Feedback and Experiences
"I'm not exactly an unsociable person, and as a user experience/human interaction designer and previous business owner I've had plenty of experience interacting and socialising with people I don't know personally, but for the longest time I always felt like there were these 'unspoken rules' of society that everyone else had been taught except me, and no matter how hard I tried to find out what I was missing, nothing seemed to lay out the bare-bones foundations of how people interact, become friends, and stay friends in a way I could understand. Being told those neurotypical things like 'be yourself' or 'be honest' don't really help that much when I'm already doing those things and not getting the results that I'm allegedly supposed to. It's pretty easy to wind up writing yourself off as just being "bad at 'people-ing'" when you feel like you're doing everything right but still end up having unsatisfying connections with other people.
The ASD Skills group was the first time I'd encountered a resource that gave me the information on those unspoken expectations neurotypical people have, but it also helped me to understand that they are just expectations, and that socialising really is a two-way street. Not only did I develop better awareness of how to conduct myself in new social situations for my own benefit as well as others, but I also subsequently learned how to identify other people's lack of social skills and when they are failing me, and that I'm not always to blame when things go wrong. Now that I know where I stand with people I find that I'm much more confident in my ability to navigate social interactions and life in general, and I'm much less scared of pursuing the things I want to be doing in life. It's not a cure-all experience (but nothing is) and I do still need to keep working hard to better myself, but I'm no longer so socially anxious that I can't even stop on the street to take a photo of something funny or pretty to send to a friend, and that in and of itself is huge for me."
Previous participant in our ASD Skills Group
“He (child) was more willing to be in a group, to be involved in a conversation. His eye contact was better. It wasn't perfect but it was better and he was just talking a whole lot more.”
- Parent of child diagnosed with Autism who participated in our research