June 23rd, 2018

Mother and son starting autism support group

By Mo Cranker on January 18, 2017.

Medicine Hat News

People who share similar experiences in life will always have something to talk about.

That’s why Diane MacNaughton and her son Peter are starting up an autism support group, where people with autism can meet once a month to talk and share life experiences. MacNaughton says the group is all about giving people in the city with autism a place to go and talk.

“Sometimes when people share similar feelings and experiences they can talk for ages,” she said. “I’ve run a number of support groups myself so I know anything can happen really, but we’re hoping to see some people come out and talk.”

The event will be held at the Chamber of Commerce boardroom on Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. and MacNaughton says her son will be helping her run the meeting, and he came up with the idea to hold the event.

“Peter asked me, ‘why not start up a support group in Medicine Hat?’ and now we’re doing it,” she said. “We’re excited to see who comes to the meeting and what they talk about.”

MacNaughton says they are not inviting parents or friends who do not have autism, because they want everyone at the meeting to have shared experiences they can related on.

“We’re inviting anyone diagnosed or self-diagnosed,” she said. “It can be hard to get an official diagnosis, so if people are self-diagnosed we’re allowing them to come and share their experiences and to just talk with a group of people.”

As for the conversation, MacNaughton says anything goes.

“We’ll talk about whatever people want to talk about,” she said. “When people get together who share something like autism — they just want to talk about whatever they have in common, whether it’s venting or joking, it’ll be good.”

MacNaughton and her son also hold monthly meetings about certain topics surrounding autism, which are also held at the chamber.

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