Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


16th Annual Autism Conference; Seattle, WA; 2022

All times listed are Pacific Standard Time (UTC -8 at the time of the convention in March).

Event Details

The terminology utilized in the presentation titles and abstracts for this conference was selected to adhere to the seventh edition of the American Psychological Association Publication Manual and to be inclusive of those who prefer person-first as well as identity-first language.

Previous Page


Invited Paper Session #2
Sexuality and the Spectrum: Lessons on ABA, Dating, and Love, Autism Style
Sunday, March 6, 2022
8:10 AM–9:00 AM
Fourth Floor; Grand Ballroom 1/2
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Ruth Anne Rehfeldt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Chicago)
CE Instructor: Ruth Anne Rehfeldt, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: AMY GRAVINO (A.S.C.O.T Consulting)

Autistics/individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are sexual beings, yet ABA as a field has not risen to the challenge of helping Autistics/individuals diagnosed with ASD to learn skills related to dating and sexuality. This session, which features a woman on the autism spectrum sharing her firsthand perspective, will discuss how and why the field of ABA has fallen short in teaching dating skills, what we can do better, and the potential challenges involved with teaching these skills. Applicable strategies and resources will also be offered to help professionals and parents begin conversations about relationships and sexuality with their children and clients.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) list the misconceptions around autism, sexuality, and ABA, and the potential serious consequences of not teaching dating and sexuality skills; (2) discuss the potential for using ABA to teach dating and relationship skills to individuals on the spectrum and the challenges involved in teaching these skills; (3) apply specific strategies when opening a dialogue about sexuality and dating with their children and clients.
AMY GRAVINO (A.S.C.O.T Consulting)
Amy Gravino, M.A., is an autism sexuality advocate and Relationship Coach in the Center for Adult Autism Services at Rutgers University. She is also the President of A.S.C.O.T Consulting, which offers autism consulting, college coaching, and mentoring services for organizations, schools, individuals on the autism spectrum, and their families. Amy is an international speaker who has given TED talks, spoken twice at the United Nations for World Autism Awareness Day, and presented worldwide to audiences on a variety of topics related to autism, with a dedicated special focus and research on the subject of autism and sexuality. Ms. Gravino obtained her Masters degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Caldwell University in 2010 and currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Specialisterne USA, Yes She Can, Inc. and the Golden Door International Film Festival of Jersey City, as well as the Scientific Advisory Board of Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research (SPARK). She is an award-winning writer whose work has been featured in Spectrum, the leading online news source for autism research, Reader’s Digest, special education textbooks, and other outlets. Visit to learn more.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh