Time for – reflections on the weekly drop-in sessions.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 26 February 2024

This week’s drop-in welcome a newcomer. Introductions paved the way for travel and public health care experience. The group discussion then moved on to routines and time blindness.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 19 February 2024

The group discussed the relationships and illnesses – and the dynamic between family members. Public health care delivery was explored, specifically experiences of elective surgery. Discussion then moved to LGBTQ rights – exploring history, religion, access to health care.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 12 February 2024

Family dynamics were discussed, particularly with relations who are ill. There was a review of personal experiences of public health care delivery and, in particular, elective surgery. After that, there was a thoughtful discussion on LGBTQ access to health care. This broadened out to examining evolving rights, changing attitudes and role of institutions.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 12 February 2024

This morning’s session began by reviewing audio visual support when on public transport. Responses were varied. When other participants joined, there was a switch to living with former partners and personal domestic circumstances. After that, there was a lively discussion on executive dysfunction.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 05 February 2024

Travel, managing multiple commitments, taking breaks and the routine of the week began a varied drop-in discussion. After that, there was a structured debate on the romance, relationships, the merits of living alone and dealing the commercial pressure of the looming Valentine’s Day.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 29 January 2024

Computer repairs, computer software and rail travel were recurring themes of the first part of today’s discussion. After that, there was a structured discussion on diet and the routines of eating habits.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 22 January 2024

Today, the group discussed public services and concerns about them. After that, the group moved on to experiences of social norms and norms.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 15 January 2024

A personal experience at today’s drop-in highlighted wider needs and discussion point. The group moved to pressing concerns about where to get help, where to get advocacy, knowing your rights, how to exercise your rights.

The second part of the drop-in discussed burnout and the efforts required to conceal anxiety or discomforts.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 08 January 2024

The first drop-in of the New Year discussed the events of the year ahead: resolutions, personal commitments, household repairs and current affairs. There was a 2024 quiz followed by a structured discussion on the obligations ahead.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 18 December 2023

Ahead of the festive break, the group discussed the changes to public transport at the end of December and into the New Year. After that, there were practical discussions on household repairs.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 11 December 2023

The session open with varies discussion on public transport, new underground trains for London and personal academic studies. After that, there was a discussion on animal therapy and the pleasure of owning pets.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 04 December 2023

Ahead of year end plans, the group discuss travel plans during the festive period. After that, participants move on to the bad habit on how to quit them.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 20 November 2023

Today’s session explored the merits of different modes of public transport, followed by wider social debate on the use of food banks. A housing consultation paved the way for wider concerns on affordability, moving to quieter areas and the quality of homes themselves.

Autism and ADHD peer-group, Wednesday 15 November  2023

Las weeks autism and ADHD peer-group was structured into several questions – with a common theme of perceptions of ADHD. This included discussion around the changing nature of the condition, internal and external perceptions of the condition, possible differing gender experiences and the future.

Each question generated much interaction and debate. So much so that several questions will be explored more fully in our next session on Wednesday 13 December. Recurring themes were coping mechanisms, adaptations, noticeable outward symptoms and how other people see those symptoms.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 13 November 2023

Travel is a recurring feature of the Monday morning drop-ins. Today is another example – with discussions on the use of the freedom pass and the perils of cycling in winter. The morning’s political events was a chance to discuss making sense of speedy developments in current affairs. After that, the group move reasonable adjustments. The need for clarity in communication was a constant theme.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 6 November 2023

Today’s drop-in session began with an insightful public transport discussion before moving on to fixing computer. After that there was a positive debate on benefit payments – and the explanation on their receipt.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 30 October 2023

The first part of this morning’s drop-in covered pain management, demands of caring for relatives, interaction between employment and benefit payments. st a break – there was a mid-point quiz looking back at October events in the past. There  were a wider variety of views on dealing the events coming : Halloween and Bonfire Night.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 23 October 2023

Travel and language were discussed in the first hour of today’s drop-in. More specifically, station categories, maps, geographical perspective and accents. After this, the group moved to talking about autism and masking – the reasons, the questions for neurotypical people and lived experiences.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 16 October 2023

The drop-in started with dental visit concerns– opening up wider discussions on conditions including ADHD, Ehlers-Danlos syndromes and general pain management.

