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Local Asperger's support group

Sherlock77

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
So... This week I signed up for an Asperger's support group in my city... Not that this forum isn't enough :cool:

I believe it's meant to be a support/social gathering, sadly still online, but I'll still give it a try... I have actually thought of getting more involved with an Austism society here, but baby steps first and just simply attend this group on Thursday this week, and perhaps some networking...

It might be interesting to connect with people locally, where I can possibly spend time in person with other people at some point, that's the way I like to be

Wish me luck, I think... :rolleyes: And it is supposed to be for higher functioning people only
 

Luca

charm & chaos
V.I.P Member
I hope it goes well! I've wondered about those groups myself, there are some in my area.

"Controversial" mini-rant:
I'm always wary of attending groups like that irl because I don't have the tendency toward social awkwardness that a lot of autistic people have. I'm actually very outgoing and personable. I'm worried that I would be the only one who is "comfortable" socially and that others would just be standoffish and introverted and wouldn't be *as* able to read social cues or keep a conversation going.

This isn't coming out of nowhere or meant to be disparaging either, this is my experience with a lot of my autistic friends irl. Most of my autistic friends are very awkward and reserved and hard to keep conversations afloat with. Ironically some of my friends that I know for a fact are NT, are easier to vibe with (although I have extensive friendship-dynamic issues with other NT friends that I post about from time to time.) But I understand that not every autistic person is socially awkward or introverted either. There are plenty on here who are not. There are even some other extroverts on here.

The only thing that's noticeably "off" about me in person is that I'm not very articulate compared to how I come across in writing and sometimes I'm hesitant to speak much, which I describe sometimes as being "partially verbal." I do warm up to people after a while and then I don't shut up lol.
But I'm not "shy" or awkward and people usually describe me as "easy to get along with" and "approachable." I have even been described as "charming" and "bubbly" and "charismatic" and "amiable" by people who I'm close with... I honestly think most of those are just descriptions of a typical extrovert, lol. I don't think I'm super different from other "extreme extroverts."
And while some autistic people are really uncomfortable in nightclubs and concert venues and hotels and restaurants and other "social" places, I thrive in those settings. So, I'm very extroverted. Lol
I do have moments where I don't want to talk or interact at all. Everyone has a limit and I do get burned out.

I'm not saying I'm "better" than anyone... I just don't have some of the same difficulties. I mentioned "privilege" in another thread recently and I think it applies here too. I'm aware of it and I don't use it as an excuse to look down on anyone. At the end of the day everyone is struggling with something and we're all trying our best.
 

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
I hope it goes well! I've wondered about those groups myself, there are some in my area.

"Controversial" mini-rant:
I'm always wary of attending groups like that irl because I don't have the tendency toward social awkwardness that a lot of autistic people have. I'm actually very outgoing and personable. I'm worried that I would be the only one who is "comfortable" socially and that others would just be standoffish and introverted and wouldn't be *as* able to read social cues or keep a conversation going.

This isn't coming out of nowhere or meant to be disparaging either, this is my experience with a lot of my autistic friends irl. Most of my autistic friends are very awkward and reserved and hard to keep conversations afloat with. Ironically some of my friends that I know for a fact are NT, are easier to vibe with (although I have extensive friendship-dynamic issues with other NT friends that I post about from time to time.) But I understand that not every autistic person is socially awkward or introverted either. There are plenty on here who are not. There are even some other extroverts on here.

The only thing that's noticeably "off" about me in person is that I'm not very articulate compared to how I come across in writing and sometimes I'm hesitant to speak much, which I describe sometimes as being "partially verbal." I do warm up to people after a while and then I don't shut up lol.
But I'm not "shy" or awkward and people usually describe me as "easy to get along with" and "approachable." I have even been described as "charming" and "bubbly" and "charismatic" and "amiable" by people who I'm close with... I honestly think most of those are just descriptions of a typical extrovert, lol. I don't think I'm super different from other "extreme extroverts."
And while some autistic people are really uncomfortable in nightclubs and concert venues and hotels and restaurants and other "social" places, I thrive in those settings. So, I'm very extroverted. Lol
I do have moments where I don't want to talk or interact at all. Everyone has a limit and I do get burned out.

I'm not saying I'm "better" than anyone... I just don't have some of the same difficulties. I mentioned "privilege" in another thread recently and I think it applies here too. I'm aware of it and I don't use it as an excuse to look down on anyone. At the end of the day everyone is struggling with something and we're all trying our best.
That is true. We may exel in some areas, but then there is another area that we struggle with. I can mask social but then l come home and agonize over it. Lol
 

VictorR

Random Member
V.I.P Member
I've attended a number of virtual events, and with different organizers, and I would really recommend you attend more than one, because, especially if there's no financial cost or commitment to join a certain number of sessions, the people who might drop in to any given session can vary greatly. The moderator / facilitator's skills will often impact where things go.

