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GCAspies
Pileated woodpecker
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30 Aug 2015, 3:20 pm

Hi all....

A couple of adults on the autism spectrum came up to me recently to see what existed out there for adults and young adults on the autism spectrum with regard to penpal sites. I am in the conceptual phase of creating a website that is geared towards adults and young adults on the autism spectrum (and their parents/caregivers).

Does anyone know of any penpal sites that are geared toward adults and young adults on the autism spectrum? I don't want to "reinvent the wheel" if such penpal sites exist. By the way, I am an adult (48) on the autism spectrum.

Thanks,
Scott


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Scott, Founder/Program Director - GCA Centre for Adult Autism

The mission of GCA Centre for Adult Autism:
"Empowering the lives of autistic adults and young adults and their parents/caregivers by serving as a resource center to provide mutual support, information, and activities" in the Southeast USA
http://www.gcaspies.org

2nd Annual Southeast Adult Autism Symposium
- Early Bird online registration starts in late March 2018
- More information can be found at http://www.gcaspies.org/symposiumhomepage


Zilphy
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02 Sep 2015, 9:18 pm

I have looked for penpal sites and cannot find anything appropriate. I like your idea of starting one :D


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GCAspies
Pileated woodpecker
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03 Sep 2015, 7:02 am

Thank you for letting me know. Much appreciated, Scott


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Scott, Founder/Program Director - GCA Centre for Adult Autism

The mission of GCA Centre for Adult Autism:
"Empowering the lives of autistic adults and young adults and their parents/caregivers by serving as a resource center to provide mutual support, information, and activities" in the Southeast USA
http://www.gcaspies.org

2nd Annual Southeast Adult Autism Symposium
- Early Bird online registration starts in late March 2018
- More information can be found at http://www.gcaspies.org/symposiumhomepage


VisInsita
Deinonychus
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04 Sep 2015, 12:01 pm

What a great idea! I'd at least appreciate that. Good luck!



bushratcandy
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26 Sep 2015, 10:10 pm

Sounds good to me, but I wonder if the young ones will be interested? Most under 30s have lots of online friends. Then again I only know my 2 kids (23 & 32) and they have lots of online friends so that's not really a large enough sample. :D


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Mommypickles
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05 Nov 2015, 2:30 pm

I am a spouse of an Aspie and would love to correspond with someone who could understand my issues :lol:



Butterfly88
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12 Nov 2015, 6:16 am

You should create one. I would join.



MjrMajorMajor
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12 Nov 2015, 7:08 am

I love that idea. :D I get nostalgic about good old snail mail occasionally.



Ilovesnails
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02 Dec 2015, 7:09 am

The only penpal-ish group is one on tumblr it seems and it looks a bit dead and hardly updated.
Your site interests me as I have penpalled for over twenty years now and would love to talk to fellow aspies.



GCAspies
Pileated woodpecker
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08 Jan 2016, 4:17 pm

I am revisiting this idea, after mentioning about it a couple of months ago (or whenver it was).

I got my email copy of Asperger United (that the National Autistic Society in the UK publishes once a quarter [every three months]). I will post AU's disclaimer:

"Asperger United is happy to publish pen-pal advertisements but we must stress that we are NOT (my emphasis) a pen-pal or introduction organisation. We do not match people up and we cannot monitor letters (other than the first letter, that is sent via us) so please be cautious when releasing personal details. The National Autistic Society / Asperger United cannot intervene or be held responsible for any ensuing correspondence between letter-writers."

I think this is as close to perfect in terms of what I was thinking for starting something related to penpalling for adults with autism/autistic adults. I will be talking with the executive director of my autism center next week to get his input. My wife/spouse and I are on board with starting a penpal thing like this.

If you knew that a autism penpal group could be set up the way that the National Autistic Society has its set up, would you consider placing a penpal advertisement (it couldn't be a dating advertisement)? Those under the age of 16 or 18 (or whatever age it would be) would need to have parental consent before placing a penpal advertisement in the yet to be named autism penpal publication.

