Autistic Youth Hub

Our first major project is to build our Autistic Youth Hub – a dual online and real world space – that celebrates neurodivergent culture and ways of being while acknowledging the challenges of being autistic through the later stages of adolescence, higher/further education, into the workplace and independent adulthood.

We have spent the past several years informally creating social events and opportunities for autistic young people and had become very conscious that most youth services (and more specifically funded, facilitated social opportunities) end when education ends.

Few, if any, services are available for intellectually able 16+ young adults, where they are supported, and more crucially inspired by solely autistic and similarly neurodivergent mentors and role models.

We’re natively online with a digital-first approach for many reasons, mostly around accessibility and inclusion:

  • we believe that entering a digital community (where you can just ‘lurk’ and listen/read whilst you get confidence, or even as a long term preference) is much lower duress and more likely to lead to longer term real world connections,
  • a number of young people we’ve spoken with have talked about the overwhelm and frustrations of trying to ‘make it’ to a physical meet-up at a specific date and time after college or work and feeling like they are always missing out and playing catch up,
  • many of the young people we have supported have sensory sensitivities or processing delay or prefer not to communicate verbally and they find physical-only communities harder to access,
  • a lot of the local in-person provisions can understandably only support a few autistic people at a time – this means that often “being autistic” is the only thing you may have in common with other attendees, which isn’t really enough for a close lasting and meaningful relationship – but by creating a larger online space you have more chance of connecting with someone who’s autistic AND likes the things that you do…

If you are aged 16-30 and identify as autistic, with or without formal diagnosis, we’d love you to get involved and we’re recruiting for our Youth Advisory Group volunteers.

If that’s not your thing, but you’d still like to get involved, you could:

And if you’d like to stay in touch:

Visit the interim Youth Hub project website…

Thank you to Jo Brown for our Autistic Youth Hub logo.