Autistic Girls Network Groups

We currently run some Face to Face groups for girls and non-binary young people aged between 9 – 25, and it is our wish and intention to open more as we get funding!

We’d love to see the day where anyone can access a neuro-affirming group, wherever they are.

To talk about opening an AGN group, get in touch with us at the contact email at the bottom of this page – but please note we won’t open anywhere there is already a successful group.

What’s special about our groups?

  • Our groups are neuro-affirmative spaces where, most importantly, autistic children and young people can be themselves and be accepted exactly as they are
  • Our group facilitators are neurodivergent themselves, with neurodivergent children, and they understand. Most of our facilitators have trained as teachers or Forest School practitioners. They are DBS checked with safeguarding training.

  • Our group sizes are capped so that the group does not become too big for the young people to be comfortable coming to it.

  • We do lots of craft, cooking and outdoor activities but we also make time for understanding more about being autistic, in a positive way.
  • We spend a short time covering different life skills-related topics each session, for example we might talk about emotions, or friendship, or money management.

  • We genuinely get it – and so there is space to talk about passionate interests, and respect those interests. All of them.

  • We create an environment where co-production is the norm, and where self-advocacy is encouraged. We want to help these young people to be able to advocate for their needs.

  • Our groups are very popular! Some of our members have been coming since the very first group!

Who can attend our groups?

In order to come to the groups, you or your child need to:

  • Be autistic or on the pathway to diagnosis (self diagnosis is valid)

  • Be a girl, woman or non-binary young person

  • Be able to attend group alone without the need for 1:1 support or for a parent/carer to stay

What about our group leaders?

All of our group facilitators are neurodivergent themselves and will bring their own relatable experience of being diagnosed as an adult to the sessions. They are passionate about nurturing a positive autistic identity and helping to change the narrative around neurodiversity.

Each group facilitator is DBS-checked, has had safeguarding training and has previous experience of mentoring or working with autistic young people.

Where do we run groups?

We run groups in Stratford upon Avon, Hereford, Chester and South Birmingham

Our 9-12 Stratford upon Avon group

This busy group love their craft and cookery and having group in the Forest School area which is part of the 1 acre garden in our lovely venue!

This group is very popular and does have a waiting list. To register your child please complete the form here

Our 13-18 Stratford upon Avon groups

The first teen group is our longest-running group and some of our members have been with us from the beginning. They have made friends in the group and have a chatty (private) WhatsApp thread!

This group is very popular and the waiting list got so long we’ve opened a second teen group. To register your child please complete the form here

Our 18-25 Stratford upon Avon group

What happens is very much led by our members – they’ve had movie nights, they’ve roasted marshmallows over the firepit, they’ve baked hedgehog bread, they’ve made fun Hama Bead creations, they’ve made jewellery, they’ve gone for a pub outing and more! We do still have some capacity in ths group

Our 11-16 Hereford group

This new group based in Bartestree on Mondays welcomes autistic girls non-binary young people from 8th April.

Our 13-18 Chester group

This new group for 13-18 year old autistic girls and non-binary people is based at SPACE in Chester, which means access to their fantastic sensory room! Opening at the end of February.

Our 13-18 South Birmingham group

This new group for 13-18 year olf autistic girls and non-binary young people is opening at the newly refurbished community centre Pineapple House, at Dads Lane Community Centre in Stirchley. Opening at the beginning of March.

Opening new groups

We are always looking at possibilities of opening new groups and are in talks with a few people around England about opening.

To open a new group we need:

  • Neurodivergent facilitators – two for each group session, must pass a DBS check and undertake safeguarding training as well as training on our own Autistic Girls Network Groups framework. In some instances these will be volunteers, in others if we have enough funding in place they can be paid on a freelance basis. We may need to prove need before we can secure funding. Our facilitators also need to uphold AGN’s ethos of Difference not Deficit and be passionate about changing the narrative on neurodiversity.

  • A suitable and secure venue that’s available at the same time every week/fortnight. It needs space for activities, cooking facilities, preferably outdoor space and to not be a sensory nightmare! When the group location is not near AGN headquarters, we rely on the group facilitators to secure a venue, but AGN funds it.

  • Funding to pay for the venue, activities, supplies such as art and crafts, fidget toys and sensory items, admin and group facilitators.

If you’d be interested in helping us to open a group near you, please get in touch at hello@autisticgirlsnetwork.org. Be patient – we are still a tiny charity and we don’t have huge capacity.

What people say about our groups

Charlotte really loves these sessions and as a family we are very grateful to AGN for making them happen.

I wanted to take the opportunity of thanking you for creating this group. It is my daughter’s only lifeline! It’s really helping her slowly come to terms with her diagnosis. She couldn’t even say the word at first. It’s like autism has hit her all of a sudden so she keeps wanting things to be as they used to be. She has also made a best friend in the group which is helping her more than you know. Her self-esteem and self-worth has been dangerously low but is slowly improving.  So I just wanted to say a massive, heartfelt thanks.

I was able to persuade B to go to the group. It went exactly as I had hoped it would. It was eye-opening for her and for the first time she didn’t have to hide. She came away feeling like she isn’t the loneliest girl in the world. She was truly happy. Thank you for what you are doing.

My daughter enjoys the group very much, it is a safe space where she can be herself. Despite being one of the younger members she is always keen to attend. She has made friendships with older girls, she’s also learning from being with them.

Attending these groups has been phenomenally impactful for my daughter. At a critical point in her social development she has found a group of peers and adult guides to help her navigate the challenges she faces being an autistic person in society. I have watched her grow in confidence and more able to advocate for herself. She feels less isolated and exposed and is starting to understand her different ways of thinking in a more positive way.

funding three groups for a year

I just wanted to say thank you for organising the 9-12 group. I actually unexpectedly burst into tears after dropping my daughter off at the group. It took me a minute to work out that it was happy tears of relief at seeing other mums and daughters coming into the group, and realising that E and I are not alone.  That face to face contact is so powerful. Most importantly, E enjoyed the session and wants to go again. She masks a fair bit at school etc, and I think the group will be so positive for her to accept and celebrate her autism. I feel very lucky to have spotted your Facebook post and got E a place. Thank you again!

Fantastic support for the girls!  Lovely activities in a safe space.  She looks forward to every session.

My daughter has made new friendships and has found increased confidence through knowing other girls that are like minded.  Her overall wellbeing and ability to self advocate has improved.  She is proud of her identity and positive about being Autistic.

My daughter really enjoys going to her group – it is a very low demand, relaxed environment. I think she accepts and embraces being autistic a little more.

I just want to say thank you for everything that you and the others do – C absolutely loves the group.

In just 3 sessions, my daughter has made genuine connections and friendships. She feels able to be herself with other like minded girls. It’s a joy and relief as a parent to see there are friendships that can just be fun, without the complications she faces at school. These groups play an essential role in her emotional wellbeing, something we’ve been seeking for a while.