New Horizons Club Visit (Kate Altman, M.S.)

The other night I had the pleasure of visiting the New Horizons Club, a social club in the Philadelphia area for adults on the autism spectrum.  I have visited this group a few times over the past couple of years, and I was shocked by how large it has grown; there were over 30 people in attendance at the monthly meeting.  In addition to meeting each month, members (usually in smaller groups) participate in social outings and activities.  These range from everything to a night of bowling to a weekend trip to the beach.  Group members are 18 years-old to middle-aged with everything in between.  Oh, and the group is nearly half female right now.

As I walked into the room (I was there to give a short, informal presentation), many of the group members cheered and greeted me warmly.  Everyone introduced themselves.  They asked about my baby and asked to see pictures.  As I presented, many members asked pertinent questions, shared interesting comments, and were an appreciative and supportive audience.  Several people disclosed their own stories and struggles, and one married couple even described how they fell in love.

I had a wonderful time with this group, and floated out of the meeting at the end of the night, buoyed by enthusiasm from the members.  I am in awe of how incredibly powerful and important a social group like the New Horizons club is for adults on the autism spectrum.  I desperately wish more such groups existed.