Watching your adult child get ready to start dating is an emotional experience for any parent, but for parents of children with special needs, it can be much more stressful. If your teen or young adult has autism, Down’s syndrome, or any other developmental disability, the idea of your child dating has probably caused at least a few sleepless nights. This list of tips will help you get your child ready to use a special needs dating website and prepare him for that first big date or budding romance.
Creating an Honest and Fun Profile
One of the great reasons to use a special needs dating website, like Special Bridge, is that there is no stigma attached to revealing the nature of a developmental disability. Since everyone on the site has similar issues, you and your child can focus on writing a profile that shows off a great personality. Be open and honest, and allow your child’s voice to come through on the profile. He can talk about favorite hobbies, books, or movies that help to show his personality. It should be in his words, not yours, but it is OK to help with difficult parts of the writing.
Searching for a Match
Luckily, a special needs dating website like Special Bridge is designed to help your child find people with similar disabilities and life experiences. While searching for a potential match, you can look for people with the same type of developmental disorders and ability levels to help improve the odds of finding a successful match. Beyond that, you should have a conversation with your child about what he finds attractive. This may be awkward for some parents, but it is important to remember that every person, regardless of disability, has certain attributes that they prefer when looking for a partner. The one thing you don’t want to do is choose someone you think your child should date without regards to his feelings.
Teenagers and young adults with special needs who are new to dating are bound to run into a few disappointments. You and your child should have a conversation about what to expect from interactions on the dating site. Not everyone will be a match, and you need to prepare your child for the possibility of rejection. Having a conversation about how people don’t always get along with each other can help your child to process the feelings that come along with unrequited feelings. Remind your child that it is perfectly normal to feel sad or upset, but that he will eventually find someone who makes him happy.
Communicating for the First Time
Once your child has found someone to connect with, those first few online messages might be difficult. Depending on your child’s verbal and written skills, he may have some difficulty writing messages to his new friend. You should remind him that he can take as long as he needs to when writing a response. Many of the people on a special needs dating website have similar speech and language delays, and no one will judge a slow response time.
Getting Ready for the First Date
When your child meets someone online that he wants to pursue a relationship with in real life, you can help him to prepare in a number of ways. You may want to contact the other child’s parent or guardian to set up a time and place that you can both chaperone the first date. Shopping for a new outfit is another way to make the first date experience exciting. It’s great to be excited and helpful, but remember to ask for permission to help; being too involved may hurt your child’s sense of independence.
Encouraging your teenaged or adult child with special needs to start looking for new friendships or romantic relationships can help to foster a sense of independence while fulfilling your child’s emotional needs. A special needs dating website like Special Bridge helps your child to meet like-minded people to create a fulfilling social life that is appropriate for his ability level.