Aspies for Social Success



Our mission

 

Headquartered in New York City, Aspies For Social Success, AFSS is a peer-run organization that provides support and social groups, as well as cultural events, to adults 18 and over who have either been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome or an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), believe they might be on the Autism Spectrum, or who for other reason have difficulty with social communication, sensory processing, or executive functioning. AFSS is working to build a more inclusive community for individuals who otherwise may not have many opportunities or be able to find others with whom to socialize. We do not charge our members any fees, and our income comes exclusively from fundraising.

The benefits of our program

Improving social communication skills and reducing social anxiety will enable our members to be more successful in all areas of life

  • Make it easier to get and keep a job
  • Develop positive relationships
  • Live richer more meaningful lives

 There is also a focus on special interests and achieving individual self-actualization goals

 Goals

Our primary goal is to build a community that provides a relaxed, comfortable and judgment-free atmosphere where members can be themselves amongst others, sharing similar difficulties and interests

 Long term goals

 We would like to offer even more! Without the opportunity to socialize, there are fewer opportunities to take in culture.

  • Our ultimate dream is to perhaps someday have a brick and mortar community center where people on the spectrum can go for support and engage in social and cultural groups and events
  • We recently added cultural events to our schedule, including trips to The Metropolitan Museum of art (with a privet tour and specialized art project for our group), The museum of Modern Art and the New York Historical Society (Superheroes in Gotham and Silicon City Exhibits), as well as attending a renaissance fair .
  • We offer visits to restaurants, offering opportunities to sample the cuisines of different cultures.
  • Our future plans include attending Broadway shows, the ballet, opera and sporting events

Our support groups, social groups and events

AFSS support groups, currently held in rented venues, allow members to discuss issues of concern to them in a group setting among other adults living with similar challenges. Each meeting starts with a specific theme chosen by the group. Past themes have included community, relationships, dating, isolation, and employment-related difficulties. For example, we have had discussions on what it means to be part of a community and on what an ideal community would be like. We then allow the conversation to evolve during the session, allowing members to relate their own personal stories to the group.

AFSS social groups encourage members to go out in public with others like them and to feel more a part of and accepted in a community, and meet at different restaurants and locations throughout the New York City area. This also provides an opportunity for the greater community to see that we are no different from anyone else and fully capable of participating in society in spite of our minor differences. These groups provide a sense of community for individuals who otherwise may not have many suitable opportunities to socialize, as well as somewhere to go, on a regular basis, with a relaxed, comfortable, judgment-free atmosphere where people can be themselves amongst others sharing similar difficulties and interests.
AFSS cultural events provide opportunities for our groups to attend a variety of artistic, scientific, and cultural events. These take place in museums, galleries, exhibitions, theaters, and other venues throughout the NYC area.

How does AFSS manifest transformative action?

People on the autism spectrum need three things above all else on the part of society: Awareness, Acceptance, and Accommodation.

Due to limited understanding of the differences or appreciation of the challenges faced by people with autism throughout society, a considerable degree of intolerance is still shown towards them. AFSS helps to raise awareness by publicizing our groups and events to bring more people on the spectrum into our community. The wider community will in turn be more exposed to our population at these events and venues. This can help others learn to understand our true intentions, which are very frequently misinterpreted by others.

Within our support and social groups, Aspies gain a better understanding of themselves and the nature of their differences and challenges, which leads to greater self-awareness. These groups also allow them to discuss and share about the injustices that they experience and feel, in their individual lives and from society at large, because of these differences; this gives a sense of empowerment to address these injustices, both individually and as a community.

Mutual understanding constitutes a twofold challenge: there are often considerable differences among members of our groups, along with the differences that exist between Aspies and the typical society at large. The social groups enable Aspies to see that their similarities can transcend their personal differences, and at the same time allow the wider world to interact with them and thereby enable both sides to learn about each another from one another.

Along with the cultural events, which foster wider views of expression, AFSS groups give Aspies a positive sense of themselves and others as well as bigger, greater hopes and dreams of life's possibilities.