About AASN

Social Group

Community based programming

We believe strongly in community based programming for children with neurological disorders. The Mental Health system, as it now stands, isn't equipped to deal with this type of problem. Nor do most traditional mental health workers understand these disorders.

But the parents of the children do. They usually have a real understanding of their own child and a pretty good grasp of what the child needs in terms of support. That's how Aspergrrrls began- as a community based social program for girls.

In 2001 we began regular monthly meetings. Each meeting would take place in the home of one the members. Everyone would congregate in the home first and then specially trained staff would take the girls out for a local activity (swimming or ice skating in a community center, bowling, cooking, playing games in the park etc.)

The staff would help facilitate social interactions (as opposed to "teach" social interactions as in a social skills group). They would make sure no one was being left out and help the girls find ways of including others, deciding what to play, taking turns, problem solving and anything else that might occur in any social situation. (We have been borrowing the counselors from a summer camp for children with neurological disorders. During the winter many of them work at a respite program or at specialty private schools).

Meanwhile, the parents would remain at home to share information and provide support for one another. When the girls returned, they would spend some time in the home having a snack and socializing before everyone went home.

One of the key goals of the program was to give the girls a chance to visit other people's homes and experience the fact that every place they go will be a little bit different. People have different rules, different expectations, they serve different food, say different things when greeting people, have different furniture etc.

The other main goal was to give the girls a chance to meet other people like them and see that they are not alone. They are part of a very special group. The girls in the program quickly formed strong bonds and some close friendship developed. Girls who may have no friends at school, now have a group of friends they can invite for birthday parties (sometimes the group activity for the month is a birthday party at one of the girl's homes), they have friends they can call or go out with. Several have been doing sleepover dates back and forth giving the parents a bit of a break.

Aspergrrrlz Main Page

since February 3, 2005 (When this page was moved to this site)