Support for Parents, Family Members, and Friends of Adults with ASD

Support Group Options:

In-Person Support Groups for Parents of Adults in Massachusetts and New Hampshire

These 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 must register in advance and membership is limited to 12 individuals.  Each group is facilitated by an AANE staff member.  Participants must be parents, family members, or friends of a post-high school adult 19 years or older with Asperger’s or a related profile. Family members and friends need to be 18 years or older to join.

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 and family members also rely on these support groups to:

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

Registration is $100 for the first participant and $50 for additional members of the same family. We recognize that cost may be an obstacle for some families. Contact Michele Cantara (michele.cantara@aane.org) to request a discount or waiver.

AANE is offering the following in-person parent of adult support groups May - October 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 TuesJennifer DeSanctis-Narby
Westwood, MA19-26 years old1st TuesLizzette Grattan
Westwood, MA19-26 years old3rd TuesLizzette Grattan
Bedford, NHOver 19 years old3rd TuesJennifer DeSanctis-Narby

We are currently accepting early registrations from parents/family members who previously enrolled in the October 2017 - March 2018 Parent of Adult Groups. General registration will be available from this page on March 20, 2018.


Online Video Conferencing Support Group for Parents of Adults

The objectives and structure of this group is nearly the same as for the in-person POA support groups, with two differences.

  • First, support group meetings are not face-to-face. Meetings are conducted online via (free) video conferencing software. Participants will need a PC or a tablet with a webcam and video capabilities to participate.
  • Second, instead of six meetings, this group will meet seven times. The first meeting will be an orientation meeting devoted to introducing everyone to the video conferencing technology, making sure they know how to use it, and doing group introductions.

As with the in-person groups, registration is $100 for the first participant and $50 for additional members of the same family. We recognize that cost may be an obstacle for some families. Contact Michele Cantara (michele.cantara@aane.org) to request a discount or waiver.

AANE is offering the following online, video conference support group from May - October 2018.

LocationFor Parents with Adult
Children who are:
Day of MonthFacilitator
Online/Web/Video ConferencingOver 19 years old, post high school2nd TuesJennifer DeSanctis-Narby

We are currently accepting early registrations from parents/family members who previously enrolled in the October 2017 - March 2018 Parent of Adult Groups. General registration will be available from this page on March 20, 2018.


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.

Lizzette Grattan
Lizzette joined AANE in July 2017 and is a LifeMAP Program Coordinator and LifeMAP coach. She helps adult and teen clients develop the skills they need to attain their personal and career goals. Prior to AANE, Lizzette spent eight years at Work Opportunities Unlimited as a Career Resource Specialist helping individuals with intellectual disabilities obtain and sustain employment. In this role, she also developed new job opportunities for her clients, and connected them and their families to employment related services. She also collaborated on clients' Individual Support Plans (ISPs) and attended their annual ISP meetings. Through her work experience as well as parent advocacy and transition training from the Federation for Children with Special Needs, Lizzette has developed a keen awareness of the challenges that young adults with Asperger's face as they leave high school or college, enter the workforce, and live independently. Lizzette has a Biology/Medical Technology background and has also obtained a Masters in Special Education. Lizzette enjoys learning to improve her career interests.

 

AANE Online Discussion Group for Parents of Adults

The online discussion group is designed for parents of younger adults (19-26) as well as older adults (27+). Siblings, aunts, uncles, and other adult family members may also join this group. In this forum 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. 

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.