After that, we moved to visible and invisible disabilities. This promoted a comment about hesitancy for people referring to themselves as disabled – with connotations, stereotypes or responses from others.

Autism and ADHD online drop-in – Wednesday 11 October 2023

Monthly online peer-support group 

The next session will be the Wednesday 15 November 2023, 12:00 noon to 13:00.

This was the first online peer-support session for people diagnosed with both autism and ADHD. Group introductions offered a chance for participants to explain their personal experience and routes to diagnoses. What emerged was an interactive hour long session reflecting the complexity of dual diagnosis – with a spectrum of symptoms and lived experiences.

Overall, there were common themes of conflict, with one contributor saying they feel their autistic brain and ADHD brain are often pulling in opposite directions. Internal monologues was another topic that was discussed with participants expressing variation in how they experience these. Participants also reflected on intense daily experiences including thoughts hard to verbalise and sensory processing.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 09 October 2023

This morning’s drop-in brought a personal experience of the interaction between universal credit benefit payments and paid work. There was also a wider discussion of coping with ill health during prolonged periods. After that, the group reflected on recent event on autism and black awareness month – October 2023.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 25 September 2023

Varied morning topics included research into universal benefits and rail studies. With visits to France also discussed, there was also a lively and fun geography quiz. The second part of the session moved on to reasonable adjustments and masking.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 18 September 2023

This session began with varies personal remedies and anecdotes about self management – with chocolate and coca drinks included as comforts or a night cap. Visits to the coast and countryside also raise the mood and improved well being. The remainder of the drop-in covered accompanying difficulties – notably eyesight and light sensitivity.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 11 September 2023

Coming to terms with autism opened up a wider discussion of self management. We discussed masking – adapting your social conduct in order to fit in with others. Telling other people you can trust followed on : discussing your diagnosis with friends and family. The second section of the drop-in reflected on the previous autism and well being event. Sleeping routines, types of sleep and eating routines were all explored.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 4 September 2023

Today, we began by discussing the pleasing late summer weather and the precautions needed for the warmer temperatures. The second part of the drop-in covered the umbrella topic of executive dysfunction. A recurring theme was the use of online diary management tools to help with activities, deadlines and time.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 21 August 2023

Today’s session opened with managing fatigue – and exploring the benefits of exercise as part of supporting well being. The group moved to a discussion on reasonable adjustments – supported by interactive white board notes. Among the points raised were the distress of unexpected changes in plans and the need to communicate changes in advance whenever possible.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 14 August 2023

There were engaging discussions on places to travel and the choice of destinations – whether city, coast or countryside. After that, there was discussion on medication, support for advocacy and experience of claiming PIP.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 7 August 2023

Today’s drop-in covered a variety of topics on computers, building work and support groups specifically for autism. The second part was more structured reflecting on the recent evening pain management event as well as sensory issues and interoception.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 31 July 2023

After a welcome catch up weekend activities, there was an upbeat discussion on cinema. This was inspired by a trio of summer blockbusters. Reasons for cinema visits, relaxed settings and favourite films were all discussed. The next half of the drop-in discussed the difficult subject of autism and pain management – covering PTSD, panic attacks, symptoms and remedies.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 17 July 2023

Travel opened today’s drop-in. Members discussed back up plans when train travel goes wrong as well as other modes of transport. The second part of the session covered autism and burnout – when to recognise it, how to manage and practical tips.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 10 July 2023

Today’s session was varied. Everything from Japan and shoes to PIP claims and public health care delivery.  Member expressed particular concerns with financial management and accessing some NHS services.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 3 July 2023

