Autistic Peer Group
Authentic, Autistic Community
G02, 55-59 Gordon Square
4-5 pm on Wednesdays (during academic term)
A safe and friendly community for autistic students at UCL. We hope you will join our flourishing community of kind and great minds!
About Autistic Peer Group
What is Autistic Peer Group?
Autistic Peer Group (APG) is a new and unique initiative set up by and for autistic students. APG started its community in January 2019 at University College London with the hope to give autistic students a sense of belonging and safety at university. The aim is to support each other. For many reasons, life can be difficult for autistic students. APG aims to provide an hour a week when autistic students feel less pressure in engaging with others and space to develop an authentic sense of connection.
What do APG do?
We meet once a week for one hour. In our regular meeting, we quite often use topic cards to get the conversations going. The meeting is casual and aims to be the most comfortable and peaceful space for autistic students to be on campus. It is free to talk or not to talk.
What we could do at APG is not limited. We can be creative and innovative as well as supportive and having fun. Your ideas are always welcomed!
Who is APG for?
APG is for autistic students studying at UCL. Currently, we have a quite good number of members in the group (not too big but big enough to be a community). If you 're a current/prospect autistic student at UCL, take a leap of faith to meet us on one Tuesday! You won't be sorry!
What do members say about APG?
"APG meetings have been a real turning point in my year. Being diagnosed with autism was really hard for me and I felt more lonely and ashamed than ever, as if there was something “wrong with me”. I was completely friendless. But meeting other people struggling with the same issues and succeeding anyway, students who were tolerant, open-minded, and friendly helped me a lot to re-built my self-esteem and confidence. People are not judgmental and genuinely nice and supportive.
The frame of the ‘topic cards’ felt quite artificial at first but is actually a very pleasant way to break the ice and discuss topics that I would be too shy to bring up such as doctors, social and dating life.
It is very motivating and I am always on a joyful mood on Tuesdays because this hour allows me to have a social experiences that are not distressing at all. Thanks a lot !" (1st year, female)
"APG has been a really good space to come to and just talk about my experiences as an autistic person with other people who understand and relate to a lot of what I am talking about. It’s nice to have that hour in my week where I don’t have to worry about socializing well and can just relax and hear how other people, who are very similar to me, are getting on. UCL was definitely missing this sort of group so I am glad that Kana set the APG up. Even though we are not all the same, it’s still fun to hear about how we differ and what everyone does with their week. It’s an extremely welcoming environment and I look forward to it every week. There are even prompts to help us along with topics so that we don’t have to worry about knowing what to say every time we go. It’s a very easy and understanding place to settle into. APG has led to some very strong friendships even outside the group meetings and I look forward to it growing even more than it already has!" (3rd year, female)
"I always look forward to the APG meetings to talk to and meet people who I know are like me. We have a lot of fun conversations and I've meet a lot of cool peoplefrom different backgrounds. It's difficult to find people like us so I've really enjoyed having a place to talk about our particular issues in a non-judgemental way." (4th year, male)
"APG has, for me, been a valuable opportunity to meet new people. As a first year, its good to meet other autistic people, some of whom are also experiencing Uni for the first time, but also people who have been through there first year. I can rely on APG for both support, but also advice from people with more experience of Uni than me." (1st year, male)
"APG has been a relaxing time at the end of the day where I feel no pressure to be someone I'm not. We have shared our very personal experiences including mental health, but even then I could feel safe in doing so. Knowing that there is a space for students like us has been comforting. Furthermore, I cannot be more thankful for the precious friendships I have developed through APG." (postgraduate, female)
My name is Kana. I set up Autistic Peer Group with my hope to give a sense of belonging to my fellow autistic students in January 2019.
I am autistic and advocate autism for myself, autistic peers and those who lovingly support us. I am currently a PhD student at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) at UCL Institute of Education, investigating loneliness in autistic adults. Though both my research and APG come from my deep desire to give autistic peers a sense of connection, APG solely stands to serve the members and not for research cause. My academic background is in Psychology. After graduating from Northeastern University (US) with an undergraduate science degree, I completed MA in Counselling Psychology from Boston College (US) and Post-Graduate Certification in Autism and Asperger's Syndrome at Sheffield Hallam University that is run in collaboration with the National Autistic Society.
Besides my passion for autism research and advocacy, I have loved dancing classical ballet my whole life and enjoy being in a ranch surrounded by horses. I cannot wait to get to know those of you who are thinking to join us. I hope you feel very much welcomed at APG.