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Mona Pereth

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 63
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,934
Location: New York City (Queens)

09 May 2021, 9:08 am

I will try to bring this thread back on topic with a summary of the progress I've made over the past several months.

One of the categories of groups I want to help create is career-oriented groups, for work-capable autistic people who either work in, or want to work in, some particular category of professions / occupations / jobs. (See Autistic workers project.) In February of this year, I launched Autistic Techies of the NYC Area, which, so far, is just a small group that holds text-based chats once a month. Hopefully, after the pandemic is over, it will eventually grow into something much more.

Other people besides me will have to be the ones to launch career-oriented groups devoted to other career categories.

Another of the categories of groups I want to help create is hobby-oriented social groups revolving around specific hobbies. These groups would not be limited to work-capable people, or people otherwise capable of living independently. Moreover, some of these hobby-oriented groups could conceivably accommodate autistic people with mild-to-moderate intellectual disability, depending on the nature of the specific hobby.

Admittedly, though, the first hobby-oriented group I've created pertains to a scientific hobby and thus requires an ability to understand scientific matters, although it does not require the ability to hold down a job. In February I launched an amateur meteorology club, which also holds text-based chats once a month. Beginning in March, the meetings of that group have been led by another person from Wrong Planet, Archmage Arcane.

It is my hope that other autistic people will form social groups devoted to a wide variety of other hobbies.

In April, I held the first monthly meeting (via text-based chat) of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group, a leadership self-training group for autistic people who lead, or want to lead, groups of autistic people. This group has rotating leadership of meetings, so we can all get a chance to practice leading the group.

Meanwhile, since the beginning of the COVID crisis, I've been holding twice-monthly autistic adult peer support group meetings via text-based chat.

This past fall, some nasty arguments erupted in the support group, resulting in some longtime members leaving. In an effort to prevent similar nasty arguments in the future, we created some rules and guidelines including (1) a rule against bringing conflicts with other members into the group and (2) a rule against discussing politics.

That last rule proved to be difficult to enforce, since (a) politics is very much on the minds of most of us and (b) one of the main things one of our remaining members needed support with was figuring out how to handle his political disagreements with family members.

So, about two months ago, we decided to create a separate monthly chat group meeting for discussion of politics. Soon after that, we decided we actually needed two separate monthly politics chat group meetings, one for discussion of autism-related politics and another one for discussion of general politics. In both groups, the primary focus will be on meta-discussion -- how to discuss these topics in a civil manner -- rather than on just discussing political topics themselves, although we do the latter too.

As I mentioned, all of our groups are currently meeting via text-based chat. After the pandemic is over, the main support group will begin holding regular in-person meetings again. Most of the other groups will continue to meet primarily via text-based chat meetings, plus occasional in-person meetings.

Our text-based chat meetings are a perfect accommodation for autistic people who are non-speaking yet able to read and write and/or type. We already have one non-speaking member (although he's non-speaking due to a cancer operation, not because he was never able to talk). Other non-speaking (for whatever reason) yet literate autistic people are welcome to join us too.

Anyhow, in order to build the autistic community, I think one of the main things we need is leadership self-training groups such as the Autistic Peer Leadership Group, so that the minority of us who are capable of leading groups (despite other social impairments) can learn to do so.

- Autistic in NYC - Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.
- Autistic peer-led groups (via text-based chat, currently) led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group.
- Longterm visions for the autistic community