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On Your Radar: Autism in Love
by Karen Pecota

The feature length documentary by filmmaker Matt Fuller looks at adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Fuller's film specifically explores the journey these adults take to find and navigate romantic relationships.

We are introduced to five adults who share their love story. The ups and downs. The Joys. They've been brought up to live as though the word disability or disorder does not exist in their vocabulary. They are encouraged to love life as their know how.

Lenny is a single, young adult looking for love but his path is complicated. His difficulty is accepting himself with the disorder. He shares about his denial. His reality-check makes him insecure which hinders him from meeting and dating women. An issue nearly impossible for him to overcome.

Dave and Lindsey have been together for eight years. They have reached a turning point in their relationship. A decision is necessary for them to either part ways or decide that in spite of their differences they will choose to accept their state of dissimilar. To see it as a virtue in their relationship. A challenge worthy for a successful marriage.

Stephen and Gita have been married twenty years. Their journey is faced with Gita's battle with ovarian cancer. It's terminal. Stephen's autism affects his speech so their communication has its limits. Gita's love and understanding of Stephen is so unconditional, as is his for her. Their commitment to one another is precious and at times comical. Very routine. But, they have spent years adjusting to each other and their unique circumstances. More power to them!

Listening to each parent share their journey and altered dreams for their child is beyond compelling. To sense the depth of their struggle and often feel their pain and disappointment is heartbreaking. The amazing ways they have overcome the obstacles as parents in support of their children is just as gripping.

Fuller hopes that his film Autism in Love will help his audience ponder over their own ideas of what it means to love and be loved. Fuller says, "It (his film) is an opportunity to inform and open  up an otherwise underexposed world." He continues, "I believe the marriage of these two worlds, autism & love, has a nearly infinite power to educate, compel and move audiences regardless of their background."

The tenderness and sincerity revealed from each of Fuller's subjects, as they share their own connection to love, is in part due to the fabulous editing job by Alex OFlinn. His sensitivity to  their stories was key to bringing out the message Fuller, and co-producer Carolina Groppa wanted the audience to hear and feel. The non-autistic world has something to learn from Lenny, Dave, Lindsey, Stephen and Gita about the value of loving relationships that last in Autism in Love.