About Asperger's social support groups

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rainbowbutterfly
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15 Jun 2009, 5:42 pm

How do you find social support groups for people with Asperger's, and how do you get in? Do you need to have only moderate to severe Asperger's to get accepted in the group, or do you need a psychologist's referral? What if you're not sure if you have AS, HFA, or PDD-NOS? If you have another autism spectrum disorder will you be eligible for a Asperger's social support group?



grizeldatee
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15 Jun 2009, 6:20 pm

It depends on the group. We have been participating in a fairly casual social club for the kids that is put together by the parents. Not much discussion of diagnoses or anything like that, just wanting to facilitate social opportunities for our kids who sometimes get left out of their peers social doings. I found the group at meetup.com quite accidentally. So far we've had a picnic/soccer game, video game party, movie and pizza night, and a bowling party. So far, so good.

The guy who started it decided from the beginning that the criterion for inclusion was that the kids actually be interested in social interaction and not be violent/aggressive. We've got quite a medley of gentle souls, mostly boys, mostly crazy for video games, and it has been fun. The next thing is a pool party. We are calling it the "Friendship Club."


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rainbowbutterfly
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15 Jun 2009, 6:53 pm

Thanks! That was good advice. I just looked at the website and saw a social support group in my area.



cyberscan
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15 Jun 2009, 10:59 pm

We had one just start in my area. The gentleman who started ours is Aspie himself. C.A.R.D. is kind enough to let us use their office for the meeting. The people in my group are not as severely autistic as I am, but we seem to share a few problems. Anyway, if there is not one in a specific area, one can always start his or her own group. There are plenty of places one can announce such groups to the community at very little cost.


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Last edited by cyberscan on 16 Jun 2009, 2:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

15 Jun 2009, 11:21 pm

I found the ones in my area through the internet by doing a search for my area. I also came across a website by Roger Meyer and I had to call him before I joined the group because that is what he wants all newbies to do. He allows diagnosed and the self diagnosed.

I also joined the local ASAN group here and I didn't need to call the leader before I joined. They allow the self diagnosed and the diagnosed too. I haven't met any LFA's in any of those groups. All of them seem to be HFA and some of them have had jobs or have one, have kids, are married or divorced. This one is only held every other month once a month. This Thursday we are going to be downtown spreading some autism awareness in a positive way to speak our minds about our condition.


These groups allow anyone on the spectrum. They don't even ask for proof that you have AS or autism.



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16 Jun 2009, 1:38 am

I'm pretty sure there's no AS support group in my town, and I would like to start an adult social/support group for AS, ADHD, Tourette's, etc.

I have pretty good social skills, so I am not worried about the notion of starting a group per se (I occasionally organise chess groups); however, I am fairly recently diagnosed, and have little experience at interaction with so-called "low-functioning" people, and I am afraid of doing something wrong through ignorance.

Also, I have never run a SUPPORT group of any sort before, although I have attended support groups with friends before upon their request (one was an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, one was a Bipolar group), and I found it positive and learned a lot from the experience. I have also been to two different Aspergers groups in the city; one experience was negative and the other was positive.

So... I would appreciate advice about what you feel works and what doesn't.


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cyberscan
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16 Jun 2009, 2:10 am

If you start a group, I'd be willing to bet that most of the people in it will be either "moderately functioning" or "high functioning."
I fall into the category of "moderate to high functioning." If you do or say something a "low or moderate functioning" individual doesn't like, he or she will usually let you know. That should be one of the ground rules for the group. One of the things I like about my group is the fact that you are not stared at when stimming. It is accepted. One can learn a lot from these groups. One aspie asked if anyone has met a "Kanner's" autie that head bangs. I told him that he was talking to one. He learned that not all of us are nonverbal or mentally retarded. I got to learn more what it is like for those whose autistic behavior does not show or needs as much effort to control. I find that those with Asperger's can have many problems with society because they are perceived in many cases as normal.


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16 Jun 2009, 6:28 am

I looked at the meetup.com and all the groups were miles away from where I live, like 20 miles or summat. I really want to go to one, I'm hoping there's one at my college when I start in september. Because on their websitebthey said they've got "groups, organisation and clubs" but nothing about what clubs they have.


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Alphabetania
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16 Jun 2009, 11:45 am

cyberscan wrote:
I got to learn more what it is like for those whose autistic behavior does not show or needs as much effort to control. I find that those with Asperger's can have many problems with society because they are perceived in many cases as normal.

I just got back from work. I had the most horrible day. I discovered that I have been manipulated by a close friend for a very long time; I discovered other situations in which I have exercised poor judgement whilst being convinced that I was right. I have been recently defrauded of an enormous amount of money. I appear so normal, no-one would ever have guessed I was an Aspie; even Aspies don't recognise me as an Aspie unless I actually prove it to them by describing my stress behaviour. I feel so disoriented. I can't judge people's character, it seems. I feel sorry for people with psychological problems and I get used by them because I believe nobody else understands them. I defend them, I guard people from finding out what they do to me, because I feel sorry for them. My best friend said that in 15 years of working with me he had not felt what he felt today when he found out that I lied to protect someone. I hate being manipulated, but I allow it. I am so messed up today.


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16 Jun 2009, 11:57 am

Contact your local autism society.

I went to a group in Raleigh for 3 yrs and a group in Oregon (ongoing now) for 5 mos. All are funded through Autism Society.

I wish you luck!


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Alphabetania
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16 Jun 2009, 12:02 pm

cyberscan wrote:
One of the things I like about my group is the fact that you are not stared at when stimming. It is accepted.

That is so wonderful. I had a big fight with my NT friend tonight, and he said, "Whatever you do, don't start screaming," (referring to previous meltdowns), so I lowered my voice until all I was doing was a kind of whispereing squeak, and I sat in a huddled position and I felt myself start rocking to and fro and I had to stop myself because that would have annoyed him even more. I was concentrating so hard on keeping myself in check that I couldn't remember what I wanted to say. I asked him what he wanted me to do, because I knew I was in the wrong -- if I could have just known my sentence and the time of my punishment, it would be OK; but he was trying to make me see his perspective and he carried on. I told him that I knew he was right, but it wasn't enough for him. It was like, he wanted to explain it all back to him, to show that I understood, and I couldn't think straight.

Sorry, I got sidetracked now. What I wanted to say is, the first Aspie social event I went to, there was a guy who just suddenly walked away and I asked him why he was leaving, and he said he was pacing. I realised this was his stim, and it startled me for a moment, and then I immediately felt great about it, knowing that if his odd behaviour was normal within the group, I could relax, because it would be impossible for me to do anything unacceptable unless I consciously tried very hard to do so. In NT company I only allow myself one stim, viz. bouncing my leg under the table. (Well, OK, and doing ballet movements in queues, and stims which people wouldn't know are stims on the dancefloor, and drawing in meetings!) It feels like such a great endorsement and privilege to know that I have the freedom to relax into any kind of undisguised stim in an Aspie group. (The one thing I never let NTs see is when my arm starts twisting rapidly. I would do this in an Aspie group simply out of the joy of liberation.)


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robbokris
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16 Jun 2009, 3:40 pm

I found one that seemed good for me but it didn't say what age groups it was for and it was 15 miles away (and I can't drive....)