Breaking down social barriers

SOCIALISING is not  easy for everyone, but when you’ve got Asperger’s syndrome or high-functioning autism, sometimes the even the challenge of talking to a stranger can be overwhelming.

Realising the difficulties he faces, local man Benjamin Wilshire has decided to form a social group for other people who, like him, want to feel socially included and less like the odd one out.

“Asperger’s syndrome is a hidden disability,” he said.

“Physically, individuals appear perfectly normal and their cognitive intelligence is average or higher, though they have great difficulty interpreting everyday social cues such as facial expressions or body language.”

Mr Whilshire said often someone with one of these conditions can stand out in social situations.

“Typically, they stand too close, interrupt conversations and continue to speak whether or not anyone is interested,” he said.

“Unfortunately, as not many people know about the condition, this causes us to often be ostracised from many people.”

Mr Wilshire said the aim of the group was to get together in an informal setting and build confidence and social skills, and talk about ways of working together for autism advocacy.

“The most important thing is to have fun,” he said.

Initially, the group will participate in different activities, including mini-golf.

The firt meeting of the group will be held at 7.30pm on September 26 at the Community Information and Services Centre  in Kite Street, with access via Woolworths car park. 

For more information call 0413 712 601 or email ben.wilshire@gmail.com.

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