Autism support groups, useless for those high functioning

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CommanderKeen
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22 Jun 2016, 6:31 pm

So, in college I used to be part of a program that was supposed to help those with aspergers function better in college. Long story short, I met with a group of other students and a counselor once a week outside of class. Some days I had to go even on days I didn't have class. Things would be discussed, such as how to study for exams and how to take notes. Now, my main issue wasn't related to knowing how to study, or do college work. My main issue at the time was socializing with the opposite sex. Now, things like relationships were never discussed in this group and the group was made primarily of men, but there was one woman. I thought I needed to be in the group in order to receive benefits, such as being able to goto a testing room to take a test, instead of testing in the class room. Well, I discovered, that was not the case and I quit the program. It has been a few years since I left the group and have found nothing but benefit not having to goto it. I've also have become better at socializing on my own, a lot better. There was also a separate program that I was in at WTC(Workforce and Technology Center). Some of you may have heard of it, I found out it is fairly well known. Anyway one of the same counselors that ran the aspergers group at college, also worked at WTC. At WTC, it's kind of like a dorm; although I never stayed over night there. You do simple work and it's designed to help you get into the work field. I worked there briefly years ago and received a paycheck of about $120. It was more like an internship. I was doing maintenance. Well, when I wanted to become a personal trainer, one the heads of the program at WTC wanted me to come work there again to get used to working. I asked if there was anyone there I could intern for, in order to learn about the personal training field. He told me that, that's not the purpose of going back into the program and the purpose is "To get used to working again." I ultimately decided not to go through with it and I'm glad I didn't. I would have just wasted more time. So in short, I think there are no decent programs in place for those who are high functioning and we are better off not relying on such programs; ultimately because they are designed for low functioning individuals.



Lumi
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22 Jun 2016, 7:24 pm

A person can be "high-functioning" in different ways.


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CommanderKeen
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22 Jun 2016, 7:28 pm

Lumi wrote:
A person can be "high-functioning" in different ways.

True, but I mean higher functioning in general, as in closer to NT. I actually rarely relate to others with aspergers, except those undiagnosed that have gone into the work field.



Tawaki
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23 Jun 2016, 9:35 am

About work....

Almost all work related help is about getting you into a routine, getting minimal work place socializing skills, teaching you how to organize your time better for job hunting, and maybe a short term placement. It is almost never about finding a job within your skill set. That is what you pay a personal job head hunter to do.

University services is almost always about you getting through to the degree, not learning soft skills. You are in university to learn and get out. No one there gives a crap if you can socialize with the opposite sex. That is what student mental health services are for if you have GAD, depression, whatever.

I hear people using mental health services b***h about this too. I'm a computer programmer. I have a college degree, and they want me stocking shelves. Well, this person has been out of the work place 10 years, or never held a job. Or I want to learn how to make apps for mobile phones, which is a new skill set. Those classes/placements are not for that.

Unfortunately, we are in the same leaking boat as all the other NTs in a shitty economy. Pay for schooling and hustle resumes for jobs you want.

When you hear of an Aspie with a fab job, and who received lots of help, it is almost always an upper middle class family, with money and pull. Parents can pay $20K+ year for that high school which specializes in only ASD issues. Parents usually have a minimum university degree and know how to work the system to get their young adult financial aide or special university programs. They pull favors from family and friends so their child doesn't have to grind through all the s**t bottom feeder jobs that need maximum social skills to survive. Joe Critter Six Pack doesn't have that.

So, unless you are so low you need 24/7 personal care, there is nothing but a patch work of scraps that only offer the most basic of help where I live.

It isn't so much the services are a junk, your expectations of what they actually offer or do is off.



ASPartOfMe
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23 Jun 2016, 10:28 am

If you have met one Autism support group you have met one Autism support group.


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SocOfAutism
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23 Jun 2016, 11:15 am

THANK YOU. I have been saying this same thing. People don't want to hear from people who are doing well, and don't want to fine tune the skills of people who are doing okay. All the support services out there are for people at a crisis level, and then they only try to get them to the bare minimum, not to their highest level of functioning. They ignore soft skills like relationships and personal lives, which are obviously important to a person's overall well-being.

I'm working on a seminar series for people in their first years at college and their first jobs. I'm planning three seminars:

-Job Preparation
-College Survival
-Sex, Drinking, and Relationships

All free. Just me and an assistant teaching with paper handouts. A whiteboard if we can find a room with one. This may not help you as you may not be in the Southwest Virginia area, but if you would like to advise ME as I develop these things, please send me a private message and I'll send you my email address. If I can get something going at a place with a good wi-fi signal, I don't see why I couldn't start broadcasting it for people who aren't local.



Fnord
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23 Jun 2016, 12:57 pm

SocOfAutism wrote:
... All the support services out there are for people at a crisis level, and then they only try to get them to the bare minimum, not to their highest level of functioning. ...
And that's the problem - there is nothing for those of us who are doing "well enough" but want to do better.

I'd like to take part in your seminar series, or something very much like it for high-functioning people with ASDs, and maybe even learn to facilitate one myself.

Is there any chance you would be holding one in Orange County, California?



