Connie Painter has been a teacher for 25 years. She taught special needs that whole time. She went back to school and received her Master's Degree in Autism Studies. Eight years ago she began her journey as a business owner. She works alongside the Autism Society and Hope Academy. She loves what she does. Making a difference in a person's life means so much to Connie Painter.
Connie Painter is hosting a dating seminar for autistic adolescents & young adults on May 22nd in Mauldin, SC from noon - 5pm EST.
You can find more information about Shining Stars Tutoring at https://www.facebook.com/shiningstarstutoring/
dating, meet, students, rigidity, safe manner, person, shining stars, rote memory, people, malden, online, autism, scary, work, chris hanson, summertime, kids, part, tinder, stars
Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the autism and action podcast. I'm Tosha Rollins. And
I'm Chris Hanson.
And we're excited today we've got another very special guest for you guys. We've got Miss Connie painter with the shining stars tutoring center out of Malden, South Carolina. Welcome to the show, Connie.
Hi, how are you?
Good, good. I'm so glad that you could take time to be here. Today, I'm super excited to learn about what it is that you've got going on something special in the summertime for all these kids.
Yeah, we're doing a summer camp. And that's open to all kids. Special Needs anything. I like to try to keep everybody together. So we're doing a summer camp. And that's, um, it'll be from seven to two every day, Monday through Friday, during the summer. And it starts the second of June and ends at the end of August, or the middle of August when Scott saw stars back. And we're also doing a dating series for adults and kids, or teenagers with autism around the autism spectrum. For the most part, it's just for the young adults, so that they kind of understand dating, because I mean, dating is hard, even for people that are neurotypical. I know, I've spent I've spent years going through dating sites, and that's what ends up happening with the kids with autism. They see us do that. But it's a little different for them. It's more dangerous, because they don't people they're very naive about. Yeah, yeah. And people take that for granted. And they I've seen several of my students have lots of issues due to things like that, um, but they're just like anybody else they want, they want love, and they want marriage and they want they you know, people assume that they don't, but they do. And they are the ones that are higher functioning, struggle so much, trying to figure out how to do these things, even just a job is very difficult for them, because they don't know how to really balance their highs and lows and all of that in with dating and job and everything that they want to do. So I'm trying to offer some of these distinct teach them the basics of dating, you know how to meet someone in in a safe manner, how to go about going on a date, you know, not rattle on for eight hours about, you know, once we have the legs on board, don't rattle on about eight hours, but one more, because I doubt your date is going to want to hear that. So they I'm trying to teach them how to get doing more back and forth conversation, how to read cues a little better, that if if the person is really quiet, that probably means they're not really interested, and they need to move on to something different. And I know that's hard for them. And so what I've told a lot of them is to take little note cards and things with them so that they can kind of look at it and see. Okay, I don't need to do this and almost follow it, like a rote memory.
Mm hmm. I think that's awesome. And it's so so needed.
Oh, go ahead. Sorry. No, go ahead. Good. Oh, yeah. I was just gonna say to a couple people I've worked with here and the Seattle area that are trying to get into the dating world. And one thing I found is the rigidity of wanting to make sure every, like every single criteria of the person you're looking for is checked off. And have you found something in the talk with your people about to?
Yeah, I'm just letting them know that the people have flaws in it, you know, because they they are very rigid about certain things, even even though I had a skills class at shining stars as well. And even the rigidity of that is difficult at times because they are like, Okay, well, you were supposed to have this this day. And this this day, and this is a and they do the same thing with the dating. So I'm trying to teach them look for the things that you like in a person and don't focus so much on the fact that they're not doing everything the exact way you want it. So yes, yeah. I mean, and it's hard, because that's part of their ingrained part of their, you know, personalities for the most part, so it's harder for them.
Right. Have you heard of the show love on the spectrum? It's kind of
Yeah, I watched it. It was great. Kind of
a tear jerker.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And that in, and that's kind of the way a lot of my students that I have here are, they want this stuff so badly, but like, they just kind of keep going in a circle, for the most part.
