Support for Parents and Family Members of Adults with ASD

AANE in-person support groups are designed for Parents and other family members of an adult with Asperger's or a related profile. These are small, caring communities in which the same parents and family members meet over the course of six months. Not only do other parents in the group help solve some of your problems, some of them may become lasting connections in your support network.

Parents and family members of adults with AS, who are looking to connect with a broad and ever changing set of other parents and family members should join the AANE online forum for parents of adults. While many of the forum’s members live in New England, an increasing number of members come from other parts of the US.

In-Person Support Groups for Parents of Adults

AANE parent of adult support groups are designed for parents who want to build an ongoing connection with a small community of parents. Each group meets face-to-face once per month, usually from 6:30-8:00 PM on a designated day (.e.g. Third Thursday of the month).  Each group meets 6 times over the course of 6 months.  Group members need to register in advance and membership is limited to 12 individuals.  Each group is facilitated by an AANE staff member.  Participants must be parents or adult family members of a post-high school adult 19 years or older with Asperger’s or a related profile.

Common topics of discussion are:

  • Now that your child is an adult, how do you parent without power?
  • How do you keep the lines of communication open?
  • How can you help your child find and sustain employment or live independently?
  • How to get your adult child expand his or her social network?
  • What local providers, programs, and services have other parents used and what were the results?
  • How have other parents tapped into health, income, housing and other benefits?

Parents also rely on these support groups to:

  • Give voice to their concerns and frustrations
  • Acknowledge both hard-won and unexpected victories.

Registration is $90 for the first participant and $45 for additional members of the same family.  These support groups are not subsidized by a grant and are self-funding. Financial waivers or discounts are limited. Contact Michele Cantara (michele.cantara@aane.org) for more information.

AANE is offering the following parent of adult support groups October 2017-March 2018:

LocationFor Parents with Adult
Children who are:
Day of MonthFacilitator
Watertown, MAOver 27 years old1st ThursMichele Cantara
Watertown, MA19-26 years old3rd WedsMichele Cantara
Chelmsford, MA19-32 years old1st TuesMichele Cantara
Westwood, MA19-26 years old1st TuesLynne Mitchell
Westwood, MA19-26 years old3rd TuesLynne Mitchell
Peabody, MA19-32 years old2nd ThursGail Kastorf
Bedford, NHOver 19 years old3rd TuesJennifer DeSanctis-Narby

Registration for these groups is currently closed.

AANE plans to offer another set of Parent of Adult Support Groups April-September 2018.  Registration for those groups will open in February/March 2018. Click here to fill out a form to be notified when registration opens.


Parent of Adult Support Group Facilitators

Michele Cantara, Director of Family Support Adult Services, AANE
Michele is the mother of a young adult with ASD who is taking college classes and working at two part-time jobs. In college, Michele majored in Psycholinguistics, which helped her recognize her son's social interaction issues early on, and started her down a path of advocating for parents. In 1998 she co-founded the Massachusetts Special Education Parents Advisory Council (MASSPAC).  Michele also spent 35 years in the high-tech industry, and she now applies her well-honed consulting and change management skills to parent coaching sessions and support groups at AANE. Michele facilitates groups in Watertown and Chelmsford.

Jennifer DeSanctis-Narby, AANE LifeMap Coach and Group Facilitator
Jennifer, a native New Yorker, moved to New Hampshire several years ago and loves it.  She started at AANE as LifeMAP coach in 2014 and has facilitated our Bedford NH parent of adult support group since 2015.  Coaching LifeMap clients and leading parent groups is her passion. She says, "it's a pleasure spreading the word of AANE's fine work throughout NH, and I'm proud to be part of such a great team.  My LifeMap clients and the parents I work with teach me so much! They are eager to learn, are open to trying new things, and light up when goals big and small are met."  Jennifer believes her work at AANE is by far the most rewarding job she has ever held.  She is constantly amazed by parents' commitment to their child's future, but she also recognizes that this commitment can be all-consuming and draining.  She has a motto, "What else can go right?"  She believes this "attitude adjustment" can yield great results -- once you begin to focus on what is going right in your life, significant positive changes can occur.

Gail Kastorf
Gail Kastorf currently serves as the AANE Grant Writer and facilitates groups for adults with AS and their parents on the MA North Shore. During her 11 years at AANE, she has also assisted adults to understand how Asperger's Syndrome may impact their work life and discussed strategies to increase success on the job. She has provided training on AS to educators, career counselors, vocational rehabilitation counselors and employers. She has a M.Ed. in Counseling from Northeastern University. Gail facilitates a support group in Peabody.

Lynne Mitchell
Lynne Mitchell facilitates support groups in Westwood, MA

AANE-Sponsored Support Group for Parents of Adults in Other Parts of New England

AANE also sponsors face-to-face support groups for parents of adults in Rhode Island and Maine. You must contact the group leaders directly to sign up. For East Providence, RI, contact Toby Liebowitz at Tobyaane@gmail.com or 401-490-0574 (please leave a message and Toby will call you back). For Portland, ME, contact Monique Meyers at Monique.D.Meyers@gmail.com.

AANE Online Discussion Group for Parents of Adults

We have listened to your requests for an online group specifically for parents of adults (including young adults through all other phases of adult life). We invite members of AANE to join this discussion group for parents of adults in all phases of life. If you ever feel like you need to find other parents who "get" what your life has been like raising a child (or children) with Asperger profiles, this group is for you. This parent group is a forum where you can share your concerns, questions, and successes with other parents. If you are looking for an understanding community of parents who are also "walking in your shoes" and who can offer support, empathy, and information to ease your stresses and celebrate your successes, please join today. This group is moderated by AANE staff to ensure the building of a strong support community for all parents; you are not alone on this journey.

Who: For parents of adults with Asperger or related profiles

Moderator: Michele Cantara

To Join: Please complete the form below. Then look for your email invitation, and follow the instructions to set-up your account.