Below are peer support groups and social activities run by and for people on the autism spectrum.
NOTE: During the CoViD-19 crisis, all in-person meetings and events have been either canceled or moved to online venues. Hopefully they'll resume their previous schedule when it's over.
Below are pages listing the current (as of April 1, 2020) online chat meeting schedules of various autistic peer-led groups:
- Autistic in NYC: Queens discussion group (first and second Tuesday evening of the month, starting in May 2020)
- Coming soon: Various groups for autistic people who share particular categories of careers (or career goals) and/or hobbies. Contact us to let us know your hobbies and/or your profession / occupation / job (or career goal), to be informed about suitable groups when they are created.
(As of April 1, 2020, North Jersey Young Adults Making Friends has not yet announced a chat schedule.)
For all these groups/activities, it is strongly preferred that you RSVP rather than just show up unannounced, so that the organizers can know how many people will show up. Meetings/events are usually held either in rented rooms with a limited amount of space, or in a diner/restaurant (in which case the organizer needs to know how big a table to reserve). It is desirable to RSVP for online chats too, so the host can know how large a crowd to expect.
More details about each group can be found below.
Schedule info below refers to each group's traditional in-person meeting schedule, NOT its current online chat/conference schedule. THE IN-PERSON MEETINGS LISTED BELOW ARE NOT CURRENTLY HAPPENING.
Free support / self-help group meetingss:
Support / self-help group meetings held at a diner (pay for meal; otherwise free)
Free social activities
Social activities held at a restaurant/diner (pay for meal; otherwise free)
Miscellaneous social activities
Other groups and programs will be listed here soon. In the meantime, consider also Professional-led groups and social activities (listed on a separate page).
WARNING: Currently, few if any of the meeting spaces accommodate the full range of sensory sensitivities that may be found among autistic people. For example, there aren't very many reasonably-priced meeting spaces that don't use fluorescent lights. Hopefully in the future it will be possible for more groups to meet in more sensory-friendly spaces. In the meantime, see Sensory notes on the venues. If a venue is not described there, that means I don't yet know its sensory status. (It does NOT mean "No news is good news.")
Note: Except for the Queens discussion group, organizations listed on this page are not affiliated with this website.
Free support / self-help groups in Manhattan
Aspies for Social Success holds three support group meetings per month:
- A Wednesday evening meeting for adults (18+)
- A Saturday afternoon meeting for adults (18+)
- A Wednesday evening meeting for "older Aspies" (50+ or "feel old")
All these groups are for adults diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome or other autism spectrum disorders, or who think they might be on the spectrum, or who, for any reason, have difficulty with social communication, executive function, or sensory processing. The Wednesday groups usually (but not always!) meet at the Magnet Theater Training Center, 22 West 32nd Street (between Broadway and 5th Avenue). (See sensory note.) The weekend group usually (but not always!) meets at NYU, 20 Cooper Square, Conference Room 222 on the second floor (2 blocks south of the Astor Place 6 Subway Station and 1 block East and 2 blocks south of the 8th Street R and W Subway Station). (Sensory status unknown to me.) See Calendar for more info. Please RSVP via Meetup or by email. [CANCELED FOR NOW; HOLDING ONLINE CHAT MEETINGS INSTEAD.]
Free support groups in Nassau and Suffolk Counties
The Aspergers/Autism Network (AANE)'s Long Island office holds a monthly support group in Brentwood (Suffolk County) for adults (age 19+) who are on the autistm spectrum or suspect they might be. (The facilitator of that group also co-facilitates AANE-NY's group for teens in Plainview, in Nassau County.) The Brentwood adult group meets at YAI: Seeing Beyond Disability, 555 Washington Ave, Brentwood, NY. (Sensory status unknown to me.) No preregistration required. (AANE-NY also has various professional-led groups in Manhattan and on Long Island.) [CANCELED FOR NOW; HOLDING ONLINE CHAT MEETINGS INSTEAD.]
Support / self-help group meetings held at a diner (pay for meal; otherwise free) in Queens
The Autistic in NYC: Queens discussion group, affiliated with this website. Meets at the Atlantic Diner, 111-16 Atlantic Ave, in South Richmond Hill. (See sensory note. Other, quieter venues will be sought in the future as we grow and hopefully gain some funding.) Please RSVP via Meetup or via this website's contact info. [CANCELED FOR NOW; HOLDING ONLINE CHAT MEETINGS INSTEAD.]
Free social activities in Manhattan
Aspies for Social Success holds occasional free or low-cost outings to museums, cultural events, parks, beaches, etc. See Calendar for details. Please RSVP via Meetup or by email. (Sensory status largely unpredictable.) [CANCELED FOR NOW; HOLDING ONLINE CHAT MEETINGS INSTEAD.]
Social activities held at a restaurant/diner (pay for meal; otherwise free) in Manhattan
Aspies for Social Success holds two monthly "Social Events," one on a Saturday at the Skylight Diner (402 W 34th Street, at 9th Avenue) (see sensory note), and one on a Sunday at Abacky Fusion Cuisine (255 W 26th Street, near 8th Avenue). (Sensory status unknown to me.) See Calendar for details. Please RSVP via Meetup or by email. [CANCELED FOR NOW; HOLDING ONLINE CHAT MEETINGS INSTEAD.]
After-meeting dinners, usually at the Skylight Diner (402 W 34th Street, at 9th Avenue), held informally after Manhattan support group meetings of both Aspies for Social Success and the Aspergers/Autism Network (AANE), New York office. (See sensory note.) These are not formally announced on any calendar, but people at the support group meetings are usually invited to attend. [CANCELED FOR NOW.]
Social activities held at a restaurant/diner (pay for meal; otherwise free) in Central New Jersey
The Central NJ Aspies 4 Social Success Meetup Group. Normally holds meetings at the Princeton Forrestal Village Food Court, every two weeks on alternate Sundays at 2:00 PM. (Sensory status unknown to me.) [CANCELED FOR NOW; HOLDING ONLINE CHAT MEETINGS INSTEAD.]
Miscellaneous social activities in Manhattan
ARTEMIS -- Autistic Women & Femmes in NYC. Holds online meetings (via Skype) as well as in-person events at a variety of venues. (I currently have no info about them other than the public parts of their private Meetup group.) [CANCELED FOR NOW EXCEPT FOR ONLINE CHAT MEETINGS.]
Miscellaneous social activities in northern New Jersey
North Jersey Young Adults Making Friends in Wayne, NJ. (I currently have no info about them other than the public parts of their private Meetup group, which I am not eligible to join.) [CANCELED FOR NOW.]
Sensory notes on the venues
The Skylight Diner has okay lighting, according to my boyfriend who is moderately sensitive both to standard fluorescent lights and to CFG bulbs. It also is usually not very crowded, but has the usual noises of a diner.
The Atlantic Diner has okay lighting, according to my boyfriend who is moderately sensitive both to standard fluorescent lights and to CFG bulbs. It also is relatively uncrowded, but there are various possibly-distracting sounds.
Featured page: Where to get an ASD evaluation as an adult.
It's not easy to find psychotherapists who are qualified to diagnose autism spectrum disorder, especially in adults.
On the above-linked page is a preliminary list of places where some members of local support groups obtained their diagnoses. Soon this list will be updated to include many more places and, for those already listed, more information about insurance, other reduced-cost options, etc.