Note: Because this isn't a penpalling organization, we will pass your letter to the person you wish to contact. However, we could not guarantee the person will reply as that is entirely their decision. Just like Asperger United's policy, please note that all first letters sent via the unnamed penpal publication are opened before being passed on.


_________________
Scott, Founder/Program Director - GCA Centre for Adult Autism

The mission of GCA Centre for Adult Autism:
"Empowering the lives of autistic adults and young adults and their parents/caregivers by serving as a resource center to provide mutual support, information, and activities" in the Southeast USA
http://www.gcaspies.org

2nd Annual Southeast Adult Autism Symposium
- Early Bird online registration starts in late March 2018
- More information can be found at http://www.gcaspies.org/symposiumhomepage


Prisonerinsidethecomputer1
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19 May 2016, 4:15 pm

I am interested in joining a pen pal group or adding a pen pal for checking the grammar of my stories. That is my main motivation I have for making new penpals. I don't know what would be the expectations of me as a pen pal of the group as people have different needs. But as I said, I am looking for people who have writing as a hobby. My written communication (I don't have to read back when writing like this) is decent but not for writing as in "free writing stories". I am looking for ways to overcome this problem. Beta reading is one way. I am not dyslexic but I thought I'd mention this since I do have problems with checking my own work and need to read it outloud to myself. I also have aspergers, and am 32 years old and writing which is my passion is in need of people to read for revision purposes or reasons. I wish my immediate family could help. My family does not have much time and works full-time. If anyone is interested let me know. I will try my best. I think my reasons for having a penpal are specific. Let me know if anyone is in need of something similar. I want a penpal who has similar problems. That would make the sometimes obvious mistakes I commit much more forgiving to the reader. If anyone is interested and has similar interests then you can post here. I suspect why I can't write correctly for stories as it is more demanding on memory, and maybe part of me was affected. I hope people are interested and it has been 5 months since this last post. Like I was trying to say I don't know the expectations of such a group but I have been thinking because of my hobby that this is what I'd need a pen pal for to have what I have written checked. I am trying all I can, any volunteering or help in exchange I would appreciate. (sorry if this post was a longer read than expected) Thank you if there are any replies.



Quill
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22 May 2016, 4:06 pm

I think it would be awesome if you did this, and I would love to join!



Prisonerinsidethecomputer1
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22 May 2016, 10:15 pm

Ok I did some research on Amazon that I know Aspies with dyslexia and dysgraphia will appreciate. I have thought about the penpal group so that I could get feedback. These books though are something I will get in the following weeks. I am posting this here since I know dyslexia and dysgraphia is present in a lot of people with autism. They usually in cases like my own have to spend a lot of money on speech therapists and speech pathologists. My dyslexia by the way is mild and not very severe; there are different degree of this. I will get to the point of my research. If I work together with a person. If they have problems with language areas these could be excellent books. Some may be obvious, others are more based on narrative and helping people compensate with their writing difficulties. I did a thorough search, and the first book here on the list is the one people should buy if they have reading or writing difficulties because of disabilities. I bet I will save people money as soon as they do some checking as to the book's contents. First make sure you look in the index of the first book in case you want extra information on a disease or condition or disability (or buy the book to support them). This book is brilliant at explaining the applications of neurological findings. Search for dyslexic dysgraphia. The preview is free to read of that section. This will explain some ideas on how to write stories for people such as me, and autistic people who are frequently diagnosed with a mental disability (such as dyscalculia, dyslexia, dysgraphia). Whichever diagnosis anyone has, they might have to decide if getting this book is a good idea. For me I think it gives good ideas on what strategies are helpful for the conditions mentioned before. (btw I am not responsible for anyone's purchases and conducting research. I have a read out loud program that are expensive and many books on grammar but the problem definitely has to do with the brain. These are useless without a good compensating tool or a list of strategies because some people have no access to special education. Or doctors who do not help at all.).

http://www.amazon.com/How-Special-Needs ... pd_ybh_a_9

Some recommendations based on the research I conducted. Which I will get as a shopping list for a pen pal group for writing stories. The first recommendation is a 6+1 traits program. It is a program developed in oregon in te 1990s. It helps create a rubric and expectations on what is considered to be a "trait" or language skill. For example two of the ones I remember are presentation, and sentence fluency.

