You spoke, we listened!

Dear Asperfemme members,

Our research partnership with CAMH has given us the chance to learn more about your Asperfemme experiences. As a result, we are going to make 3 important changes to reflect what we heard.

This page outlines the upcoming changes.

1. An inclusive group name: We are renaming the group to be more current and reflect the diversity of autistic women. We want to hear from you! 

2. More opportunities for participation: We are adding an additional online group each month so more people can participate. 

3. Opportunities for informal discussion: We are extending the time of each group to provide more opportunities for informal discussion on the monthly topic.

1. Asperfemme Toronto Name Change – We want to hear from you!

We are planning to change the name of our Asperfemme Toronto group and we need your help!

We feel compelled to do this because the name does not accurately reflect the values we hold as an organization.  Let me explain.

First, it is outdated. Asperger’s hasn’t been given as a diagnosis since 2013. Think about that: no one has been diagnosed with Asperger’s for the past seven years . Thus, if someone looking for support sees a name like Asperfemme, they may not know this group has anything to offer them.

Second, some people in our community find the word ‘femme’ off-putting.  If they do not identify as feminine women, they may feel excluded and conclude the group is not for them.

Third, the term ‘Asperger’s’ is upsetting to many in the autistic community and beyond.  There is evidence that Hans Asperger, the pediatrician who first identified the strengths and challenges that later became known as Asperger’s Syndrome, was involved in the deaths and medical experimentation of disabled children.

Finally, the group serves autistic women outside of Toronto.

So those are our reasons.  Now, the hard part is coming up with a name that feels welcoming and inclusive to all people who identify as autistic women.  Here are the ideas we have come up with. 

Which one feels right to you? 

1. Autistically: An Autistic Women and Nonbinary Support Group

2. Living autistic: An Autistic Women and Nonbinary Support Group

3. Good Company: An Autistic Women and Nonbinary Support Group  

Click here to complete your vote by December 17th at 5pm.  We will decide on the new name based on which title gets the most votes. 

2. More opportunities for participation: We are offering an additional monthly meeting to create more peer support options. The two meetings will have the same discussion topic and format.

  1. Maxine Share and Besa Thomas-Shemkovski will continue to offer a group on the 3rd Thursday of the month starting at 6pm.
  1. We are adding an additional monthly group on the first Tuesday of the month from 4:30pm to 6:30pm starting February 2021. This will be co-facilitated by Maxine Share and Clémentine Pirlot. Welcome Clémentine to the team!

3. Opportunities for informal discussion: Currently our online meetings run for 90 minutes. We are expanding the meetings to 2 hours. After 90 minutes, the groups will take a 5 minute break. Participants who prefer a structured dialogue may choose to leave the meeting at this time. Those who want to participate in an informal discussion on the meeting topic can stay until the two hour mark. 

Thank you for taking the time to read about these upcoming changes.

Please email me if you have any questions.