**Note: The group is planning to meet February 14, 2016 at 3 pm . The topic is ” Loss of Relationships” If you have questions, then please contact John J Knoernschild at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503.309.2477 about this meeting. **
Who we are
We are a collaborative, peer-facilitated support group run by and for late-diagnosed mature autistic (ASD) adults who live in or who have recently moved to the Portland, Oregon metro area. While we are not a therapy group, through our discussion process and with the assistance of occasional “outside” presenters we help members with personal and adult-to-adult issues. For example, we routinely address concerns related to housing, access to community resource providers and agencies, employment and adult relationships. Because other Portland metropolitan groups and community services accommodate persons with child behavior, parenting, and intensive personal support needs, in our monthly three-hour meetings we do not have the capacity to address these needs.
Our group provides a safe environment for confidential discussions, presentations, discussion-based workshops and potluck social events. We range in age from the early thirties to the mid-seventies. We work in tandem with the Dorks on Parade, a social group for adults along the autism spectrum and the Portland Asperger’s Network (PAN) a group helping families affected by autism or Asperger syndrome. We are not primarily a social activities group. We provide assistance to mature adults towards addressing the challenges living with autism and achieving their goals.
Our group is for adults whose primary diagnosis is ASD individuals. We require direct contact from persons interested in attending our meetings. If you are thirty years old or older and have a professionally-conferred diagnosis or are self-diagnosed we invite you to learn more about the group to see if the group might fit your expectations.
How we operate
We are a self-governing and self-supporting group. We set our own agendas, maintain our own communications, and run our own meetings and activities. In the past, we have held annual planning sessions to map out our calendar for the next twelve months. At our planning meeting we identify topics for facilitated large and small-group discussions, trainings, presentations by “outside providers and experts” and social activities. Through large-group brainstorming and discussion we encourage all group members to propose topics and activities, and then we “vote in” ideas with the greatest popularity and assign them to future dates in our calendar. Items that “don’t make the calendar” still can come up and be covered in future meetings.
We arrive at decisions about the major focus of our monthly meeting by consensus. If something has happened of general interest in between meetings that requires attention “out of order” we may substitute that item or issue for discussion, but then move the regularly calendared topic or activity into a future meeting.
We have held picnics and outings to places of special interest. Depending on interest, members can ask about trying their hand at co-facilitation of smaller discussion groups and skill workshops
The meeting place is a safe environment. We do not allow threatening or intimidating behavior. Occasionally we open meetings to the Portland autism community and even the non-autistic general public. We announce these events well in advance so that regularly attending members who prefer their meeting experience to consist only of members already admitted to the group to plan for an alternative use of their time.
We deal immediately with any conflict or misunderstandings as they arise. No unresolved issues should remain by the end of the meeting. In case of major disagreement, we can offer private mediation. We operate by consensus and rules of common courtesy.
Here is the PORTLAND AS ADULT SUPPORT GROUP CALENDAR 2015-16.
Meetings are open to mature adults who have a diagnosis of ASD from a licensed professional MD, ND, Ph.D., Psy.D., Licensed Clinical Social Worker, or a Licensed Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. We also welcome mature adults who are self-diagnosed and peer-confirmed. We do not provide child care.
We do not accept parent or full or part-time caregiver inquiries in lieu of direct contact from the autistic adult interested in attending our meetings. We are not a “drop in” or “walk-in” group. Because we are primarily a discussion-oriented group and not an activity” or social group we ask that adults wishing to join the group contact the moderator for a brief telephone orientation prior to attending their first meeting. We recognize that some individuals are uncomfortable using the telephone but are otherwise OK talking with others in a social setting. During that brief telephone orientation, a prospective member will be asked for some personal identity and contact information. We do not accept persons wishing to use pseudonyms or remain anonymous about their true identity.
If you need accommodations to attend our meetings, please let us know about your needs. We meet in a setting that is largely ADA compliant in terms of accessibility and being sensory friendly. We are unable to physically modify any permanent architectural or amenities features of our meeting site because we do not own the property. We can accommodate members’ personal care attendants on a case-by-case basis. We welcome well-behaved, professionally-trained therapy and sensory guide dogs.
There is no charge for group membership, but we do have expenses. While members are free to donate towards these expenses, a contribution of money or in-kind work is not a condition of membership.
Please check this site often for current information about the group and who to contact for answers.