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I also got the courage to ask out a girl for the first time in my life,” he says.
“She said no, by the way.”Though he had “trouble accepting that” and has yet to go on a date, Mead has continued to pick up social nuances like eye contact, smiling and hygiene.“I’d just like to say that everyone here smells great,” he tells the day camp crew with a grin.
”Facing the group stands Evan Mead, flanked by several “sexperts.” A wiry, quick-eyed 24-year-old, Mead is a man with a plan.
Launched this year in conjunction with a sexologist and a dating coach, his free half-day workshops invite “Aspies” to meet, mingle and trade social cues more easily.
The participants hear from experts, share their challenges and play out exercises involving speed networking, positive thinking and facial expressions. In one activity, participants pair up and sit facing each other in a row to describe who they are.“I love gadgets, I hate clothes shopping,” says Durham.
“Then frustration would build around not being able to express himself fully,” Bateman says.
She remembers when she first learned Mead had Asperger’s. When you’re a new parent and you’re hearing it for the first time, it’s not even on your radar.”There were bright sides to his condition, too, with scenes familiar to any young family. It was like watching his imagination on loudspeaker.”Mead would focus on one thing “obsessively,” his mom says.
In the building on Queens Quay hosting the session, Mead speaks with fluid confidence and openness about his own struggles with the socially obstructive syndrome.