Autistic Women's Support and Social Group
Meetings this month and next
The meetings listed below are online chat meetings (text-based). To view the meeting details (including a link to our chatroom), you must first join our Meetup.com group (and be logged in to Meetup.com) if you have not done so already.
About the Autistic Women's Support and Social Group
The Autistic Women's Support and Social Group is an autistic peer-led group of autistic and similarly neurodivergent women (18+), where "women" is defined inclusively (trans and nonbinary welcome).
Aims of the group include the following:
To discuss issues that tend to be specific to autistic women, or at least more frequent issues for autistic women than for autistic men.
To help our members find compatible friends, either within our group itself or elsewhere, if they desire friends. (Many, though not all, autistic people do desire friends but have difficulty finding good potential friends and developing friendships.)
In addition to just providing an opportunity to meet other autistic women, we will also have occasional group discussions on how to develop friendships in ways that work with, rather than against, our autistic traits, and in ways that can help us avoid social burnout.
To help our members feel -- and actually be -- safer in other groups within the larger autistic adult community (subculture), as well as in our own group.
Because most all-gender autistic/neurodivergent support groups and social groups (in-person ones, at least) tend to be overwhelmingly male-dominated, autistic women are often afraid to attend these groups because they feel feel isolated and unsafe. Therefore, one of our aims is to provide a place where women can get to know each other and form friendships with each other, outside of the predominantly-male meetings, so we can be less isolated and hence safer when we do attend, together, majority-male group meetings as well as our own group meetings.
Also we will eventually develop a set of recommended guidelines for leaders of majority-male groups, to help make their groups safer for women (while at the same time honoring other ethical principles too, such as finding the right balance between "innocent until proven guilty" and protecting members from abuses by other members).
Similarly to the original aims of the Queens Discussion Group: To work together on developing what we call autistic-friendly social skills, i.e. the kinds of skills that will help us get along well with each other. These include the purely verbal (spoken or written) aspects of:
- Assertiveness (how to be assertive without being aggressive).
- Active listening.
- Giving and receiving constructive criticism.
- Conflict resolution.
- Being alert to possible differences in perception and needs.
These are very different from the kinds of "social skills" that revolve around "masking" (blending in with NTs). It so happens, however, that the above-listed "autistic-friendly social skills" are ALSO very useful - even required -- in many jobs these days.
[Note: We do not offer professional training in these skills. Rather, we will be learning them together, using web-based tutorials and role-playing exercises. "Autistic-friendly social skills" naturally lend themselves to learning in a non-professional autistic-only self-help context, whereas the more "blending-in-with-NTs" types of "social skills" are probably best learned from NTs, via either therapy or a drama class, if one chooses to learn them.]
To discuss our experiences with psychotherapy, psychiatry, and the mental health establishment.
Our immediate aim will be to help each other find the best-informed psychotherapists and/or psychiatrists we can. However, because most psychotherapists and psychiatrists know so little about adult autism, especially in women, we aim eventually to produce some resources to help educate psychotherapists and psychiatrists as well. So at least some of our members, if they so desire, will be encouraged to write up their personal stories, to be included as part of an eventual resource for therapists, to help them better understand the needs of autistic women. (Any such eventual future pulbication of personal stories will, of course, be either anonymous/pseudonymous or credited to the original author, as permitted by the author.)
We aim to be a demographically diverse group, welcoming women of all ages (18+), races, national origins, and sexual orientations, and we welcome transgender and nonbinary people.
Meeting times will be listed, for now, on the Meetup site of Autistic in NYC / Queens.