Groups and Events FAQs
What are the AANE conduct guidelines for attending a support or social group?
For the safety and enjoyment of all, these codes of conduct must be followed by participants. AANE is committed to welcoming all individuals, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, or gender identification. Individuals who attend AANE groups, activities, and events must follow these guidelines:
- All participants at AANE events are expected to act respectfully toward all other participants, group facilitators, and speakers.
- The information discussed in support groups should be considered private and confidential and should not be shared outside of the support group.
- Participants are expected to refrain from being under the influence of alcohol or other mind-altering substances during their participation.
AANE reserves the right to deny admission, ask an individual participant to leave, or remove participants from the event/program for inappropriate or disrespectful behavior.
AANE has made the decision to use the terms “autism” and “Autistic” in our communications moving forward. Many people continue to refer to themselves and their loved ones using the terms “Asperger’s,” “Aspie,” and other similar words. AANE respects each individual’s decision to use the language that best describes them and their loved ones.
Groups and Events Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What type of support groups does AANE offer?
Participants should recognize that AANE groups are facilitated peer support groups, which are different from Group Therapy. While some of our facilitators are licensed clinicians, in their role at AANE, they are acting as facilitators. This means that the meaningful support of the group is not a replacement for individual or group therapy, but rather a place where folks with similar experiences find community and solidarity while sharing what has and hasn’t worked for them.
Please note that the resources and information shared within AANE support groups are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Our hope is that these resources will provide you with useful connections as you navigate your journey of discovery and connection. AANE makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of the information shared between the participants within the group.
What happens at an AANE support group meeting?
All AANE support groups run a little bit differently from one another depending on the facilitator and the members. You can expect that the facilitator will uphold the code of conduct above and established norms within the group. In many closed groups, “norms” or conversational guidelines are established by the whole group in the first meeting. In many open groups, the facilitator will share generic norms to ensure participants are on the same page. Groups can include individual check-ins and discussions of chosen topics as decided by attendees. Participants are encouraged to care for themselves during a meeting by being on or off camera, eating, stimming, etc. You can find specific group descriptions on the registration page for each group.
What happens at an AANE social group meeting?
All AANE social groups are unique in terms of structure and what to expect. You can expect that the facilitator will uphold the code of conduct above and established norms within the group. Participants are encouraged to care for themselves during a meeting by being on or off camera, eating, stimming, etc. You can find specific group descriptions on the registration page for each group
How old does an individual need to be to attend an Adult or Teen Support Group, Social Group, or Event?
For adult groups, the individual should be a post-high school adult who is at least 18 years old. Some groups vary by age which would be included in the title.
For teen groups, the ages vary between 14 – 19 years old, and the required age for participation will be included in the title.
What are AANE’s policies regarding gender identity?
All individuals, regardless of their gender, are encouraged to choose groups that align most closely with their sense of identity. Gender identity, which encompasses a person’s deeply felt understanding of their own gender, can include identities that correlate with the sex assigned to an individual at birth (cisgender), differ from an individual’s sex assigned to them at birth (transgender), or are non-binary— meaning their gender identity doesn’t exclusively fit within the male/female gender binary. Every Autistic person is invited to participate in AANE support groups and social activities, without regard to sex, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Can someone who is neurotypical attend an Adult or Teen Support Group, Social Group, or Event?
Neurotypical family and friends cannot attend AANE support groups, social groups, or events for Autistic adults or teens.
There are AANE groups for parents and family members of Autistic individuals. These include groups for the neurotypical person in a neurodiverse relationship, the parent, grandparent, or caregiver of an Autistic individual, and many other groups, webinars, conferences, and select events. Check each event description to see the target “audience” for a specific group or event.
How do I request an accommodation to attend a group?
To request an accommodation prior to a group meeting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the full name of the group you are attending, including the date and facilitator name when possible. An accommodation may include having a dedicated support person to help with access or to participate independently in a group, a sign language interpreter for individuals with hearing impairments, or a medical attendant for those that require medical intervention. We will do our best to communicate with the facilitator to help you access the group.
What should I do if I have a problem in a group meeting?
If a group member feels concerned, threatened, or disrespected, they should first bring it to the attention of the group facilitator inside or outside of group meeting time. If additional support is needed, they should contact their group’s staff liaison. They can get connected to the Staff Liaison by emailing email@example.com, they do not need to detail their concern in that initial email if they do not wish to.
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