists of weekly 90-minute online classes. The classes cover topics like active listening, recognizing abusive or controlling relationships, setting boundaries, reconnecting with old friends, and dealing with rejection and trying again. The course is taught by an instructor on the spectrum and a neurotypical co-teacher trained in domestic and sexual violence prevention. The pilot classes began in 2020 and have been open to any person with autism aged 18 and over. Feedback from students who participated in HEARTS has been overwhelmingly positive, and Rothman is currently conducting a three-year randomized control trial to assess the curriculum’s impact and feasibility. Participants for this trial must live in the United States, have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder from a professional and be willing to participate in a randomized six-week online HEARTS class or a six-week online support group in addition to the HEARTS class. Participants will receive up to $300 for their participation. 

Original Article

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons