Frequently Asked Questions about AANE Adult Support Groups, Social Groups and Events
Q: What is the status of AANE in-person support groups, social groups and events during the Coronavirus pandemic?
A: Due to the rapidly evolving Covid-19 situation, AANE has decided to halt all in-person support groups, social groups, events, and client meetings until further notice. We know that our in-person support groups, social groups, and activities are an important part of your support and social networks. Even though we all need to practice “social distancing” we want you to still be able to get the support you need from each other and from us. Where possible we are moving our programs to an online format. Check our events calendar (aane.org/events) to see whether an in-person group or event has been shifted to an online format. We have no idea how long this pandemic will last. We are constantly reviewing the situation and our guidelines. As soon as it becomes practical and safe to resume in-person meetings again, you’ll be the first to know!
Q: What does AANE mean by the term Asperger profile?
A: AANE has adopted the term Asperger profiles to describe a range of neurological differences characteristic of over one percent of people in the United States and worldwide. Some people who come to us have received diagnoses of Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Social Communication Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), or Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NVLD).
Q: Do I need to have a formal diagnosis to attend an AANE Adult Support Group, Social Group, or event?
A: No. AANE does not require that an individual receive any formal diagnosis in order to attend our adult support groups, social events, or explore our services. If you suspect that you are on the spectrum, our services, support groups, and social events may be helpful to you.
Q: What are AANE’s policies regarding gender identity?
A: Gender identity is the personal sense of one’s own gender. Gender identity can correlate with a person’s assigned sex at birth or can differ from it. Any adult with an Asperger profile is welcome to attend AANE support groups and social activities regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, or gender identification. Individuals who identify as male are welcome to attend support groups and activities for men. Likewise, individuals who identify as female are welcome to attend support groups and social activities for women.
Q: How old does an individual need to be to attend an AANE Adult Support Group, Social Group, or Event?
A: The individual should be a post-high school adult who is at least 18 years old.
Q: Are there specific conduct guidelines?
A: AANE is committed to welcoming all individuals, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, or gender identification. Individuals who attend an AANE social event, interest series group, social activity or support group must follow these guidelines:
- The information discussed in support groups should be considered private and confidential and should not be shared outside of the support group.
- Participants at AANE events and support groups are expected to act respectfully toward other participants and group facilitators.
- Alcohol and recreational marijuana cannot be brought to or consumed at any AANE Pizza & Game Night.
- Participants should not be inebriated or high when attending an AANE support group or social event.
- Participants should not bring real or fake weapons to AANE events or groups.
- Many AANE events are hosted in non-AANE facilities. Those facilities may have other more stringent conduct guidelines that meeting participants will also need to follow. Contact the group or event facilitator if you have questions.
AANE may ask individuals to leave an event if they are unable to act respectfully toward fellow group members or event participants, or if they are unable to follow these guidelines.
We do understand that some individuals on the spectrum may find it challenging to understand and follow these conduct guidelines. We are committed to working with our clients when problems arise. If you have any questions about the code of conduct, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Can someone who is neurotypical attend an AANE Adult Support Group, Social Group, or Social Event?
A: The answer is “no” in most cases. Neurotypical family and friends can’t attend AANE adult support groups. Instead, we invite them to participate in AANE parent/family of adult support groups and couples support groups for family members and friends of adults on the spectrum.
Neurotypical family and friends can’t attend AANE Social Group Interest Series (such as book clubs, Dungeons and Dragons, Trivia, Women’s Social Event Series) and they may not attend discrete social events (AANE Halloween Party).
However, neurotypical family and friends are welcome to attend certain AANE social events for adults. Examples include: going to the Museum of Fine Arts, the AANE Adult Services BBQ, and attending Red Sox Games. Check each event description to see whether family and friends can attend.
Q: Are AANE support groups and events accessible to people with physical disabilities?
A: The AANE facility in Watertown, MA is accessible to people with physical disabilities. Many of our support group and social events are held at non-AANE facilities. Most of these facilities are located in schools, social service agency facilities, or libraries and are also accessible to people with physical disabilities. Some social events may be scheduled at local theaters or other venues that may not be fully accessible. Contact email@example.com if you have an accessibility question about the venue.
Q: Can parents or caretakers attend an adult support group, Social Group/Interest Series, or social event with their adult child/family member?
A: Individuals with hearing impairments may attend with a sign language interpreter. A medical attendant may also attend with adults who require medical intervention.
Otherwise, the answer is “no”, parents and caretakers cannot accompany an adult to an AANE adult support group unless that specific event is open to other adult family members or friends. Check the event description for details.
AANE Adult Support Groups, Social Groups, and events are intended for post-high school adults on the spectrum who are able to self-regulate AND independently participate in activities without the assistance of a dedicated caretaker. Parents and caretakers are welcome to stay nearby in another room, but should not expect to participate in the group or event.
Also, note that AANE events may not be appropriate for individuals who frequently wander off as AANE and external facilitators are not substitutes for care providers.