Navigating life when you have atypical neurological wiring can be a challenging journey. It is hard to know how and where you fit into the world, a world that can be very confusing, and one in which you are often misunderstood. Sometimes it can feel like you are a square peg in a world of round holes - but what if there was an opportunity to meet other square pegs?
The A-Team Waterloo Region is a monthly peer support group for adult individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) - Level 1. The group is run by individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome, for individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome, with assistance from our volunteer facilitator. Our primary goal has always been to create a safe and welcoming environment to meet fellow adults with Asperger’s Syndrome (or ASD – level 1), discuss topics of interest, share experiences, and embrace our neurological diversity. A formal diagnosis is not required to participate, and the group is open to individuals 18+ years.
The group was co-founded by two local “Aspies” who both desired to connect with other individuals who had neurology similar to their own. With some encouragement and direction from local expert, Carol McMullen, we began in July of 2014. Our beginnings were modest, running out of a church basement, with a handful of attendees, and facilitating the meetings ourselves. We now hold our monthly meetings in a room at KW Habilitation (space donated by the facility); we have meetings with 18 plus people (nearing max capacity), and have incorporated a facilitator (volunteer position). We have a monthly newsletter and have ~ 90 subscribers.
As a grassroots organization, we are powered by volunteerism and donations of space/materials from community partners. Our five-year track record and continued growth speaks to the quality of the service we provide along with the need in our community. To continue to offer this important program, we need more resources to effectively improve and expand.
Funded by Kitchener-Waterloo, ON (November 2019)