Through my project, Bay Area Autism Collective, I offer peer-support groups to autistic adults, where members can unmask and talk about personal issues outside of the neuro-normative's social rules and communication styles. My project originates from my experience as an autistic person and the pleas of the autistic community, which desperately needs systems that understand and affirm the autistic experience.
There are very few groups for autistic adults run by autistic adults that aren’t generalized, instead focused on the primary issues the autistic population faces: relationship challenges, high unemployment (~65%), sexual violence (9 out of 10 autistic women), bullying (40% of autistic people), incarceration (4.4% of prisoners, which is double the prevalence in the general population), addiction (30% of autistic people), co-occurring conditions, medical gaslighting, autism- affirming mental health care, and high suicide/suicidality rates (¼ autistic people have attempted suicide).
I want to grow my project! That requires adding groups that center on the above topics so autistic adults with unique needs can access support from people with shared experiences - and that requires paying experienced facilitators who are also autistic. It is a visionary step toward improving autistic support compared to existing programs that historically only supported autistic children.
What our grantee is saying: "Receiving the Awesome Disability award means that Bay Area Autism Collective will be able to continue our advocacy and serve the adult autism community by providing peer support services that address the autistic community's most vulnerable areas. With this grant, we can enhance our infrastructure to expand our support groups from one to many. This award makes a world of difference for our small organization!"
What our trustees are saying: "I really loved that they are a local support group and are doing these very specific survivor/recovery workshops!"
Funded by Disability (November 2023)