Accessing peer support and attending a group for the first time can be daunting, so below is some information about what to expect and some guidance on how to participate so we all get the most out of our time together.
How Is A Group Structured?
Aupeer's peer support sessions last 60 minutes and there is an example laid out below to give an idea of what to expect.
This will differ according to the needs of each group and as we hold informal spaces, we don't adhere strictly to this format, but respond to what members bring on the day.
Up to 10 minutes:
- Each member can introduce themselves, this will only happen at:
a) The first meeting of a new group and,
b). When a new member joins.
- The group agreement will be read out to ensure it is relevant and agreed by all members:
a) this will only happen at the first meeting of a new group and or when a new member joins.
- Check in, does anyone have anything they would like to discuss today?
- Session will progress.
- Ending – the facilitator will check in with the group before ending the session
A core foundational value of peer support is ‘choice and control’. You have choice and control over how you interact with peer support.
In line with this below are some healthy guidelines for taking part positively in the group, these are not rules.
Members are encouraged to attend as regularly as possible but there will be no judgement or disapproval if sessions are missed. You can leave the session at any point to take a break. Re-join the group when it feels right for you.
Everyone is encouraged to share to facilitate a group connection, however, how much you share will depend on what feels right for you at different times. Take time to settle in and get used to the group, listening has just as much impact.
If you do share do so intentionally and with kindness. Think about what you are sharing and whether it will help or hinder others in the group. We can share our challenges, but our stories also go beyond this. Who are you, what do you love? What would you love to do?
We are not here to give advice, but think about how we can use our experience and what we have learned as autistic people to support each other.
Respect others experience and be non-judgmental. Kindness and empathy are key.
Try to relax and remember you are in a safe space.
To find out more about our group agreement which will be sent out to you when you register please click here.