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Volume 40

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Special Report: Asperger's Syndrome Support

Hi, I'm Craig Kendall, the author of The Asperger's Syndrome Survival Guide. I continually have people asking me about Aspergers support groups and resources. So I created a list of current resources both in the U.S. and internationally.

 

Sites Listing Support Organizations

Here are two web sites that I often recommend if you are trying to find therapists, support groups, counselors or schools in your area. Each of these two sites is somewhat different but each can be very useful. The first site lists resources separately by state (for the U.S.) and lists international resources.

OASIS www.aspergersyndrome.org

U.S. Listings by state are here: www.aspergersyndrome.org/Local.aspx

U.S. National organizations: www.aspergersyndrome.org/National.aspx

Yellow Pages for Kids www.yellowpagesforkids.com

 

Find local Asperger's support groups

If you are looking for a LOCAL interest group or Aspergers support group in your area, this is a great site to help:

www.meetup.com

There are many support groups for children, teens and adults with Asperger's. Sometimes, it is easier to try to make friends with others who have the same neurological difference that you. They understand you without you having to explain. They don't judge. You can speak the same language. Many Aspie teens find it an enormous relief to be with other Aspies and find that they can make friends and be social for the first time.

Finding other socially awkward people can be one of the best bets for connecting with another person. It just works better when you are coming from the same background. There are many ways to find other Aspies to connect with, both online and off. Here are some of them.

 

Internet Aspie Communities

Internet Aspie communities can be divided into several different groups.

Message Boards

First, there are the message boards. Users converge on message boards and talk about every aspect of their lives possible. The biggest of these sites is www.WrongPlanet.net. WrongPlanet.net currently has over eight thousand members registered from all over the world.

The beauty of online Aspie message boards is that the anonymity and the medium makes it much easier to communicate. Most Aspies have a much easier time writing their thoughts rather than speaking them and therefore, benefit enormously from online Aspie communities.

People talk about their interests, rehash social situations that may not have gone so well and ask for advice about them, talk about medical problems, and ask advice about everything you can imagine. They gain support from knowing they are not alone, from knowing other people are experiencing the same things they are.

WrongPlanet.net is split into sections like General Autism Discussion, Love and Dating, Friendship and General Social Interaction, the Haven (for sensitive issues), School and College Life, and Work and Finding a Job.

There are forums for people's interests, for getting to know each other, for adult issues, and for women. A current sampling of topics on Wrong Planet at this writing are topics such as childhood fears, Asperger's resources in San Francisco, problems talking on the phone, crying in public, depression, feeling like an outcast, and whether or not tell your manager at work that you have AS.

Online discussion groups can give you practical advice and emotional support, and occasionally you even find someone who lives in your area who can become a friend offline as well as online.

Email Groups

There are also email groups, the most popular of these being Yahoo groups [groups.yahoo.com]. With a Yahoo email group, you subscribe to a particular group and get emails from other people who have also subscribed. You can read their messages and reply.

There are an abundance of Yahoo groups on autism spectrum issues – one needs to only search their website for "autism" or "aspergers" to find them.

Offline Support Groups

There exist several national AS organizations with local chapters that might be able to help.

There is an organization based in Boston called Asperger's Association of New England [www.aane.org] that runs support groups for adults with AS all throughout New England. In Boston, they not only have the usual monthly support groups, but they also have discussion groups, social activity groups, movie nights and all kinds of other activities for adults with AS.

In New York, there is an organization called GRASP [www.grasp.org], or the Global Regional Aspergers Partnership. GRASP runs support groups for adults in several different states. They have groups in New York, Long Island, Philadelphia, Virginia Beach, Denver, and other cities. Each GRASP network is independently run by someone in one of those cities who decides they want to undertake it, and gets support and guidance from the New York organization. GRASP even runs a separate group for Orthodox Jewish people in New York. GRASP runs a group for teens in the New York City area.

Local groups can be found in your area by contacting school counselors, local therapists, or other moms with kids with Asperger's to inquire.

Many groups are run by local therapists or other clinicians for teens with Asperger's. Your local branch of the Autism Society of America [www.autism-society.org] might know of some groups in your area. Or, if you can't find one already there - start your own! Run an ad in the paper or ask the school therapist for help. Also, search Google for local groups in your area.

National Disabilities Rights Network

According to their web site at www.napas.org

The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the P&A/CAP network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.

Through training and technical assistance, legal support, and legislative advocacy, the National Disability Rights Network works to create a society in which people with disabilities are afforded equality of opportunity and are able to fully participate by exercising choice and self-determination.

You may want to try this organization if you feel your loved one need help in protecting their rights under any disability laws.

Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Many state universities have a University Center on Disabilities. You may find help in finding a good therapist, get a referral for a diagnosis or other help here. The Association of University Centers on Disabilities can be reached here: www.aucd.org.

For a listing of university based centers in your state, click here: Center Listings

They also have a great acronym dictionary. Ever get confused by the myriad acronyms thrown around? Well now there is help! www.aucd.org/resources/dictionary.cfm

International

To find support groups in your country, try searching Google. Previous links that listed international support organizations are no longer working.

United Kingdom

If you are in the U.K. you may want to try contacting National Parent Partnership Network at www.parentpartnership.org.uk. Parent Partnership Services (PPS) are statutory services offering information advice and support to parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs (SEN). PPS are also able to put parents in touch with other local and national organizations. PPS have a role in making sure that parents’ views are heard and understood and that these views inform local policy and practice. PPS are based with a voluntary organization, with the Local Authority (LA) or Children’s Trust.

Another organization in the UK that can help is the Council for Disabled Children (CDC). Their site can be reached at www.ncb.org.uk/cdc/home.aspx. This organization is under the umbrella organization, National Children's Bureau www.ncb.org.uk.

ABA Therapists

For those looking for a certified ABA therapist in your area, feel free to check at the The Behavior Analyst Certification Board®, Inc. (BACB®). It is the data base from the National Applied Behavior Certification Board www.bacb.com. From the home directory, click on Consumer Information then try clicking on the "Certificant Registry"


 

This is just a small part of the answers you will need to successfully survive and thrive with Aspergers. If you are looking for additional information immediately, go to the following site: www.AspergersSociety.org.
 

Note: my newly released book on Aspergers for Teens and Young Adults discusses bullying, anxiety, depression and what to do about it. Click here for more information:

www.aspergerssociety.org/teen_book.htm

 

Note: my newly released book on Aspergers for Adults discusses how to make and keep friends, building relationships, employment, depression and the meaning of life, therapy options and much more. Click here for more information:

www.aspergerssociety.org/adult_book.htm



 

The Asperger's Syndrome Survival Guide Book Image

For additional information on Asperger's Syndrome go to the web site  www.AspergersSociety.org. There you will be able to sign up for the free Aspergers newsletter as well as get additional information on the book, The Asperger's Syndrome Survival Guide.

Craig Kendall is the father of an Asperger's child and the author of "The Asperger's Syndrome Survival Guide". You can find more information about living with Asperger's Syndrome by contacting him on this site: www.AspergersSociety.org

 

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Thank you,

Craig Kendall, Author