Entertainment And News

'Love On The Spectrum' On Netflix: Who Is Jodi Rodgers, Autism Relationship Coach?

Photo: Youtube
'Love On The Spectrum' On Netflix: Who Is Jodi Rodgers, Autism Relationship Coach?

Netflix is airing an Australian docu-series called Love on The Spectrum this month. The show follows young adults with diagnosed autism spectrum disorders as they attempt to find a romantic partner. 

RELATED: Do Brett & Olivia Stay Together On ‘Married At First Sight’? Spoilers Following The Shocking Season 11 Premiere

This isn't a typical dating show; there are no Bachelor-esque setups or producer-arranged dates. The series instead introduces the audiences to individuals who are trying to meet someone special and the cameras simply follow along on the journey they were already taking. The resulting show is very sweet and also very illuminating for neurotypical folks who want to gain more empathy for those on the autism spectrum. 

Some of the cast members have called in a professional sexologist and counselor named Jodi Rodgers to help them navigate the waters of dating. Rodgers has a long resume of work with disables people as an educator and as a relationship coach.

Who is Jodi Rodgers, autism relationship coach, from Love on the Spectrum on Netflix? 

Rodgers is the consultant we all probably need to make dating easier. She's a no-nonsense woman who will come to a client's house and help them prepare for all aspects of dating. The way she discusses the process of meeting someone, asking them out, and going on a date is a reminder that dating is hard for everyone, and especially tricky for people who have trouble reading social cues. The simple act of holding up your end of a conversation is a learned skill for some people and Rodgers helps her client prepare for that, as well as talking about more intimate matters, like sexuality and sex education.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Undo The Toxic Love Lessons We Learn From Reality TV Shows

Jodi Rodgers has worked with people on the autism spectrum for years.

For many years, Rodgers worked at an organization in Australia called Aspect Australia. The organization bill itself as "Australia’s largest autism-specific service provider, with one of the biggest autism-specific school programs in the world." Rodgers worked there as a regional manager for over a decade before striking out on her own at a counseling practice called Birds and Bees, which focuses on sexuality and sex education with a specialty in working with disabled people.  

On the show, she talks about how much she enjoys working with people on the autism spectrum. In particular, she appreciates the special interest people with autism and Asperger's tend to have and likes to see the breadth of knowledge they have in their favorite topics. 

What is a sexologist? 

Rodgers lists sexology among her credentials, which is a scientific study of human sexuality and can be used to counsel people about their sex lives. Rodgers has a master's degree in the sexology field from the University of Sydney and also has a certification in sexology counseling. Her practice focuses on working with individuals with disabilities and helping them with sexuality and sexual health. On the series this translates to assisting the cast members with figuring out health patterns in finding and maintaining intimate relationships. 

Jodi Rodgers also has a background in special education.

In addition to her background in sex therapy and counseling, Rodgers is a special education professional with an undergraduate degree from the University of Canberra. Her website says that she is accredited with the Office of the Children’s Guardian to counsel young people on sexual issues. 

Rodgers wants to make sexuality education accessible.

Because people with disabilities can be vulnerable to abuse, many families feel it's important to teach disabled loved ones about healthy relationships so that they can learn the difference between a loving relationship with a partner and an abusive situation. On her website, Jodi says that teaching people of various abilities about sexuality is a priority for her writing that she "provides counseling to people with a disability who may have difficulties with sex and sexuality, including behaviors of concern or vulnerability." She also works with families and caregivers of disabled people.

The series is available on Netflix. 

Rodger's coaching on dating can take a lot of forms.

On Love On The Spectrum, audiences see Rodgers helping the cast members define what they want in their relationship and tries to reinforce notions of what a strong and rewarding relationships should look like. She coached cast members to consider what they want in potential partners, sometimes using tools like drawings as well as words.  

In one conversation, she listens as Michael describes his ideal partner as someone like "Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island" and encourages him to keep that clear idea in his mind. For Kelvin, who has a hard time expressing himself, she works on basic manners like introductions and handshakes as well as coaching him on basic conversational skills. 

In the case of Andrew, she coaches him gently through decoding a subtle rejection from a girl who didn't want to go out again. 

Love on the Spectrum is streaming on Netflix. 

RELATED: Are Ed And Rosemarie From 90 Day Fiancé: Before The 90 Days Still Together?

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. She is the creator of the blog FeminXer and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.​