The NAS Social Groups Programme is a Scotland-wide, locally run, programme that offers opportunities for people with autism to socialise, mix with peers and be themselves.

75% of adults with autism or Asperger Syndrome have told us they do not have any friends or find it hard or very hard to make friends. Our social groups meet regularly and equip members for living independent lives by providing opportunities to form close relationships, as well as developing self confidence and social skills. The groups are user-led and members decide together what activities they will do facilitated by a Social Programmes Manager who in turn is supported by trained volunteers.

Read a case study about this service.

Person-centred approach 

Aims, targets and confidence are measured when joining and monitored every six months to ensure an outcome-focused approach to promote independence and life skills. We also get feedback from members, families and volunteers measuring how we are doing, what we could do better and what people particularly enjoy.  

In our recent round of 'Impact Reporting', 96% of users said ‘the group gives me the chance to do things that I enjoy in the local community’. 92% said ‘I have the chance to meet and make friends with other people at the social group,’ 81% ‘I have the chance to learn new skills at the social group’. 75% say ‘since joining the group I have gained the confidence to socialise outside of the group, 94% say ‘I feel better about myself since I joined the social group’.

Activities 

Activities could include trips out such as going to the cinema, bowling, playing pool, going on a boat trip, a meal out, cookery lessons, a trip to the theatre, karting, or a visit to the museum. For some their time at the social group may be their only chance to venture out of the house and socialise without a family member.  This boosts confidence and enables social skills to increase, enabling them to participate more fully in their local community. 

The social group team believe it is important that every social group member works towards individual aims and targets whilst participating in the groups.  These individual aims and targets could include

  • Making friends 
  • Enjoying activities 
  • Using public transport 
  • Using money 
  • Communication skills 
  • Taking part in new activities 
  • Compromising 
  • Decision making 
  • Confidence building 
  • Turn taking 
  • Personal presentation 
  • Healthy eating 
  • Taking part in sporting activities.