I thought that rather than just having Asperger's Syndrome (AS) I'd see if I could benefit or gain anything from the various support groups that are out there. To this end I have started attending two monthly groups in particular. It's a start anyway.
I'm pretty much a cuckoo at the first group as it isn't really intended for people with AS but for people who have to care for adults with AS. Basically it's a meeting full of my parents. What it does give me is an interesting insight into the affect that AS has on other people. Having it myself I was never aware of the affect it was having on other people and I always thought everything I did was normal and without consequence. Not being able to pick up on non-verbal clues meant that I was probably annoying people and not realising. Also as it is a support group for carers they are quite candid about the issues, probably more so than if the people they care for were present. They often have guest speakers as well who are involved in local autistic services. Again not much use to me but I have discovered the existence of some social groups in my area that I didn't know existed.
Talking of social groups, the second group I am attending is a social group for people with autism, not just AS. I was a bit nervous about going to this one in case it made me question my own diagnosis as there are some rather common AS traits that I don't really identify with. On a certain level I was worried that people would be "more AS" than me. For the first meeting I pretty much sat and said nothing, but I tend to do that when meeting a lot of new people anyway. The fact that they were "my kind" didn't make any difference.
There are people who attend that are very much textbook AS, and I do wonder if they think I'm an imposter and that I can't possibly have AS as I don't behave like they do. This social group has also shown me the importance of an autistic-focussed environment. Although I didn't say a whole lot my first time around, I didn't feel bad about it. I didn't go home feeling guilty wondering if they thought I was shy or weird. I instinctively knew that no-one was judging my social skills and that just being present was enough to gain acceptance. This is the only social group I am involved with currently; I might try the one I found out about in the previous group I mentioned, however for now I think once a month is enough for me. It messes with my routine enough as it is :)