If you or someone a partner or a family member has Aspergers, is autistic, or has another similar neurodivergent profile, you may be interested in joining one of our Peer Support Groups.
AV's peer support groups are a great place to meet others who share your experience of Aspergers or autism, to exchange advice, or to just escape from the outside world into a space where you know that the others in the group understand what you're going through. Peer support groups are often the first option we suggest to people contacting AV for the first time, as this often helps the person to find a few contacts and to experience that feeling of realising that you have a community of support available.
Who runs AV Peer Support Groups?
All of our peer support groups are run by volunteers who are peers of their group - they share their group attendees' perspective and experience of Aspergers or autism. Group leaders and attendees may also have experience of another peer support group, for example having Aspergers or being autistic, as well as being a parent of a neurodivergent young person. All AV volunteers hold valid Working With Children Checks.
Who can attend?
AV peer support groups are open to AV members as well as non-members. New attendees are always welcome at all of our peer support group meetings, and we invite all first-time attendees to register for free! If you would like to try out an AV Peer Support Group, please contact our AV Admin Team - let us know which group you would like to try out and we will send you the code to register for free! AV peer support groups are open to peers at all stages of the diagnosis journey, including self-identified.
Please note that our peer support groups are for peers only and attendees to need to be able to attend independently. We invite partners, parents and carers to attend their own peer support groups. For our Teens Group, as the attendees are under 18 years, a parent or carer must attend each event with their teen. Please visit the Teens Group page for more information.
How can I register?
When you have found a peer group meeting in the calendar below which suits your needs, just click on the "Register" link on the left! This will take you through the registration process.
If you have any questions about this process or need more information, please contact our AV Admin Team.
Updated: January 2022
We understand that many within our community are keen to return to in-person gatherings as soon as possible. The health and safety of our team and of our community is our priority, and we are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Melbourne and continuing to communicate with our Group Leaders and venues as we work towards regularly returning to in-person peer group meetings.
Please check the peer group meeting calendar below to find out if our next meeting is online via Zoom or in person.
Aspergers Victoria Group Values and Approach:
We call this the AV Groups Way. We expect attendees to abide by this in our events, activities and meetings. Our Peer Volunteers are NOT counsellors or therapists and cannot provide support for mental health issues.
OUR PEER MEETINGS AIM TO EMPOWER ATTENDEES THROUGH DISCOVERING:
COMMUNITY Our groups create a sense of belonging to a community with like-minded, supportive peers with lived experience
RESILIENCE through ‘Growth Mindset’ and ‘Self-Regulation’ learning
CONFIDENCE through a focus on appreciation of strengths, special interests and abilities
SELF-DETERMINATION and independence through mentoring and learning
FRIENDSHIP and social experience through regular peer gatherings. Reduce isolation, perceived stigma plus builds friendship and trust through regular contact with the group
KNOWLEDGE shared in the group about how to extend or enjoy strengths, and ways to manage challenges
Ultimately our gatherings aim to support self-esteem and, confidence and self-empowerment, to determine your own life independently, including areas of physical and mental health, relationships, employment, finance, housing, special interests and self-reliance. It could be regarded as a social networking program for Aspergers - without therapy.
AV Peer Support Groups - Disclaimer:
AV Peer Support Groups are not able to provide professional advice, therapy, medical advice, counselling, crisis management or case management. Our volunteer group leaders are volunteer peers: they are not mental health professionals and they are not qualified to provide crisis support or to fill the role of carer for any attendees. Attendees requiring a carer or support worker present may need to re-assess suitability before attending. If you are looking for mental health crisis support, please visit our Professionals Directory or browse our list of organisations offering crisis support.
AV has become aware of groups using the AV logo or name to promote services or groups without AV approval. AV cannot provide any assurance of the quality of any group not coordinated by AV and not listed in the links above. They will not be covered by our insurance, they will not have AV Group Leader training and we cannot confirm that the quality of support they deliver fits within AV standards.