*Recommended by 2 members – Seeing the unseen – A story of 17 brave Icelandic autistic women . $7.99 through Vimeo

Our Next meeting is SUNDAY November 22, 2020, at 3pm on Zoom.

Please Get the Group Guidelines here prior to attending.

This will be an informal discussion.

Please see “How we Communicate (Virtual and On-Site)?” on this page for more about what internet apps we use and how.

If you have questions, then please contact autismselfadvocacyPDX@gmail.com

*Help Portland, Oregon people affected by COVID-19 and get help @pdxmutualaid**

Additional COVID-19 resources are here coping suggestions are available here. **

New Contacts please use this contact form. **

Email AutisticSelfAdvocacyPDX@protonmail.com if you have questions

Who are we?

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 young adults 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 of 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 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 do 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, training, 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 require 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.

When we can, we hold 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 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 the case of major disagreement, we can offer private mediation. We operate by consensus and rules of common courtesy.

How we Communicate (Virtual and On-Site)?

Normally, we meet in person at a location disclosed on a member email list. However, in lieu of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have modified our meeting format to be virtual to look out for the physical well-being of our group members and families. When legal and health guidelines permit, we plan on meeting in person with access to some portion of the meetings through the internet.

With that being said, see below for our technical platforms and how we use them:

Email: Currently, we pass along announcements and meeting details through the email listserv to members on our list. Please keep an eye out for them.

Zoom: Our regular meetings happen on Zoom, a video and audio application connecting people. (Zoom tutorial instructions here). Before the meeting, you will receive an email with the meeting link, ID and telephone number. Keep in mind that if you cannot connect by the computer the phone number (from LAN line or cell) is always an option.

If you do not see it then email with the Zoom information, then email autismselfadvocacypdx@gmail.com with the subject “meeting phone” or “meeting link”).

Groups.io (https://groups.io/g/aasapdx): In between meeting we have set up a Groups.io site for members to chat. Members are invited to subscribe for a groups.io email digest at aasapdx+subscribe@groups.io or visit the webpage at https://groups.io/g/aasapdx. You will need to press a button to join the group.

We can send email notifications and calendar invites via Groups.io

Slack: We do have a slack channel that we mainly use for organizers and members are welcome to discuss topics in the everyone group. Overall, we’ve concluded that accessing Slack is too convoluted for all members to access and would like to move to the Groups.io option.

We recognize that the platforms that we are using are imperfect and are open to ways that we can change for the better. However, as of spring 2020, we aren’t going to switch to a different platform at this time because we are promoting accessibility for all members by maintaining consistency.  

Membership

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 childcare.

If you are new to the group, then please use this contact form to request membership. A volunteer from our group will reply and talk with you about membership. Once you are a member, you will be added to an email list and get further details from there.

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 is 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.

Cost

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.

*Recommended by 2 members – Seeing the unseen – A story of 17 brave Icelandic autistic women . $7.99 through Vimeo

Our Next meeting is SUNDAY November 22, 2020, at 3pm on Zoom.

Please Get the Group Guidelines here prior to attending.

This will be an informal discussion.

Please see “How we Communicate (Virtual and On-Site)?” on this page for more about what internet apps we use and how.

If you have questions, then please contact autismselfadvocacyPDX@gmail.com

*Help Portland, Oregon people affected by COVID-19 and get help @pdxmutualaid**

Additional COVID-19 resources are here coping suggestions are available here. **

New Contacts please use this contact form. **

Email AutisticSelfAdvocacyPDX@protonmail.com if you have questions .