Yeah. Well, and I think that it's so important that you're doing this because it's going to encourage them to keep trying, you know,
yeah. And that's kind of what I pointed out to a lot of my students and I want to do this with you know, with a more schedule, you know, where as, throughout the time that I work with my students, a lot of times we deal with these things, and I talk to them about it, I try to help them through it. I had one call me the other day about a job, actually, he, he was trying to quit his job. And he called me for advice on what he should do. And I was like, well, we don't just quit a job because we're tired. Right, right. Right. situations like that, I want to kind of approach that in a, you know, a weekend. And we'll have more than just one. And at the end of the series, what I plan on doing is doing kind of like a little speed dating type thing and inviting a lot of the people that I know and then give leaving it open for others to join as well, so that they can get a chance to use their tools and get a chance to meet people. And like I said, in a safe manner. So they see that this is a better way to meet than on Tinder online. Anything. Yes. Yeah. Because a lot of them will go they immediately go to Tinder for some reason. And that is so scary as a as a teacher to watch. And as a parent. Yeah, yeah, this is I'm sitting here going, Oh my gosh, there's so many people on there that are not safe, that are coming. Because when I dated online, I was I was a little nervous and scared. I made people meet me in places that were but they don't think to do that. So it's just, you know, very scary to me, because I get very attached to my students. So it's very scary to me to think, Oh my god, they're out there just randomly talking to people possibly meeting them and you're at their homes and things like that. So
what would you recommend that as far as like really great safe places for for your population you work with?
Um, well, that's kind of why I wanted to do the speed dating thing so that they can see that there's that there's things out there like that. And I showed them a lot because there are speed dating around here and stuff like that. Um, I always show them that there's things outside of online, but they you know, that's that's the computer and online is kind of their safe place. Yes. So getting them to step outside of that and go out and meet people in person is, is hard for them. But it's necessary because it's, you know, online dating and meeting online is such a scary thing. Um,
you know, the safe dating on the spectrum is a great message. And I think it's a great service that you're going to be providing, what ages again, is this for that you're going to have the series for?
I'm having it open from 16 to through adult, you know, through adulthood. But, you know, most I figure, most of the people that will attend, the ones that have signed up right now are between the ages of like 19 and 26. So okay.
And your group on Facebook, where they can reach out to you is shining stars tutoring in Greenville. So they can search for that the name of the facility that she owns and operates is shining stars, tutoring greens in Malden, South Carolina over next to Greenville. And the best way to reach you is
through usually through phone, I'm just because, yeah, and my phone numbers 864-431-3914. That way they can and if it needs to be caught up on anything, that's perfectly fine. As I'm used to having my phone number out there, so I get so many telemarketer calls now. Oh my goodness.
What would your one great piece of advice be to parents helping their older children and young adults learn how to go forward with dating.
Practice, they need a lot of practice on it and just sitting down with them and showing them how to meet the person the first time as far as you know, hey, I'm in a restaurant, I pulled out the chair for her hand, you know, if it's hit him pull her, let him pull out the chair, shake their hand, things like that. So that they they know how because kids on the spectrum tend to be it's harder for them to do their work or do anything unless they've practiced it over and over and over and over and over. Whereas, you know, we can kind of learn things just by listening. That's not the case for them. So if I were to go in there and just lecture at this, it wouldn't work. So we're, we're going to have a lot of practice. They'll get to practice conversating with each other and we'll point out things that are right and wrong with each other with with their conversation, things like that, that will kind of help. And I'm sure there'll be some to get frustrated and stuff but that's part of growing up and that's what I want to point out to them. Well, I
am just so grateful that you took Good time to share this today. We will hopefully get this out sooner than later with it coming up soon. In the summertime. Yeah. And thank you again for joining the autism and action podcast and sharing all about safe dating on the spectrum. Hi, thank
you so much.
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