Today’s session began with personal experiences during the current cost of living crisis – with extra work discussed as an option. Reflections on the recent Pride weekend in London, paved the way for a general discussion on noisy environments and the spoons theory.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 19 June 2023

This morning’s drop-in brought news of job interviews in addition to transport exploration. There was a discussion of entertainment and sensory overloads, as well as preparations for visits to new places. As this Learning Disability Week from 19-25 June 2023, the group also explored definitions, support required, workplace experience and challenges related to disabilities and development.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 12 June 2023

Today’s drop-in was in the midst of the June heat wave and with a discussion on coping with weather and enjoying the weather. The second part of the session cover men’s mental health. This discussion expanded to addiction, habit, routines and mobile phone use.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 5 June 2023

Today’s drop-in was lively and in two parts. After discussion behavioural issues and coping with personal difficulties, the session moved on to written communication versus spoken communications. Different scenarios raised a range of points on social media, emails, text messages and the style of communications.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 22 May 2023

This was an in-person event, with participants involved activities and discussions. Among the activities were colouring. Discussions covered well being – as part of mental heath awareness month. Diet and exercise as benefits being recurring themes.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 17 April 2023

The group reflect on the recent Easter holidays, as well anticipating big birthday numbers. A recurring theme was finding a place to call home as we get older. Having visitors to stay in one’s own home was also analysed.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 3 April 2023

Topics varied after a user had updated their profile – taking the group a Playstation purchase and Harry Potter films. After that, there were contributions on autism diagnosis – with subsequent follow up support and processes. Towards the end of the session, there was fun quiz on the Eurovision Song Contest.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 20 March 2023

The Spring equinox encouraged discussions on the season ahead as well as anniversaries and celebrations. Recent travel disruption was a chance to discuss the importance of travel planning. There were also the problems of privacy, especially with house sharing.

An interactive whiteboard discussion on improving well being covered sensory, conserving energy, burnout and hyperfocus.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 13 March 2023

Members discussed their recent experiences of exploring London by public transport, with a personal achievement of a long trip from one end to the other. Following a recent evening webinar, the group reflected on autism friendly spaces – with future plans to visit cinemas and galleries.

One member offered an update on difficult personal circumstances – opening up a wider discussion on autism and identity. After a quick London landmark quiz, there were thoughts on managing expectations for younger autism people. Finally, the group looked at television portrayal of autistic people.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 6 March 2023

Today’s session began with a user’s London Underground experiences – favourite lines, station observations and journey planning.  This paved the way for a broader conversation on autism friendly transport and what makes a good accessible event. Discussion moved to mobile phone apps which help with travel and money management, as well the risks of over exposure to online news feeds. Ahead of a forthcoming event , the session rounded off with an assessment of autism friendly spaces.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 27 February 2023

Today’s drop-in meeting was in-person. The meeting provided a great opportunity for a dynamic for multiple conversations covering a breadth of topics. They varied from autism disclosure and job interviews to social media and knowing whom to trust. There was in depth discussions on preparing for public meetings and public speaking as well as the stresses of multiple purchases.

Overall, this was a lively and engaging discussion – and the two hours on passed quickly.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 20 February 2023

The day before Shrove Tuesday generated plenty of discussion on pancakes! Especially discussing recipes, cultural variations and preferences. This date triggered another discussion on the use of calendars for remembering dates, celebrations and anniversaries.

The second part today’s drop-in explored emotional mental health – the causes, the differences and the importance. The difficulties of forgiving oneself cropped up. After that, there was the always valued discussion on setting boundaries.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 13 February 2023

The session began with the reminder of social media posts from a younger age and the responsibilities that go with it. Travel planning was next on the agenda, the interest of attending a book signing and the use of supportive books. There was also some practical advice on domestic energy management and recording energy use.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 6 February 2023

The drop-in session welcomed the return of former participant. This paved the way for discussing sleep issues – and the medication on offer.  The group returned to the discussion of autism burnout, with one member recounting the trauma of displacement from another country.