SocOfAutism
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23 Jun 2016, 1:11 pm

Fnord wrote:
SocOfAutism wrote:
... All the support services out there are for people at a crisis level, and then they only try to get them to the bare minimum, not to their highest level of functioning. ...
And that's the problem - there is nothing for those of us who are doing "well enough" but want to do better.

I'd like to take part in your seminar series, or something very much like it for high-functioning people with ASDs, and maybe even learn to facilitate one myself.

Is there any chance you would be holding one in Orange County, California?


Send me a couple of planet tickets, Fnord, and I will! ;)

I'm thinking that if I can get a place with a good wi-fi signal I could broadcast it over Skype or something like that? For people who don't feel comfortable going in person and for people who aren't local.

Once I get the materials approved by some more experts and have them in a finalized form, I'd be happy to send them to you if you want to do your own seminar(s). Open source-like.

I know you're a church leader, so if you wanted to change anything, you could just like put at the bottom, "adapted from..." yada yada and then make it more appropriate for your audience.



animalcrackers
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23 Jun 2016, 3:22 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
If you have met one Autism support group you have met one Autism support group.


Yeah. There are all kinds of Autism support groups out there (although, not usually all kinds in one geographical area -- if there is any support group for adults, even young adults in college, it may have a particular focus/purpose/ideology that isn't a good fit for every ASDer living in that area).


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animalcrackers
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23 Jun 2016, 3:30 pm

SocOfAutism wrote:
People don't want to hear from people who are doing well, and don't want to fine tune the skills of people who are doing okay. All the support services out there are for people at a crisis level, and then they only try to get them to the bare minimum, not to their highest level of functioning.


Yeah, it would not only be better for each affected individual, but also better in terms of social cost (financial and otherwise) if there were more services for people before they're in crisis (not to mention how getting people the bare minimum when they're in crisis basically just keeps on the edge of another crisis forever).

I think it's awesome that you're doing seminars.


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CommanderKeen
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24 Jun 2016, 2:46 am

I live in Maryland, so I'm not that far from Virginia. Not that I could get there. Maybe if you do a seminar in a year and a half when I put a down payment on a car lol. In terms of me expecting something from these groups, I don't expect anything and haven't for years. I'm just reminiscing on the past years in college. I've gotten better learning skills on my own, including talking to women. Keep in mind, I had an actual job before even going into the program. I quite that job just before I started college. It did take me a lot time to mature to the point where I can actually handle college work effectively. I've just been doing of reminiscing due to me finally completely college soon in a program I wish I went in years ago. If all goes well, I'll be making $30+ an hour. That's not too shabby. I just like to get others take on things and reminisce from time to time.



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24 Jun 2016, 4:30 am

I was in an ASD support group in college for awhile, I'm very high functioning, and I found it very helpful.


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24 Jun 2016, 8:52 am

Aaargh damn kicked off again and it wiped my whole response. I'm really sick of that happening.

Quote:
(not to mention how getting people the bare minimum when they're in crisis basically just keeps on the edge of another crisis forever).

I find this a lot with homelessness. I have shacked up in many a crisis refuge, and they try their best, but all giving you a dodgy bed stay for the night or even transitional crisis refuge for a few months does is prolong the inevitable return to homelessness when the time runs out. They never offer any real, long term solution to the problems that landed you on the street to begin with.
Anyway. My problem with autism support for adults is their emphasis on lying and faking. Even if you are in crisis and cannot function, all they focus on is how to teach autistics how to fake being neurotypical, and never under any circumstances do anything autistic. That is the only solution, the way they see it. So, they teach you to mimic neurotypical behaviour - they painstakingly explain spoken constructs like jokes and sarcasm, teach you to vary your expression and tone according to stimulus, how to hold your body and posture and mimic gestures and body language, how to read body language, how to endure eye contact in appropriate ways, how to engage in small talk, etc.
It really makes me sick sometimes - they're just teaching you how to be just like them, because obviously, being any other way and definitely being autistic is not allowed. In my opinion all this does is cause stress and for me, crushes my functional ability (already low) because there is no room for anything else in my mind - keeping up with this performance is a full time task. It's teaching you to be something you fundamentally are not, and in my opinion, cannot maintain. It's draining. You can never be yourself, be honest or genuine with anyone, ever, without being hyper self conscious and watching and crafting your every move and word.
Why not shift that focus onto being autism friendly? Working with people to engage successfully with their world as autistics? What's wrong with autism and diversity awareness, where differences are more accepted and this ridiculous act is no longer necessary? What's wrong with helping people to adapt to, and where needed to change to accommodate, their situations to themselves as autistics? Helping you to create a situation for yourself which is appropriate for you as a natural autistic person?
I don't see this sort of indoctrination in any other group. They don't teach hearing impaired people to fake being able to hear, teach them not to accommodate for their disability and never wear a hearing aid, never in any way let anyone know about it, or teach them to rehearse lying about their hearing and teach ways in which they can cover up the fact that they can't hear so no one knows and thinks you can hear perfectly, etc.
And yet this is what much autism "support" does, and it's acceptable.
Edit - sorry, I forget any variations in solid blocks of text and have been asked not to do this before.


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ASPartOfMe
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24 Jun 2016, 11:51 am

You make very good points.


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24 Jun 2016, 11:59 am

I didn't even know these groups exist. I remember hearing about one from a chick I met at a small event but she seemed like she was significantly lower functioning then me.