Making Friends with teenagers with Aspergers

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pattherice14
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04 Nov 2006, 6:34 pm

Hey everyone!

I want to first say that when i came upon this website, i was really touched by such a strong support group. Support groups always amaze me in the fact that such friendships and bonding can be formed :O)

I am currently in highschool, and I am starting a club where students with Aspergers will have one-to-one friendships with mainstream students at my school. I wanted to know what kinds of events teenagers with Aspergers would want to participate in to better get to know their buddy. I really want to spread the awareness of Aspergers and let the students at my school know that these students are just like us and enjoy doing what we like. A lot of times, no one talks to these students, and I really want to change that and see them make the most out of their high school career.

If anyone knows of any advice on how to lasting friendships and group events, i'd love to hear them!

You guys are the best!



aleclair
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04 Nov 2006, 8:08 pm

First off, I'd like to comment on your idea.

As much as I applaud you for understanding AS better than I'd imagine mose teenagers ever could, and I certainly applaud you for being brave and taking the initiative you took, your idea requires that those with Aspergers' pretty much openly admit they have AS. By having the club pair Aspies with Neurotypicals, it sends out a message that we can't make our own friends and we need authority figures to do such for us.

(Which might be the only solution to acceptance in teenage culture for some... looking at how brutal it can be)

As a teenager with Asperger's Syndrome, my main advice is that I might be hard to talk to at first, but if a person takes the initiative to know me, they'll realize I can be a quite interesting person.

As for events and activities... how about a Scrabble tournament? How about having a book club? Something intellectual's your best bet, although even saying that makes lots of generalizations. You can speak of broad characteristics of AS, but still everyone's individual.

(Stay away from sporting events, no matter what, though! I don't think that's as much of a generalization...)



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04 Nov 2006, 11:36 pm

I agree that intellectual activities would probably be the most appealing.
Maybe you could have people say what interests them and pair people up on the basis of matching interests?
Pairing Aspergians and neurotypicals would be useful for giving both sides a better understanding of each other. It would also help Aspergians learn to function better in an NT-dominated world.


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pattherice14
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05 Nov 2006, 1:41 am

Thank you for your help! it really means a lot to me!

I have created matching surveys and had everyone fill out what they were interested in, such as joining school organizations, attending dances, watching movies, and other sorts of interests.

Aleclair, do you know how i can prevent the message that teenagers with Asperger's can't make their own friends? i definitely do not want to come off on the wrong foot, and my main goal is to let students with AS meet new people and simply have fun and socialize.

I will defiitely look into holding a scrabble tournament. Does anyone have suggestions for group events like bowling? Also, does anyone have ideas for holidays like Secret Santas, etc?

Thanks again!



Namiko
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05 Nov 2006, 11:26 pm

If you're going to do a group event, make sure it is something more structured (less chaotic) and there won't be too many people around. Some people with AS have some degree of social phobia.

Secret santas might be fun. As a general rule, the more structured and less chaotic, the better.


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aleclair
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06 Nov 2006, 5:39 pm

Namiko wrote:
As a general rule, the more structured and less chaotic, the better.


I can't stress the importance of this.

That is the exact reason I hate gym class with a passion. It's one step away from recess. Pretty much, you do whatever the hell you want, everyone forms their own social groups, so on.

If I were you, I would organize it to the point where there's structure, but keep enough flexibility and independence. And if there's enough flexibility, maybe friendships will go beyond the one pre-created friendship... and the AS teenagers will be (gasp) making their own friends.

That's a bit idealistic, though. But worth a try.