Volunteering as Good Social Practice?

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Joined: 24 Jun 2004
Age: 40
Gender: Male
Posts: 5,119
Location: St. Louis, Missouri

27 May 2008, 11:02 pm

I've been trying to get involved in volunteer groups for a while because they seem to be relatively safe, less judgmental environments for meeting people and practicing one's social skills. Be wary, though, of making the assumption that, just because a person volunteers, they are supremely mature and will "get" your idiosyncrasies. As a whole, they're probably a little more mature than most people their age, but there's still variability. Anyway volunteering provides a formal structure and purpose; if you can't figure out what to say, you can just go back to the activity at hand; you also have something in common to talk about with the other people there automatically.

Unfortunately, the group I've been volunteering with has given me "the cold shoulder" these last few months by, for example, not responding to my e-mails requesting to sign up for one this month's activities. I am wondering if I should disclose that I have Asperger's syndrome in case some people have complained about for me for seeming "odd" (which seems like an odd reason for excluding someone from activities intended to help others who need it, but you never know with NTs).

Anyway what are everyone's thoughts on volunteering for aspies?


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Joined: 25 Mar 2008
Age: 35
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,192
Location: Seattle

27 May 2008, 11:17 pm

I actually started a thread asking about volunteering for social practice a while back and have since volunteered with a great organization that is focused around grade school kids. The folks leading the group are like big kids themselves and so the environment is sort of in my favor. It's been great and I have been improving, however slight, with my social skills.
I think the key thing to look for when choosing to volunteer is the characteristics of the organization and how they will work for you. If you are getting the "cold shoulder" than something obviously is not clicking. Either try and clear it up or find a group that doesn't have that problem.

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Snowy Owl
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Joined: 16 Feb 2008
Age: 28
Gender: Male
Posts: 159

27 May 2008, 11:49 pm

Ah yes, volunteering is a great way to improve on social skills. I've signed up for a program, and it's great meeting people that way. And not everyone's all completley social there.

The best part? One of the programs is helping little kids with developmental disorders, I suppose like autism. You learn therapy techniques to teach them, so it'd be like helping myself and them.