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Social groups for autistic people

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by As sweet as-pie, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. As sweet as-pie

    As sweet as-pie Well-Known Member

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    I just received my official diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as an information pack including information about resources and groups in my area for autistic people. I don't have any friends and haven't had any since I left high school, even then I struggled socially, and I often feel very left out and lonely.

    The idea of one of these social groups was exciting at first and I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet people and make friends.

    However, that idea quickly became deflated when I realised that this would obviously involve socialising, something I cannot do. Ironically, the only way that I will become confident again with socialising is to practice it, but I'm in a position at the moment where I can't as it has just been too long since I did and I don't feel able to at all. Even thinking about it makes me very confused and overwhelmed. Most of these social groups meet once a week and go out to a place such as bowling, the cinema, a restaurant, etc.

    So if I was to go, I would have to meet this group of people, who I've never met before, I have no idea of their ages, genders and how many there are, at this place, where I've never been before, and it would be a different place every week, and I would have to socialise with them.

    I can't be the only autistic person to find this overwhelming, as the only reason I find this to be a problem is because I'm autistic. I can't deal with new situations or socialising so both at once is just impossible.

    How do other autistic people possibly do this? It's a catch 22. I understand the people who are already going to these groups are probably socialising every day at school or work etc but how would I even think about socialising with others if I'm this out of practice?

    I feel very hopeless. I want friends so desperately but I have no idea of how to start because I can't be in new situations, especially with other people.
     
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  2. toothless

    toothless this is mr shadow,my support cat

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    i attend mencaps gateway club once every two weeks,its for people with intellectual disability a few of us also have varying levels of autism.
    i also attend better things LGBT club[basically,better things broke off from mencap as it felt the name was patronising so in manchester mencap is known as better things],again its for people with intellectual disability.
    at the LGBT club,i make the effort to stay in reality and support my mates,i am very bad at socialising i just use a small basic script, and we chillout together,theres no pressure on socialising as we all suck at it.

    at the gateway club,i am lost within my own world,i sit at one of the tables and do crafts or rock with my teddy bear,rarely i will become available to reality and i will then use my basic social script,it does the job,but again in places like this we are chillingout together,we might not all be speaking but its social input all the same you dont have to talk,just do some activities and see what you think, im not aspie/HFA so i dont know what social expectations aspies would have at a club but i am sure they wouldnt expect much,they will be socially weak like yourself so they wont have great expectations.

    just try it out,it might expand your life a bit,thats why i do it,to try and get more of a mainstream life.
     
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  3. xudo

    xudo something

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    I can completely understand the overwhelming aspect at the thought of socialising. There is a similar thing for people on the spectrum in Cardiff that I'm hoping to attend. On the upside for me, my husband is also on the spectrum so he is able to go too, however there are some groups that we wouldn't both be interested in attending, so I would have to go alone. While the thought of this terrifies me, the way I look at it is that I am not going to be the only person in the group to be feeling this way and as it's a group specifically for people on the spectrum, it's not going to be expected that everyone would just jump in and become besties from the word go.
     
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  4. Aspie_rin

    Aspie_rin Well-Known Member

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    One thing that helps me sometimes is to remember that I can always stop at any time. You can go just one time to see how it is, and leave early if you need to, and you don't have to tag along every week either.
     
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  5. kay

    kay Well-Known Member

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    Do you like hiking? It's is a great way to socialize. Being outside is relaxing and you can control how much socializing you want to do by simply walking faster or slower than the rest of the group.
     
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  6. SPEED RACER

    SPEED RACER Well-Known Member

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    I feel bored, isolated, alone, depressed, overwhelmed, and frustrated it is just so [email protected]#%&%$ great being a Aspie.
     
  7. EstimatedProphet

    EstimatedProphet Rising up to Paradise

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    Contact the group organizer by e-mail before the event and tell him/her that you are new to the group, explain your situation exactly as you did above, and ask if he/she could maybe meet 15 minutes or so before the event starts, to get acquainted, so at least you'll know somebody at the event!

    I always did this in new situations even before I was diagnosed -- not realizing it was compensating.

    The group organizer will be glad that you reached out and eager to make you feel included! It's a group for people like you--they WANT you to come and feel comfortable. Otherwise, take Aspie_rin's advice and leave whenever you want.

    One other thought for you: when you meet a new person, that person knows all of their own flaws and weaknesses and doesn't know any of your flaws and weaknesses. And that person WANTS to like you. Who among us meets people hoping to dislike them? Social anxiety is hard to overcome, but it's worth it. You'll see.
     
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  8. Grandmother B

    Grandmother B Active Member

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    You can find help on www.aspergerexperts.com. They have ASD and understand all about these issues. One thing they talk about is being in defense mode, where things are so overwhelming that you shut down. They have ways to cope with that and get past it. I pray you can find some relief and some friends!
     
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  9. Tribble

    Tribble New Member

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    There is a meeting for autistics once a month near where I live, and i hate the time leading up to it for the same reasons mentioned. But, how am I to get better if I don't get out and work on my socialization skills?

    Meeting others like myself has been very informative, getting to see it in others helps put my own autism in perspective. The funny part about meeting others IRL is that just about everyone else was also shy and didn't know how to fit in. I would advise against going into it expecting to make a new best friend or whatever, as everyone else is going to have the same basic problem as you - autism. Most of them will be as afraid of you as you are of them!

    Go to better understand yourself. And if you happen to click with someone , then bonus.

    (I just popped my first post cherry, w00t!)
     
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  10. Tara Gwen

    Tara Gwen New Member

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  11. Tara Gwen

    Tara Gwen New Member

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    I find socialising quite difficult. I was displaced from all my friends in a housing crisis and found refuge in a Northern Steel city which is utterly overwhelming. My life companion of over 31 years is in a nursing home far away with no memory of me or recognition of who I am, and I am dreadfully isolated. An Autism consultant psychiatrist reckons I have suspected higher functioning autism spectrum disorder and has written to my GP telling her this. I am on a very long waiting list for official confirmation of this. A friend with the same diagnosis recognises my autism. When I was in a mental hospital at 17 they diagnosed schizophrenia, but a senior GP reviewing the case said this was incorrect. In those days people with autism often got labelled as schizophrenic since the psychiatrists were not looking for autism and withdrawal and social incompetence got diagnosed incorrectly. I want new friends and if possible a new life companion. But my capacity to socialise is very limited, so I end up very lonely. I want to move to a smaller town such as Todmorden in west Yorkshire, or nearby Hebden Bridge, where I am not overwhelmed by crowds, noise, roads and buildings How can I find new friends? Maybe someone else also with higher functioning autism would be a good friend? But how to meet. I do not trust the internet. There are sharks, such as the acid bath case etc. How to be safe? So I do understand the dilemma only too well.
     
  12. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member

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    Tara,
    www.meetup.com
    - good website to meet people based on interests. This is purely a website for where to go for events only. When you go to the events, you meet these people in-person. Meet people based on what you're interested in, this is the best way to develop your social life. Also, go to and try as many groups as possible. That way, if one group doesn't work out, you still have others to try. This may help build your confidence as long as you are okay with many groups possibly not working out and understanding that chances are, it's not your fault that it didn't or is no longer working out.
     
  13. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member

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    Usually, there are facilitators for these groups to help you get used to the social groups. Talk with the facilitator(s) beforehand, and tell them your tendencies, and they may be able to help you out. Keep in mind that each individual's needs are different. Some people may just need the opportunities to get together, and doing the same thing may not always be best for them. If worth a try to check out as many as you can and feel them out.
     
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