Standing out and fitting in: a report on a support group for individuals with Asperger syndrome using a personal account


  • Andrea MacLeod,

  • Paula Johnston

Address for correspondence: Andrea MacLeod, University of Birmingham, School of Education, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT. Email:


In this article, Andrea MacLeod, lecturer in autism studies at the University of Birmingham, and Paula Johnston, a woman with Asperger syndrome who now focuses on writing and speaking about her condition, consider the function of specialist group interventions for individuals with Asperger syndrome. These authors report on one model - a discussion and support group aimed primarily at young adults. The self-report of a former participant, a woman with Asperger syndrome, is used as a case study to illustrate issues and processes. Her report suggests that peer support and peer learning should be recognised as significant goals of such interventions and that interventions should be planned to respond to the needs that follow diagnosis. The authors suggest that clinical and educational services need to work together to ensure that children and young people have immediate access to such support models, which should be viewed as preventative therapies. This article provides evidence that first-hand accounts can offer new insights into how such interventions are experienced by those involved. Andrea MacLeod and Paula Johnston argue that future research in this area should seek to employ participatory methodologies.