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This is a bundle of resources aimed at helping individuals with autism prepare for social events and how to navigate meeting new people.
I often find myself excited about events in my community and wanting to go to them. However, as a person who has Autism I need and want to put more thought into participating in an event than others might need to. Why do I need to think more about socializing than most people? Well, I find that preplanning and knowing what I need helps me be more confident, at ease, and “ready to go” with trying something new and meeting new people. It is also useful in troubleshooting and finding possible areas that might be difficult for me beforehand.
It is good to think about yourself because knowing your likes and dislikes makes it easier to answer the questions below. These questions are examples of what to ask yourself before going somewhere or trying something new. If needed, ask someone you trust to help you with answering these questions, researching events/groups, and preplanning.
Examples: bowling, playing board games, basketball, museum trip, cooking class, or amusement park outing.
Examples include reading, walking, video games, and swimming.
If you have questions about the group or event, contact the group/event
coordinator if you need or want more details (such as the approximate
number of attendees and parking accommodations).
Having money for emergencies is important too.
Know what you want to talk about:
Shared interests, your hobbies, why you came to this event, etc.
Know what you DON’T want to talk about:
Anything personal or private.
Example: maybe you want to learn a new skill, such as crocheting if this event is for a crocheting club.
The ways that you perceive taste, sound, smell and touch could be more sensitive to you than it is for other people.
Example: a crowded meeting room with multiple people talking could be more overwhelming and confusing to you than other people who don’t have your sensory issues.
Self-stimulating behaviors can be a repetitive movement or vocalization that is thought to be self calming.
There are both positives and negatives associated with stimming. It can be calming to individuals in many settings. However, it can also be embarrassing or stigmatizing depending the context or people around.
Introducing yourself or joining a conversation, missing social cues to see if a person is interested or uninterested, and difficulty focusing or staying on topic are all common.
These are a few of the ways in which social difficulties can make it harder to meet new people.
It can be confusing to know whose turn it is to speak and when to listen.
Having uncommon hobbies or interests can make it harder for others to connect or to keep your audience engaged.
Researching common interests beforehand could be helpful in connecting to others.
Wearing either outfits that are old, outdated, or inappropriate for the occasion/weather can be uncomfortable.
It can be confusing or overwhelming to figure out what to wear to each occasion and how to adapt it to your sensory needs.
Sometimes it can be hard to find things in common with strangers.
Using common conversational starters like the weather, entertainment, family, sports, or current news can be good ways to find common interests that you share.
Overthinking past experiences can make it hard to form new impressions or be open to new experiences.
Those experiences can make doing new things or meeting new people very stressful or anxiety-provoking.
Going to an event or social occasion can involve many changes that occur quickly.
It can be difficult to adjust to different details than had previously been discussed.
Did you enjoy the activity you were doing?
Do you think this is the right social group/activity for you?
|1. Questions to Think About Before Attending a Social Event||This resource provides information for individuals with autism on how to plan for attending a social event.||Download file: 1. Questions to Think About Before Attending a Social Event|
|2. Getting Ready for A Social Event/Activity: What to Wear/What to Bring||This resource provides a list of items and tasks to ensure are ready before attending a social event or activity.||Download file: 2. Getting Ready for A Social Event/Activity: What to Wear/What to Bring|
|3. Why Having Autism Might Make Social Events More Difficult||This resource provides information for individuals with autism about reasons why having autism can make attending social events a more difficult experience.||Download file: 3. Why Having Autism Might Make Social Events More Difficult|
|4. Questions to Ask About Yourself Before Meeting Others||This resource provides information for individuals with autism on how to plan for a social event by asking themselves thoughtful questions.||Download file: 4. Questions to Ask About Yourself Before Meeting Others|
|5. Questions to Ask Yourself After Attending A New Social Event/Activity||This resource provides individuals with autism with a list of questions to consider after attending a social event to decide if it was a good fit.||Download file: 5. Questions to Ask Yourself After Attending A New Social Event/Activity|
This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.