About ASteen Social Club (An affiliate of Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect))
ASteen is a social group for young people aged 13 and over, diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (or High Functioning Autism) who are generally capable of functioning without specialist help. ASteen was started in 2004 by a group of parents to fill an unmet need for their AS teens, who were able to communicate and interact with others but had difficulty doing this in mainstream situations.
The group gives our teens the opportunity to socialise with others like themselves in a supportive environment. From feeling like complete outsiders, ASteen has given many of them a sense of belonging and the confidence that they too can make friends. In fact, many of our original members are now young adults and still enjoy the family outings.
Outings and Costs
There is no cost to join the group; just the cost of the outings themselves. Our outings range from picnics, museum trips and movies through to putt-putt golf,
ghost tours, and theatre visits.
Outings are held all over Sydney, and members come from as far away as Berowra in the north, the Blue Mountains in the west, Miranda in the south and Bondi in the east. Families take turns to organise outings and activities, which occur fortnightly on weekends. From time to time, members organise ad hoc activities outside the regular schedule, and this works well too.
We communicate through a Yahoo email group, which is moderated by volunteer parents. The email group is not used as a support mechanism and is primarily for the purpose of organising activities. Information relating to Autism Spectrum Disorders is also circulated from time to time, for informational purposes only.
Every few months, we circulate a list containing the names and contact details of the members who attend outings regularly. This is a handy tool to help families locate each other when arriving at activities. We generally wait for a family to attend a few outings before putting them on this list, as it would be far too unwieldy to include the large number of families who are members of the wider group.
One of the features that we feel makes ASteen successful is that parents, and often siblings and family friends, attend the outings with their teens.
We find that unlike mainstream teenagers, AS teens like having parents along as it gives them a sense of security. The parents also enjoy our outings because it is a chance to make friends amongst others who understand. At the same time, because we are not a professional "service", it ensures that the responsibility for the safety of the teens is carried by their own family.
Will it help my son/daughter?
The group does not work for everyone. Whilst there are many AS teens who are keen to make friends but lack the necessary skills, there are also those who prefer their own company. These young people might attend a few outings and decide that they don't like group environments. That said, many AS teens have gotten and continue to get a lot of enjoyment from our group and have forged new friendships, as have their parents.
How to join us
To enquire about membership or for more information, please contact:
Christine Ayo on 0469 577 723
Lyn Starr on 0408 445 019
If the group is suitable for your teen, you will be given further information about completing a registration form and the Working with Children (WWC) check.
The WWC check is needed in order to comply with our insurance requirements. It needs to be completed by any member of your family over the age of 18 who is intending to participate in ASteen (including just being part of the organisers' email group).
Suggestions for outings are entered into a calendar, which is updated from time to time and circulated by a volunteer calendar coordinator; final details are emailed to members by the host family shortly before each event. New families are encouraged to help plan outings, as the group is always looking for new things to see and do.
Attendance varies, depending on the outing, weather, the mood of the teens, holidays etc. We are quite flexible about this and understand if outings occasionally need to be cancelled or postponed at the last minute.