506 | Neurodivergent Relationships with Dr. Ali Arena

506 | Neurodivergent Relationships with Dr. Ali Arena

In today’s episode, Eric is joined by Dr. Ali Arena!  Dr. Ali is passionate about social cognition, language processing, executive functioning, and creating meaningful friendships and relationships.  She is both a speech and language pathologist and a board-certified behavior analyst, has a doctorate degree in educational leadership, is becoming a licensed educational psychologist, and uses a neurodiversity- and trauma-informed lens when working with all clients.  

Dr. Ali’s doctorate focus was unique, to say the least, as it addresses the dating intricacies of autistics, which led her to develop her private practice for anyone who wants help socially navigating in their workplace or relationships.  Lastly, Dr. Ali feels social support is a biological necessity and wants to help all neurodivergent individuals to reach wholistic communication.

  • Find out more and get connected with Dr. Ali at (click here!)


  • [00:01:36] Introducing Dr. Ali
  • [00:03:26] Eric asks Dr. Ali how she got into focusing on relationships and the dating intricacies of neurodivergent people
  • [00:05:04] Emptying the dishwasher and other themes in neurodivergent relationships
  • [00:06:40] A discussion on parentification
  • [00:07:53] Ways to bring up difficult conversations with a partner
  • [00:11:31] Cleaning up 99 percent, not assuming negative meanings, and shame responses
  • [00:18:27] Listening, eye-contact, and different ways of processing while listening
  • [00:22:35] “How do you cope with going out to eat in a noisy restaurant?” and other sensory challenges when communicating
  • [00:24:41] Setting yourself up for talking with your partner
  • [00:26:02] Communicating via text
  • [00:32:47] A discussion on neurodivergent relationships and sex
  • [00:36:57] Neurodiversity and the LGBTQ+ community
  • [00:39:00] Explaining neurodiversity as part of one’s identity in a relationship
  • [00:42:54] The impact of being in a relationship with someone who understands your neurodiversity
  • [00:45:31] Finding support for neurodivergent relationships and how to get in touch with Dr. Ali
  • [00:46:20] One more question for Dr. Ali & closing thoughts

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