No plan, no formal discussion, no agenda… just food…seems to be a fairly successful recipe for a get-together so far. We had our third ‘hang-out’ day today at Juniper Hill, and it felt like a great day. Seven or so very local folks on the spectrum, along with a parent.. stopped by for the afternoon, and it’s feeling more and more comfortable each time. The front half of the house now becomes the HALO/Lego area … with the pool table completely covered with figures, and surrounded by guys discussing the latest releases. Others in the room sit on comfortable couches talking …… not everyone finds HALO fascinating!
Outside, some folks take walks to visit with the goats, the rabbits, the pot-bellied pigs, or to get more SPACE
In the dining room, the parents gather at the table and talk about navigating the ‘system’ after age 21 and finding support. Young people come in and out as they need to, when the Lego room starts to buzz with too much conversation… or when they just need to touch base with a parent…. or to sit by the fire with a book for awhile.
and in the kitchen… the island is filled with home made mac and cheese, fruit salads, biscuits, veggies and dip, homemade chocolate chip cookies… and more. Everyone forages for food when they feel like it, there is not a set ‘meal time’.
and it just works…
We didn’t plan to not have a plan… it is just evolving this way. Each month we say ‘let’s sit and talk about what we want from this group’ and ‘let’s go around and introduce ourselves and find out what other’s interests are’… and it never happens. People show up and go about their business, and each time the young people spend more time together, away from the dining room and their parents.
So, it feels like it’s working… and relationships are happening without any extra forced effort on our part… so why mess with it? This is what we hoped for… so
let’s just hang out
Afterwards, when everyone had left and the Juniper Hill guys had scattered to the far corners of the Hill to recharge after a very social day… I sat down to relax and read my email and had a good laugh at this new post by Dude I’m an Aspie, with his version of a ‘support group’… click on the yellow link below, and check it out!
Sounds like a wonderful time, and I completely agree – if it works, why mess with it?
I have a gril friend she name is olivia Giza
Thanks Matt! It’s been a pleasant surprise to see how quickly things started to flow naturally … it would be a shame to change that!
Yes Jose, Olivia is awesome!