In my experience, most participants tend to fall into one of the following categories (my apologies for categorizing and for the naming of the types - I am bad at this and mean no offense to anyone):

1. "Classic Aspie"
These are your folks who are typically introverted, don't talk much, but can go on forever if something of interest to them is raised in discussion. They're usually there for the social interaction, and might be looking to validate their experiences and thoughts, especially for the older members who are self-identified. They may or may not be looking to make friends or connections. The moderator's main role with these participants is to gently let them know if/when they should share the floor with others.

2. "Hanging Out"
These are your folks who are just there to listen. The only time you might hear them speak is during introductions and to pass during the end of the session roundtable.

3. "Extrovert"
Like Luca, these types tend to be able to comfortable with socializing in general and already have, unlike the others, a significant friend/acquaintance/social network. They tend to show up out of curiosity, or to ask questions about something specific (like asking for workplace accommodations) and so might only show up on an itinerant basis.

4. "I Need to Talk About My Trauma"
These folk often have a lot of trauma and no friends to talk to in real life. They see the group as an opportunity to talk (rant?) about their trauma to get things off their chest so to say, and may often steer the conversation that way. Moderators need to be careful in finding the balance between letting someone share their experience and when to step in to recommend support services and to steer the conversation away. I've been in sessions that more or less devolved into an extended pity party. That's not necessarily good for anyone, especially since some topics can be triggering and bring back unwanted memories for others.

5. "Socially Awkward"
These folks are desparately looking for friends, but have no idea how to do so, and their conversations tend to be very socially inappropriate and cross boundaries, even in an autistic group. Their manner of conversation can be akin to an interrogation. Sometimes things get really awkward as they're trying to engage people in the general chat and also PM'ing people directly. The moderator may have their hands full with ensuring that they don't make other participants uncomfortable. I feel really bad as these folks need help, but a chat group isn't going to be the place for that.

I'll give an example of a "Socially Awkward" type conversation where I'll call them X (and this is via PM):

X: Hi Victor! Nice to meet you. My name is X. I'm autistic. I'm 21 and I'm a student at UCSF. I'm studying physics. I live in Oakland.
V: Hi X. Nice to meet you too.
X: Where do you live?
V: I'm in the Bay Area too.
X: Where exactly?
V: Near the middle.
X: Which city?
V: (getting annoyed) San Mateo.
X: I live with my parents and my one sister. She is 25. Do you live with your parents? Do you have a brother or sister? How old are are they?
V: (really annoyed. In the meantime, in the main discussions, X is similarly trying to get one of the participants to name the exact location they're in and the moderator is having to remind them that people are free to participate as they wish and are comfortable, and if someone seems uncomfortable in answering any given question, especially in regards to their location, which is also a matter of privacy, that we should refrain from persisting and respect their privacy.)
X: (repeats questions to me)
V: (ignores)
 

velociraptor

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I think I fall under 1, classic aspie. Don't talk a lot unless it's something that is a passion for me. Good luck shutting me up then. I'm much more sociable online than in person.

Support groups are a mixed bag for me. AA has worked out well - I've got over 30 years sober there and I can socialize well enough at meetings after all this time. I was unfortunately blessed with schizophrenia in addition to being an aspie. The SZ support groups have all been train wrecks. I'm so high functioning that the other schizophrenics don't want me around. I'm a big fat example of all the things most of them won't have (spouse, kid, career, fun lifestyle, etc.) and it's painful for them. I just avoid those. The few aspie functions I've been to have been ... interesting. Everybody at them seems to get on everyone else's nerves because no one does things quite right by our own standards.

I dunno. Good luck @Sherlock77 - hope it goes well.
 

Sherlock77

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
So...

I went (online), it was good... Only four other people, apparently they normally get 15 to 20 people but an e-mail wasn't sent out properly...

I would go to it again, would still prefer meeting in person, which I'm sure they used to do... I suspect the dynamic when more people are present will be quite different, I will certainly try it again next month and/or in the future
 

Ken

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I'm always wary of attending groups like that irl because I don't have the tendency toward social awkwardness that a lot of autistic people have. I'm actually very outgoing and personable. I'm worried that I would be the only one who is "comfortable" socially and that others would just be standoffish and introverted and wouldn't be *as* able to read social cues or keep a conversation going.
I have recently attended an in person autistic meetup group. There was 7 attending. Sometimes there are as many as 20.

What you are saying is absolutely a true issue in a normal social setting, however, in this group of autistic's, it wasn't. I think that is because everyone felt included. No one felt judged. We were all equals, among peers, thus free to express without fear of judgement. It was a great meeting, everyone sharing and supporting. Some were standoffish at first, but became totally comfortable and talkative after just a few minutes. I think it is all about your audience. The meeting was very helpful and even inspiring.

This same meetup group also has on-line meets. I never attend those because I don't have the equipment for on-line connections. Besides, I feel that in-person autistic meetings are very helpful, especially for the extreme introverts - like me. It is a great relief to be able to converse comfortably without fear of judgment, or misunderstanding and to talk to others who share the same sensitivities and anxieties as me.
 

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