Typical structure of meetings of the Queens discussion group
We will aim to follow the structure below whenever five or more people show up, as is usually the case. If fewer people show up, we will be more informal, while still spending at least some time on the main topic and still attempting to pay attention to the needs of all attendees including newcomers. [Edited on 4/29/2020 to temporarily remove items not applicable to online meetings.]
Before the meeting time and during the first ten minutes or so, general getting-to-know-each-other conversation. (The facilitator will aim to make sure no one is being ignored unless they specifically want to be left alone.)
Round of introductions, if there are any people present who don't yet know each other. Everyone says at least their name. Everyone who is not yet a familiar face to at least one of the other attendees (from previous meetings of either this group or another support group such as AFSS or AANE) then says whatever they feel like saying about themselves. The amount of time allowed for this per person will vary depending on how many people are present, such that the total time spent on introductions will be, hopefully, limited to no more than a half hour.
If everyone has previously met everyone else, we'll skip the introductions (except maybe just to say our names) and just spend about ten more minutes on getting-to-know-each-other conversation .
Optional: If there are any pressing matters that anyone wants to talk about, regarding goings-on in one's personal life, these are discussed now. We will try to limit this to a half hour.
Discussion of main topic, which will usually have been announced on our Meetup site and in reminder emails, with details on the Autistic NYC blog. Usually an hour will be allotted for this; possibly less if there was discussion of pressing personal matters earlier.
General support-group-style discussion, for any remaining time.
Often we will have a series of several meetings centered around a common theme. For example, for several meetings during the late summer and fall of 2019, the main topic was how to be assertive without being aggressive, using printouts of web-based tutorials and role-playing exercises. During the winter of 2019-2020, the main topic was friendship, discussing these questions, based primarily on our personal experiences.
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.