The Triple As (Autism Awareness Association) are an Autist led Aberdeen charity set up to provide peer support to a group that is often ignored - those of us who are struggling socially, but do not meet support criteria for other conditions. We are run by Autists, solely for Autists, and have social groups throughout the week. These groups are chosen by the members - both in terms of what groups exist, and what occurs during the groups themselves.
We provide these groups for Autists with low support needs - the goal is to allow people to overcome isolation, practice being social, and learn strategies to deal with the energy costs being social can be for many of us. As part of this, we cannot 'bubblewrap' people, and we are not appropriate for those that need a high degree of individual support. Our groups are about people learning how to form strategies that work for them on their own behalf.
Triple A staff are all autistic - as such, while we don't understand your autism, we do understand the issues autism can cause. While we won't hold your hand, we are here to help, and just like the rest of the group, we've experienced the mistakes that come from adapting to being social.
What Triple A groups are for:
- Reducing isolation for capable autistic people with low support needs
- Learning strategies for dealing with social and sensory issues.
- Being in an environment in which autism is not treated as a stigma.
- Developing the ability to make choices.
- Being able to do all of the above while having fun. Have a look at our group list, and we are always happy to consider new group ideas if there's enough interest from new and current members. So don't feel like if you aren't interested in what we currently do that we aren’t for you.
What Triple A groups are not for:
We are not for everyone, and there are situations we are not the most appropriate charity to address.
- First and foremost, we are not a respite group. Attending our groups is about learning how to deal with social situations, and while we'd like that to be as fun as possible, it's not something easy. It takes energy and personal dedication.
- We are also not a therapy group. If you do have an issue involving your autism, you can certainly have a chat with some of our staff (or arrange an appointment), but it is not the primary purpose of the group. We cannot give advice or solutions for mental health issues.
- We are not appropriate for people with more than limited learning difficulties or learning disabilities. We are working with a number of other charities to try and ensure there are other options available in the near future.
- We are not for non-autistic people. Everyone in the room at our groups are autistic.
We know making that first step to come along can be difficult, so in certain cases we can accommodate a person coming along to with you to your first session. However, they will not be able to join in the group if they are not autistic. We have a separate area for non-autistic people to sit, giving you the security they are there and easily accessible should you feel you need their support.
How do I apply to become a member of the Triple As?
If you'd like more information or to join the Triple As, you can either send an email to Alastair.Meek@triplea.uk.com or send us a message on our Facebook page. We can then arrange an introductory meeting.
We do this for a number of reasons:-
- So that our staff can get to know you a bit. It's really important for us to know what you are interested in and concerned by, so we'll want to talk with you about.. well.. you. It's important that this comes from you, so while we appreciate it may be difficult to talk to us in the strange new place, we will want to hear about you.
- So that we can tell you a little about the Triple A‘s and what the groups are like.
- So that you can meet with us and see the building when there aren't lots of other people around.
- So that we can talk to you about any anxieties or conditions that you may have. We'll have to take a note of this, but this will be kept confidential.
After the introductory meeting, if you are interested in joining, we'll have a follow up meeting after you've been attending groups for a few weeks so we can have a quick chat about how things are going for you.
Triple A‘s is not appropriate for everyone so, while I apologise in advance, we may have to say at either the introductory meeting or the follow up meeting that we feel that our groups are not appropriate for you. If after reading this you feel it may be something you are interested in, we look forward to hearing from you.