Love on the spectrum: Meet Ruth and Thomas.


Thomas describes the first time he met Ruth as a “wow” moment.

“When I met her it was incredible. One of the first things she asked me was ‘do you know Harry Potter?’ And it took me a second but I realised she was asking that because I share the name with the main villain in Harry Potter — Thomas Riddle,” he said.

Thomas and Ruth have been dating for a year.

Ruth was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 14 and Thomas was diagnosed with high-functioning autism two years ago.

“I came away from that first encounter thinking she was quite different, unique, because it’s something I would do — I’d make those leaps ahead and people would always be confused about things I was saying.

“So when she was leaping ahead I was thinking wow. This girl is wow.”

One in 100 people are currently diagnosed as being “on the spectrum” in Australia.

Watch Ruth and Thomas below. (Post continues…)

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Autism was once viewed as a form of childhood psychosis, or the product of bad parenting.

These days, those misconceptions are being challenged and Ruth says she and Thomas are also proof that people on the spectrum can form meaningful relationships.

“I think it’s rubbish because I can feel just as much as any other person can, I just don’t know how to react to emotion. I don’t know what to do with the emotion I’m feeling,” she said.

“I can definitely feel. I like having a relationship.”


Ruth says she and Thomas understand each other and share a deep connection.

“I would expect a normal person to dump me rapidly but I feel rather connected, so, yay!” she said.

Ruth and Thomas both have specific interests. Thomas loves all things trams and railways, and volunteers at a Brisbane tram museum.

Ruth collects business cards and loves the different designs and shapes they come in.

She rejects the idea that people like her and Thomas are “unable” to form meaningful relationships.

Like most couples, Thomas says they occasionally have disagreements or misunderstand each other.

“Every now and again one of us will make a mistake and do something which we feel really guilty about, and we’ll be often really scared and nervous that the other one is going to leave us,” he said.

“I’ve done something, I’ll be nervous she’s going to leave me, but when I go see her she bowls me over with a massive hug and I’m left flat on the floor with this girl hugging me and I’m thinking, I can’t believe I thought she was going to leave me.

“We’re both incredibly loyal. So it works.”

Watch John Stewart’s story on Lateline tonight at 9.30pm (AEST) on ABC News 24 or 10.30pm on ABC TV.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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