The other half of the session covered LGTBQ+ issues with a video on symbols and meaning followed by a general discussion.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 30 January 2023

After last week’s in-person meeting, the sessions returned to virtual drop-in format. Members discussed attending a sensory event as well reflecting on a personal difficulties including a loss of communications. For some, it’s been a tough week of experiences.

The second part of the drop-in covered boundaries – personal boundaries, communication boundaries and space boundaries. This is a popular and dynamic issue which the group is sure to return to.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 16 January 2023

Travel disruption began today’s drop-in session, with ways of means of dealing with unexpected changes of plans. This inspired a wider discussion on practical advice, outstanding tasks to complete and birthday treats.

The second part of the session moved onto the topics boundaries. A thought shower encouraged debate on personal safeguards, knowing when to say ‘no’ to others and sensory boundaries.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 09 January 2023

With this being the first drop-in of 2023, the group reflected on the recent holiday and pondered any quality time enabling a fresh New Year start. Looking back to a recent ALAG event, participants discussed autism and burnout – particularly personal treats which make welcome breaks from the demands of life. Food and travel were to the most favoured treats.

There was then a discussion of spoons theory – with personal experiences. The session ended with a quiz on the events ahead for 2023.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 19 December 2022

This was the last drop-in of 2023, with a chance to discuss preparation for the coming festive break. This was also the drop-in before the winter solstice, with a discussion on the day’s solar significance and to appreciate the coming brighter days. The group reflected on expectations for 2023.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 12 December 2022

Today session began amidst a cold snap and overnight snow fall in the South East. Participants compared winter snowy scenes and efforts to stay warm. The drop-in was also chance to reflect on the recent festive event as well expectations for 2023. On this, an interesting point was raised on reaching out for support, levels of engagement, management of expectations.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 5 December  2022

One of the contributors recent long distance journey prompted a wider discussion on transport experiences. Given the time of view, attention then focussed on festive preparations – including food and decorations as well as recall previous occasions. 

The cost of living was recurring a theme, with comparison on a variety of items in London and outside.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 28 November 2022

Today’s session focussed on two specific medical issues – discussing personal experiences, diagnoses and coping mechanisms. Tinnitus was first – which revealed varying experiences and means of dealing with issues. Then sleep disorders and disrupted sleep was next discussed. Overnight phone use, eating times and sleeping times were recurring themes.

Towards there was a group discussing on the pleasing tones of the radio shipping forecast.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 21 November 2022

Random mentioned of a goose in the car park prompted discussing winter food. This is a frequent occurrence of drop-in sessions where one subject prompt wider discussions – in this case big life choices following big life decisions. There were reflections on the noise and light stimulus of a recent visit to a busy seaside town. After that, the group moved the sombre and helpful advice on financial planning and energy bills. 

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 14 November 2022

A review of recent activities covered a diverse range of topics include Australia, wildlife and wildlife documentaries. After that, the group discussed ways of managing autism and where people can turn to help.

Using the digital white board, there was a structured session on declutter – with a case study and advice ahead of any house move. A particularly interesting observation was the importance attached to specific household items which may have importance or emotional attachment.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 7 November 2022

Proceedings began this morning with an update on personal health circumstances. After that, there were reflections on coping mechanism when dealing with unsettling news – especially when the news gives an outcome that is not expected.

The group talked about creating opportunities to improve personal well being with autism diagnoses being used as an example. After that, there was a sensory quiz – which followed on from an event on the subject previously.

Autism Hub drop-in, Monday 31 October 2022

This was a drop-in session divided into halves. The first half was a chance for participants to reflect on recent their activities. With the recent changing of the clocks, times zones came up as a special interest. There were also a discussion of varied work commitments as well as the troubles of driving in the big city.

After the general discussion, there second half was insightful contributions on autism and sensory issues. Sounds and smells on public transport were recurring themes, as well as advice on dealing with difficult situations.