Autism Peer Support Groups

We’re delighted to now be able to offer delighted to now be able to offer a pilot Autism Peer Support Group service for adult women and non-binary people in Coventry and Warwickshire. This service will be expanding through 2024 and is open to residents of Coventry and Warwickshire only in F2F groups. Virtual groups for the whole of England and Wales are also operating

This service is aimed at women and non-binary people over 18 with a late diagnosis (self-diagnosis is valid) or on the pathway to an autism diagnosis. The sessions create a safe space for the group members to explore their feelings re: being diagnosed and their future hopes. It moves away from a pathologising medical model of autism that does not present a positive future for autistic people but will recognise that it may take time for members to work through years of masking and being gaslit.

We want group members to have a renewed sense of self-compassion and self-esteem and to experience a community filled with others who experience the world in the same way. Our trained Autism Peer Support Workers will support and validate your experiences as well as answering any questions about diagnosis and what it means to be autistic including exploring co-occurrences such as with ADHD and Alexithymia. The sessions will allow the group members to learn about their others’ experiences of being neurodivergent and build an important sense of community.

There are limited funded places for this service and we expect them to fill quickly.

Details are as follows:

  • F2F sessions open to women and non-binary people aged 18 and above
    living in Coventry or Warwickshire who have a medical or self diagnosis
    of autism or are awaiting one.
  • Sessions will be in person at venues across Coventry and Warwickshire.
  • Virtual sessions open to women and non-binary people aged 18 and
    above in England and Wales.
  • If sessions need to be virtual over Zoom (there will be no requirement to
    have the camera turned on or to speak if the young person would prefer
    to type in the chat, and peer support workers can turn off their cameras
    if preferred and just share screens) members will be told in advance.
  • There will be 10 sessions of one hour each for the group members, who
    will then have the option to join a moderated online group of other group
    members to further build a supportive community which will be
    maintained after formal sessions end.
  • All of our autism peer support workers are neurodivergent themselves
    and will bring their own relatable experience of being diagnosed as an
    adult to the sessions.
  • Each peer support worker is DBS-checked, has had safeguarding training
    and has previous experience of mentoring or working with autistic
    people.

The peer support programme has been specifically designed by autistic people in the framework of the NHS’s Peer Support Programme and all our Peer Support Workers have completed NHS Autism Peer Support Worker training.

Before applying please check that you are eligible on the criteria above and read our Admissions Policy along with our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Our first F2F group is in Harbury, near Southam and Leamington Spa on Tuesday evenings and started after Easter. Our next F2F group is in Coventry and will start on June 25th for 10 weeks. Virtual sessions run throughout the year

To apply for the service, please complete the form below

Those who are unsuccessful in obtaining one of our limited number of funded places will be put on a waiting list while we pursue more funding.

This service has been made possible thanks to funding from Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust.

What our attendees say

your thoughtfulness and care and noticing are, for me, what has made the group a safe space. I was surprised by me even attending such a group because I avoid any group situations but right from the beginning sharing photos and clear introduction made it something I gave a go and I am glad I did.

Adult Peer Support Group attendee

Attending the sessions was the first time in my 54 years of life, I felt validated.
I was diagnosed as autistic in my middle forties, after spending my whole life feeling I didn’t fit it with anyone or anything. I grew up feeling very bad about myself.Attending the sessions made me so happy, I cannot understate this. Meeting other women with shared life experiences as myself, gave me for the first time, a feeling of belonging, acceptance and understanding.So I am very grateful for this experience you provided. It was liberating for me. If only I had this support from a young age, my life could have been so different.So I’d like you to know the service you provided via the weekly sessions, has made a major positive impact upon me and my life. I can move forward feeling positive about my identity, and to finally be kinder to myself.

Jo, autistic woman

As a late diagnosed autistic/ADHD woman, I’m renewing how I see myself and my place in the world. After 40+ years of feeling a misfit, the peer support group has really helped me find my place.
A wonderful, small community, with no expectations to talk from the start made it a warm and welcoming place. Lydia’s lived experience offers a viewpoint from someone who is understanding and advocating themselves and where no question or comment is invalid.
I would recommend this group to anyone wondering about their autistic identity, wanting to learn more about themself or wanting to meet a group of people who understand. The power of this is not to be underestimated.

Catherine, Peer Support group attendee

Thank you so much for the sessions. They have truly helped me immensely, and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to join. The sessions were well-structured, inclusive, and provided a safe space for everyone. It was wonderful to meet and discuss with others the everyday experience of being autistic. We quickly became close, sharing stories, advice, and anecdotes. I thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and would recommend them to anyone! They made me feel more included in the autistic community and helped me realise that my experiences are shared by others who understand. I cannot thank you enough for these sessions and the confidence and acceptance they have provided me.

Natasha, Peer Support group attendee