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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Turning Pointe Autism Foundation: A Safe Space


by Mary Butler

In a world full of spaces to interact with others, where are your safe spaces? Is it online, at home, at school, at work, or at your favorite local spot?

When I think about safe spaces, I think about where I feel free to be my most authentic self. It is vital to have different avenues of safe spaces where we can just “be,” and this is the type of space The Hangouts at Turning Pointe Autism Foundation became.

Two years ago, Turning Pointe started a social group for young adults on the spectrum. It started with small gatherings and slowly grew into a community of individuals who looked forward to every monthly meeting, now called “The Hangouts.”

Each month, I witness participants excited to see each other, share stories and laughs, and – most important – just be themselves, together. I always knew it was something special, but when a participant bought a little gift for another simply because it reminded them of her, I realized how much this has impacted lives. It is apparent that The Hangouts have become a safe space. And I feel fortunate to have a safe space, too, sharing time with the diverse autism community.

Building on the success of The Hangouts, we are launching The Teen Hangouts! Knowing that socialization and peer connection are important aspects of the teenage years, we look forward to building a new community and helping teenagers on the spectrum find safe spaces.

Are you interested in joining The Hangouts or looking for guidance on your autism journey? Contact me, Turning Pointe’s Family Specialist Mary Butler, at mbutler@turningpointeaf.org or (630) 615-6036.

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Turning Pointe Autism Foundation
Turning Pointe Autism Foundationhttp://turningpointeautismfoundation.org/
Established in 2007 to raise the quality of educational supports for children and young adults with autism, Turning Pointe Autism Foundation creates best practice learning environments to increase independence, improve communication and socially appropriate behaviors.