What are my support options
Knowing your support options and finding the right people will enable you to make a plan to address any issues you are currently facing, as well as to plan ahead.
You need and deserve support as you navigate your way through diagnosis and the years beyond. Nobody should feel alone if they are struggling, and we all struggle at times. There are several types of support: personal and emotional, support with work and outside interests, with health, money management and any other issues you may face.
What sort of professional support may be helpful?
Professional support can come from psychologists, counsellors, psychiatrists, speech therapists and occupational therapists. Support workers can also be employed if that would help you. These are the types of support that can be funded by an NDIS package.
What is peer support?
Peer support means finding people who are autistic and who can understand and share your experiences, joys and frustrations. Autism support groups for adults are found throughout Australia, primarily in the larger towns and cities whilst many are available online.
Autism support groups cater to a diversity of interests and needs. While some are autism-specific, others offer more general disability support.
Typically, they can provide:
- NDIS information
- Social gatherings and recreational activities
- Training in areas such as physical and mental health, employment, finance and housing
- Self-development, empowerment and mentoring
- A forum for pursuing special interests
- Participation can sometimes be limited to:
- Specific age groups—for example young adults
- Certain attributes— for example women and non-binary only
Many autism support groups are managed by autistic peers, while some are overseen by non-government organisations. Here are some examples of established autism support groups:
- Asperger’s Victoria enables peer support groups and educational events. It also provides Asperger information and employment readiness resources.
- Different Journeys facilitates autistic-focused, peer-run social platforms. Expect events like inspirational talks, sporting, creative and gaming activities, quiz nights and special-interest discussion forums.
- Autism Community Network is a Sydney-based organisation that organises social groups and information events.
- Aspie Rebels is a Melbourne-based social club for autistic individuals.
Many support groups offer online as well as face-to-face events. Virtual activities may be particularly useful for those in rural or regional areas where there are fewer groups operating locally.