Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) About Parent of Adult Support Groups

Q: Are AANE Parent of Adult Support Groups considered “group therapy?”
A: AANE support groups do not provide group therapy. Instead our support groups offer facilitated peer support. The goal of a facilitated peer support group is to help you cope, by connecting with other parents facing similar situations.

Q: Who can attend a Parent of Adult Support Group?
A: Although these groups are titled “Parent of Adult” Support groups, siblings, aunts, uncles, other adult family members, or close friends may also join these support groups. All group members need to be adults themselves. There are a few exceptions:

  • Grandparents should first check out the AANE “Open” Grandparents Support Group. This group is open to grandparents of children, teens, and adults. If a grandparent feels that they would benefit from a parents of adults support group, they may join it.
  • Adults who think their spouse or partner may be on the spectrum, should investigate AANE’s Support Groups for Couples & Partners

Q: Does my adult child (family member) need to have a formal diagnosis in order for me to attend an AANE Parent of Adult Support Group or to participate in the Online Discussion forum for parents of adults.
A: We use the term Asperger profiles to describe a range of neurological differences characteristic of over one percent of people in the United States and worldwide. AANE does not require your adult child (or family member) to have an official diagnosis in order for you to participate in these support groups or online discussion forum.  If you suspect that your adult child/family member has these neurological characteristics you may benefit from these support groups and discussion forum.

Q: Where do AANE Parent of Adult Support Groups meet?
A: Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic AANE offered online groups as well as in-person Parent of Adult Support groups in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island. For the foreseeable future, all of our support groups will be delivered online using the Zoom platform

  • “Online Local” Groups are intended for parents who live within commuting distance of the stated location, as the group will resume in-person meetings in that location when it is safe to do so.
  • “Online” Groups can be attended by parents who live anywhere.

Q. What types of Parent of Adult Support Groups does AANE offer?

  • Community Connections sessions are a free, simple, casual way for you to talk with other parents of adults on the spectrum, to reassure yourself that you are not alone no matter how socially distant you feel! Community Connections are a great way reduce your isolation and to try out AANE to see if you like us, but these sessions are not a substitute for an ongoing support group.
  • “Open” Support Groups for Parents of Adults are free and meet on a regular basis and have an undefined number of group members with new people coming and going on a regular basis. Although “Open” Support Groups are free, attendees must pre-register in order to receive an email with the link to the meeting video conference. Newcomers are always welcome, but for the best experience, we recommend that newcomers contact the group facilitator to request a phone orientation. (Click here for facilitator emails.)
  • “Closed” Support Groups for Parents of Adults (formerly known as Support Group Series) are ideal for parents who want to go beyond sharing their story with newcomers each time at open support group meetings. “Closed” Support Groups have the same members (up to 12) for a set number of 90-minute sessions (8). Some groups meet monthly and others meet every other week (bi-weekly). Parents who join closed support groups are looking to establish a stronger connection with and get more extensive peer support from the same group members in a series of meetings. Payment in full, for all 8 sessions, is required at the time of registration. Through the “pay what you can afford” options on our online registration forms, we try to make sure that our support groups are available to all who need them.
  • Online Discussion Forum –is a way for you to post questions and share concerns (via email or posts) with other parents facing similar situations. The forum is free and you can share your concerns, questions, and successes with more than 300 other parents and family members throughout the US and Canada.

Q. How old are the “adult children” of members of AANE’s Parent of Adult Support Groups?
A: Our “Open” Support Groups for Parents are available to parents of adults 18 and older. Some are also open to parents of teens.

Q: What the guidelines for attending a Parents of Adult Support Group?

  • What happens in group, stays in group. Members should not share personal information or stories discussed in group outside of the group, without the permission of the group member, unless the information is about a possible threat to health or safety. If there is a health or safety concern, the group member should contact the facilitator.
  • Group members must treat each other and the facilitator with respect and refrain from using defamatory or threatening language.
  • Group members should not be under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances during group meetings.
  • Group members agree to adhere to the turn-taking and speaking time limits agreed to by the group.
  • AANE facilitators will not share members’ contact information with other group members, without a group member’s consent.
  • Group members are encouraged to share their contact information with other group members in order to foster ongoing connections.
  • If a group member feels threatened, disrespected, or has a concern, they should first bring it to the attention of the group facilitator. If they are not satisfied that the issue is resolved or if the issue continues, they should call or email  Nancy Schwartz (Co-Director Adult Services) – 617-393-3824 x226, or Brenda Dater (Associate Director) – 617-393-3824 x222
  • Group members who do not follow these guidelines may be asked to leave the group.

Q: I am a professional who supports parents of adults on the spectrum.  Can I join a parent of adult support group or the online discussion forum?
A: No. These support groups are intended to be peer-to-peer support groups where parents and other adult family members share their “lived experience” of being part of a family that includes an adult with an Asperger profile.  If you would like to learn more about working with adults on the spectrum, check out our resources for professionals.  If you are a professional who is also the parent of an adult on the spectrum, you may join a parent of adult support group or the online discussion forum as a peer participant.