Why is this good information? Because I have found good books with this program for storytelling. Not to mention this advanced research conducted years ago is very appropriate for disabled students who want to write and learn while alone.

Next finding is based on the book I suggested earlier (a compensatory strategy in this case mentioned in that book is graphic organizers). Graphic organizers are important because they teach you how to outline and plan in advance stories. I have found these, all over amazon. I know I gave examples of 6+1 traits book (be careful and get one geared for students). I found a book for graphic organizers for grade level 3 to 8. That is good enough for me since I am having problems with organization. There aren't many books on the market for this. If anyone finds a good one for either: adolescent, young adult, or adult. Then post you recommendation or recommendations here. What is a graphic organizer good for? It is good for outlining, structure, and sometimes inspiration. It also can teach you information, and help you keep notes, and understand better from someone who knows much more than you. In this case I will list a book with graphic organizers in this post. Click on the links.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1938406338/ref ... QWAD4QS1XM


Expectations of the pen pal group is that they need to know english and it isn't impossible. We can evaluate grammar and learn it with 6+1 traits. Then planning drafting and production are done with graphic organizers. Some are focuses o creative writer. That is both of these research areas.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0132944103/ref ... LYS516ILCQ

Here is a graphic organizer for visual thinking (I will edit this post as I have no time for today to edits or write further on this one. But there is usually a book preview available).

I will need to investigate this one too. It is nighttime and I did check the others but did not check this one either. The title grabbed me, but there is no preview. I need to search for a sample or a preview elsewhere.

The point is this is what I kind of would like to do. Also people should for solutions for their disability. Last but least this is a recommended list of good books and I am not responsible for a purchase a person does not like.

Let me know if anyone besides quill wants to make a pen pal group. BTW, I plan to take 2-3 weeks off, but then if we have a good pen pal group in 1 month then maybe this could work. Or even with 2-3 people or 4.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IHTRRGQ/ref ... ZZTQJAC9SJ

Thanks for reading this thread. I will add you quill once I know what will happen. I need the extra time off.

Oh last but not least I do have recommendations on the craft of writing. But that I can leave for another post. That way we can critique the substance of the story.



Caseymom
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13 Dec 2016, 5:13 pm

Have you started this? I want to join. I was just reading one of Donna Williams early books and she mentioned meeting pen-pals from an autistic group. How cool.



Prisonerinsidethecomputer1
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17 Dec 2016, 9:53 pm

Hello Caseymom. Nice to meet you. I unfortunately didn't recieve offers for people to join for this writers group. But hopefully that changes once people become more informed. I'll see if I can search for some people with autism with similar interests. I'll link them here if that helps. So far it would be me and you to start the group if it starts. You'd be the first in the group. Just like I found this forum I plan to search the internet to find for people with those same people who have autism. I did some very little searching for people who could be interested. I changed my thoughts on how to make this work. My writing skills are rusty and I need practice so we could try doing this at a lenient pace. As is I can volunteer to read people's work until I get caught up with brushing up my writing skills which needs to be improved. I want the group to be one for betareaders. That's the special purpose but we can change it and be flexible. If the writing quality is good we can do better than this. We could then move on eventually to writing better critiques. My main worries is that betareaders need to have enough time, to read, correct, their story so that it looks like anyone can join so long as they understand, that english competency is something we need to work towards. For some of us it will be a priority, then story theory, genre theory. I write science fiction. Most of us will be looking at the grammar. We will keep it simple, as a helping for those who need an opinion on their piece when no one else is willing to help. I like to help regardless the skills in any area.

If your skills are more advanced than my own, I could for example with others submit shorter pieces. Best of luck with your writing if you decide to join or not. I hope everyone who reads this thread considers the group who have special needs. My dyslexia can make things for instance more difficult to spot mistakes. But I will submit short pieces, in my case. I can read long pieces.Like I said anyone can help start this one. Thanks for posting. I appreciate the the interest and hope we can recruit, or get people I see on blogs or elsewhere. It won't be easy but it is not impossible to recruit people with autism.