It is not always easy to connect with people socially after one graduates from college but by getting involved with a nearby social group, Asperger’s Adult Social Group of Northwest NJ, people can make new friends and socialize.
In its 9th year, The Asperger’s Adult Social Group of N.J., has grown to over 25 members who were meeting once monthly to participate in a planned social activity.
Due to the pandemic, the group has stalled and is now looking to begin meeting again and grow the membership to have others join in on the fun.
“Our current members have asked that we continue to grow, so I am spreading the word,” says Debra Burke of Budd Lake, founder of The Asperger’s Adult Social Group of Northwest N.J. “It’s a great core group, and we are hoping to get more members.”
Established in October 2013, Burke and her daughter, Jaclyn, who is an Aspie Adult, had discussed how great it would be to have a social support group for adults with Asperger’s “since we hadn’t heard of anything like that in our part of N.J.,” says Burke. “Since then, connections have grown, new friendships have been made, and it’s truly been a wonderful thing.”
“While there’s a lot of support for children on the Autism spectrum, once they get out of school, there’s not enough outlets,” she says. Jaclyn, who graduated Mt. Olive High School and attended County College of Morris in Randolph, was 31 when they began the group.
“I just felt there was a need for adults with Asperger’s to have a social outlet,” says Burke. Other adults were asking for such a group as well, she says.
Intimidated at first, she admits, to begin such a program, Burke attended a workshop held at Saint Claire’s Hospital in Denville to learn how she could start such a group. Her idea was to meet socially for a night of fun and laughter and grow relationships
“I knew I could do that, I can throw a great party,” she says. So, she decided to organize an event once a month.
Since that time, members have met at different types of social get togethers such as dinner at an Italian restaurant, Hibachi, bowling nights, summer barbecue, swimming party, pizza and dessert party, paint and wine night and movie night.
Of the members, Burke says “it’s an amazing, positive group of people. It’s grown into a community of people and friendships, not only for the members but also for their families. It’s evolved so much.” Current members consist of men and women, 18 years old through the 40’s from Morris, Warren, Somerset and Sussex counties.
For more information, email Debra Burke at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 201-230-4725 to join. Follow on Facebook- Asperger’s Adult Social Group of Northwest NJ.