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Mona Pereth
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28 May 2019, 8:31 am

Here, in the thread who here on WP has a sense of purpose in life?:

auntblabby wrote:
^^^^my inept attempts at "building up the autistic community" was like trying to herd cats. i trust that you are more talented at this than i am.

I'd be interested to hear what kinds of attempts you made and what lessons could perhaps be learned from them.

In the meantime, for one of the things I'm considering doing, see the thread An alternative employment model for autistic programmers?. (My hope is that other people will then build similar groups pertaining to other professions.)

Later, I'll be posting some thoughts in this thread about what other kinds of organizations I think the autistic community needs, and some thoughts on how they could perhaps be built.


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- Finally diagnosed with ASD in May 2019, after having suspected it for over ten years, and after having deeply explored the autism community for over one year while waiting for and obtaining diagnosis.
- In longterm relationship with boyfriend who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2001.
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- My "Getting to know each other" thread: Hello from NYC.


auntblabby
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29 May 2019, 4:34 am

in my last aspie group, it was divided between those with renumerative talents [programming, maths, hard sciences] and those of us lacking any earthly talents. when the talented ones went away to join others of like mind, what was left of the group seemed to evaporate. i was clueless as to what to do about this. a lot of the other members didn't really want to interact, to be honest, preferring to bury their noses in their respective smartphones. a brief rule about no smartphones on the table resulted in sullen silence. threw up hands.



magz
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29 May 2019, 4:43 am

I think "herding cats" is actually an excellent metaphor for trying to manage an "autistic community".
A lot of autism is about not really being social.


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auntblabby
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29 May 2019, 4:49 am

i wish i had the talents otherwise, to have made a different result.



magz
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29 May 2019, 4:54 am

auntblabby wrote:
i wish i had the talents otherwise, to have made a different result.

To herd cats, you need to gain superpowers of the CrazyCatLady.


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auntblabby
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29 May 2019, 5:04 am

magz wrote:
auntblabby wrote:
i wish i had the talents otherwise, to have made a different result.

To herd cats, you need to gain superpowers of the CrazyCatLady.

i take solace from the fact that almost all the other local aspie groups also evaporated after just a few years. only seattle square pegs still seems to be in existence as of may 29, '19.



Mona Pereth
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29 May 2019, 5:24 pm

Here in New York City, there is a group that has been around for a while: Aspies for Social Success. I'm not sure exactly how old the group is, but the oldest blog post on the website is dated November 7, 2015, so the group is at least that old if not older. I've been attending AFSS peer support group meetings about once a month since spring 2018. Although I have some minor issues with the way the group is run -- nothing is perfect -- the group is thriving, and on the whole I recommend it. And, as far as I can tell, it will probably continue to be around for a long time. It is run by some older, retired Aspies of the talented kind.


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- Finally diagnosed with ASD in May 2019, after having suspected it for over ten years, and after having deeply explored the autism community for over one year while waiting for and obtaining diagnosis.
- In longterm relationship with boyfriend who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2001.
- Long history of participation in various oddball subcultures.
- My "Getting to know each other" thread: Hello from NYC.


Mona Pereth
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29 May 2019, 6:28 pm

auntblabby wrote:
in my last aspie group, it was divided between those with renumerative talents [programming, maths, hard sciences] and those of us lacking any earthly talents. when the talented ones went away to join others of like mind, what was left of the group seemed to evaporate.

Did the talented ones form a new separate group, or did they just decide to hang out informally with similar friends?

auntblabby wrote:
i was clueless as to what to do about this. a lot of the other members didn't really want to interact, to be honest, preferring to bury their noses in their respective smartphones. a brief rule about no smartphones on the table resulted in sullen silence. threw up hands.

They must have wanted SOME interaction, or they wouldn't have bothered to attend in the first place.

Did your group meetings have any kind of structure? Your description gives me the impression that it didn't. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) If there were more structure, perhaps the members would have had more of an idea of what kinds of things to say and when? For me, and for many autistic people, the hardest kind of social situation is an unstructured, unfocused group conversation.

The Aspies for Social Success support group meetings begin with a round of introductions, which is followed by a discussion on a pre-announced topic/"theme". Discussion is not limited to the topic, but the topic provides a jumping-off point. (Personally I would prefer that the discussion be MORE focused on the topic than it is, but the amount of structure it does have is apparently good enough for most attendees and good enough to keep the group going.)


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- Finally diagnosed with ASD in May 2019, after having suspected it for over ten years, and after having deeply explored the autism community for over one year while waiting for and obtaining diagnosis.
- In longterm relationship with boyfriend who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2001.
- Long history of participation in various oddball subcultures.
- My "Getting to know each other" thread: Hello from NYC.


