With the beginning of our Social Skills Workshops just around the corner we wanted to write a post about how social skills workshops can help people with Aspergers syndrome (AS).
When I found out I had Aspergers, the first thing I did was go on the internet and research it. I spent hours online finding out everything I could about the condition, and how I might meet other people like me. I attended the Oxfordshire Autistic Society for Information and Support where I borrowed some videos by Tony Attwood on social skills teaching for people with Aspergers. These videos really inspired me, and I dreamt of attending a group like that, only there were none in existence anywhere near where I lived.
Several years later, I found the courage to set up the Oxford Aspies social group together with a psychologist who works with people with Aspergers. I have also been fortunate enough to volunteer with Autism Family Support, helping to run a couple of social skills teaching groups for teenagers with Aspergers. However, as far as I am aware, there is nowhere I know of in my local area that has a group for people with Aspergers my age where social skills are actively taught. The work that Hannah at 9 Tea Cups is doing in setting this up is absolutely vital for people like me on the spectrum. Social skills are not only important in social settings, but also in the workplace.
According to the National Autistic Society, only 15% of people on the Spectrum are in full-time employment (http://www.dontwritemeoff.org.uk/). Despite being educated to Masters Degree level, I feel that my social skills have held me back in my career. Hannah has kindly been giving me helpful advice on workplace social skills. Hannah’s group will be a couple of hours away, but I am considering travelling to some of her sessions. I hope to learn everything I can from her, with a view to eventually achieving the confidence and skills required to teach social skills at Oxford Aspies.