Special Connections

Preparing neurodiverse adults to navigate the dating world

Special Connections offers a supportive opportunity for adults with autism and other developmental disabilities to build their dating and relationship skills through virtual individual coaching sessions and virtual speed dating.

The workshop includes three coaching sessions—two occur before the virtual speed dating event, and the other is scheduled after the event in order to debrief and go over tips and recommendations for future dating opportunities.

We welcome applications from people of all gender, ages, sexual orientations, and abilities! Please complete our application to be considered for the program and be sure to check out the FAQs section below for more information.

 

This session is closed, but please fill out the application to be considered for future workshops,

CLICK HERE TO APPLY FOR SPECIAL CONNECTIONS >

For more information contact Ryan Berman—[email protected] or (415) 449-3805

FAQs

Q: When is the next Special Connections workshop?

A: We are now accepting applications for our Fall 2021 workshop.

Q: What happens after I submit my application?

A: We will schedule a brief videoconference with selected applicants to meet and discuss the program. Following the meeting, you will be notified if you have been accepted into this particular workshop. If you are not accepted into this particular workshop, your information will be kept on file and you will be notified when future events are scheduled. All applicants will be invited to Special Connections singles’ mixers.

Q: Are there age limits for participants?

A: Special Connections is a program for adults ages 18-40.

Q: Is the entire workshop virtual?

A: Depending on COVID restrictions, the Fall workshop might be virtual or held in person.

Q: What does the program include?

A: Each participant will have three coaching sessions—two occur before the virtual speed dating event, and the other is scheduled after the virtual speed dating event in order to debrief and go over tips and recommendations for future dating opportunities. Participation in the program does not guarantee that you will find a significant other or find a match from the virtual speed dating event.

Q: What happens during a coaching session?

A: Individual coaching sessions address a number of dating topics through mock-dates, video analysis, role-playing, feedback, education, and discussions. Every session is tailored to the individual and is designed to target areas for growth such as listening skills, deciphering non-verbal communication, identifying shared interests, and maintaining a balanced back-and-forth dialogue. We will be drawing on curriculum from the UCLA PEERS program, an evidence-based social and relationship skills program.

Q: Who are the Special Connections coaches?

A: Michelle Hecht integrates expertise in learning, behavior, and emotional health when working with individuals of all ages. She seeks to bring compassion and positivity to her work as a behavior consultant and coach in the autism and developmental disabilities communities.  Michelle draws on her training in educational psychology, behavior analysis, DBT and ACT, and is a certified trainer for the PEERS for Young Adults program. Michelle is passionate about supporting young adults to develop close meaningful social connections and relationships.  She is excited about her role in Special Connections.

Deena Abramson believes human connections can be fun, meaningful, diverse, and growth-provoking experiences. A mental health and family-focused social worker for many years, Deena now works to provide and develop individualized support services to youth and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Deena is grateful to support people’s processes of imagining what emotional and romantic health, wellness, and empowered living means to them. Deena is passionate about the ways our histories and intersectional identities impact our relationships with ourselves and others.

Q: When will I meet with my coach?

A: Special Connections coaches will work with you to create a schedule that suits both you and your coach. We have both daytime and evening hours available.

Q: Is this program only for cisgender and heterosexual individuals?

A: Special Connections is a program for all genders and sexualities. Program participants will be matched with his/her/their preferred gender(s) and sexuality. We encourage you to fill out the application now, no matter your gender or sexuality, to be considered for future workshops.

Q: Is this program for individuals of all abilities?

A: The Fall Special Connections workshop is for individuals who do not need support to participate in 1-on-1 conversations with other young adults during brief introductory social interaction activities.  Future Special Connections programs will include individuals who do need support to participate in a workshop such as this. We encourage you to fill out the application now, no matter your support needs, to be considered for future workshops.

CLICK HERE TO APPLY FOR SPECIAL CONNECTIONS >

For more information contact Ryan Berman—[email protected] or (415) 449-3805

Join the JFCS Family

Join the JFCS Family

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Thank You! You have successfully subscribed!