Mona Pereth
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29 May 2019, 6:49 pm

auntblabby wrote:
i take solace from the fact that almost all the other local aspie groups also evaporated after just a few years. only seattle square pegs still seems to be in existence as of may 29, '19.

Yes, building a lasting group of any kind, especially for autistic people, is a challenge, and it's no surprise that some first attempts fizzled out. But it can be done. Hopefully it's possible for autistic people elsewhere to learn from the successes of the groups that currently exist in both Seattle and NYC.

Is there anyone on Wrong Planet who is from Seattle and who can be invited to join this thread to tell us how the Seattle group works?


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- Finally diagnosed with ASD in May 2019, after having suspected it for over ten years, and after having deeply explored the autism community for over one year while waiting for and obtaining diagnosis.
- In longterm relationship with boyfriend who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2001.
- Long history of participation in various oddball subcultures.
- My "Getting to know each other" thread: Hello from NYC.


auntblabby
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29 May 2019, 7:34 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
Is there anyone on Wrong Planet who is from Seattle and who can be invited to join this thread to tell us how the Seattle group works?

one former WPer who no longer posts here, was a founding member.



auntblabby
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29 May 2019, 7:38 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
Did the talented ones form a new separate group, or did they just decide to hang out informally with similar friends? Did your group meetings have any kind of structure? Your description gives me the impression that it didn't. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) If there were more structure, perhaps the members would have had more of an idea of what kinds of things to say and when? For me, and for many autistic people, the hardest kind of social situation is an unstructured, unfocused group conversation. The Aspies for Social Success support group meetings begin with a round of introductions, which is followed by a discussion on a pre-announced topic/"theme". Discussion is not limited to the topic, but the topic provides a jumping-off point. (Personally I would prefer that the discussion be MORE focused on the topic than it is, but the amount of structure it does have is apparently good enough for most attendees and good enough to keep the group going.)

we followed a loose "roberts rules of order" type of protocol, not that different from your description of Aspies for Social Success.



Mona Pereth
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29 May 2019, 9:08 pm

auntblabby wrote:
we followed a loose "roberts rules of order" type of protocol, not that different from your description of Aspies for Social Success.

What did your group do? What kinds of discussions or other activities?

Also, how did your group recruit new members?

AFSS recruits new members via a combination of its website plus other online outreach via Meetup and Facebook, plus monthly announcements by the main leader at a therapist-led free support group for autistic adults run by the Aspergers and High Functioning Autism Association (AHA), an NT-led organization primarily for parents and professionals. (AHA is now merging with AANE.)


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- Finally diagnosed with ASD in May 2019, after having suspected it for over ten years, and after having deeply explored the autism community for over one year while waiting for and obtaining diagnosis.
- In longterm relationship with boyfriend who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2001.
- Long history of participation in various oddball subcultures.
- My "Getting to know each other" thread: Hello from NYC.


auntblabby
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29 May 2019, 9:30 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
auntblabby wrote:
we followed a loose "roberts rules of order" type of protocol, not that different from your description of Aspies for Social Success.

What did your group do? What kinds of discussions or other activities? Also, how did your group recruit new members? AFSS recruits new members via a combination of its website plus other online outreach via Meetup and Facebook, plus monthly announcements by the main leader at a therapist-led free support group for autistic adults run by the Aspergers and High Functioning Autism Association (AHA), an NT-led organization primarily for parents and professionals. (AHA is now merging with AANE.)

we were affiliated with square pegs seattle, an offshoot called square pegs olympia. square pegs did the announcements. our group was for adult aspies and their partners. we were basically a sort of support group, we didn't really do group activities. just a once per month meetup and comparing notes. nothing fancy. had a hard time getting people to agree to do anything more. "herding cats."



Mona Pereth
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30 May 2019, 8:26 pm

Googling "Square Pegs Seattle," I found the following news story: ‘Square Pegs’ Helps Autistic People Socialize, The Daily Beast, April 2, 2018.


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- Finally diagnosed with ASD in May 2019, after having suspected it for over ten years, and after having deeply explored the autism community for over one year while waiting for and obtaining diagnosis.
- In longterm relationship with boyfriend who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2001.
- Long history of participation in various oddball subcultures.
- My "Getting to know each other" thread: Hello from NYC.


auntblabby
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30 May 2019, 10:10 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
Googling "Square Pegs Seattle," I found the following news story: ‘Square Pegs’ Helps Autistic People Socialize, The Daily Beast, April 2, 2018.

that is one branch, seattle and surrounding communities at least had [as of when i last was involved, in 2016] several branches. a member of my group drove me to one seattle meetup [3 hours north of me], it was a cocktail party. lotta professional/middle class people there. i was sorta an outlier in that regard. not practical for me to have driven there myself, i can drive to the county seat and back for groceries but any longer a drive takes up all my spoons and then some.