Two-thirds of autistic people in Scotland told us that they feel socially isolated when we were carrying out research as part of our Too Much Information campaign. Our social programmes are just one of the ways that we’re tackling this.
We run groups that get together regularly and provide members with opportunities to meet new people and have new experiences. The sessions are facilitated by staff and a team of volunteers, with members deciding where they want to visit and what activities they want to try.
New online social groups
During the coronavirus pandemic, we are running online social groups and have been given additional funding from the Scottish Government to support as many people as possible.
Just like our usual social groups, the new online groups are facilitated by staff and offer a place for autistic people to connect and talk about whatever they wish - from film and TV, to cooking, gaming, art, LEGO and other interests.
They’re a great way for people to build confidence, make friends and help with communication skills. It’s also a way for staff to provide tips on staying healthy and well during this time and helping people support each other.
Free to join, the online groups are open to autistic people and families wherever you are in Scotland. There are groups representing different geographical areas, young people, parents, girls and women, LGBT+ individuals, as well as particular interest groups such as ‘Film’ and ‘Quiz’ clubs.
Staff aim to make the sessions fun with virtual tours of famous landmarks, zoos and aquariums, as well as fun activities like quizzes and even making mocktails! The groups often welcome guests from a variety of organisations to engage in fun activities and workshops.
The groups are open to anyone who is autistic, or suspects they are – you don’t need a formal diagnosis to join our groups.
There are no geographical boundaries – you can join if you live in any part of Scotland. If you are aged between 12 and 26 years old, the groups will be available to you.
As well as helping to develop social skills and making friends, joining a group can help with:
• using public transport
• using money
• decision making
• turn taking
• personal presentation
• healthy eating
• staying active
• socialising with people outside the family
• mental health and wellbeing.
"The new online groups have been really fun. There are about ten of us in the group and it works really well. It’s good to stay in touch with other people and we’ve done some exciting things with the group leaders like a virtual tour of San Francisco including going across the Golden Gate Bridge!"
"I really look forward to the weekly online groups and I would recommend to other autistic people to give them a go."
"I always absolutely love getting together with the guys and every time we change to a new month, the first thing I always think to myself is, 'Great, I've got the social group again this month!' The group always cheers me up no end."
"Since the group, my son is much happier with himself. He told me ‘I look forward to when I go out with my friends that are just like me’."
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