Support Groups

MOTHERS GROUP - The Chapel Hill TEACCH Center Mothers’ group was started in 1986 and is for mothers of children and young adolescents with autism. The two main purposes of the group are support and information. The format is informal with each meeting focused on a specific topic (e.g., behavior problems, siblings). Although the group has a facilitator, the mothers are encouraged to take the lead in talking about whatever aspects of the topic are relevant for them. The group meets monthly at the Center from 10:00 AM to 11:30 PM from September through June, and is open to mothers who have had prior contact with the center. contact Catherine Jones via email for more information about the schedule.


FATHERS GROUP - The Fathers Group is an informal get-together of fathers who are interested in meeting others to discuss the experiences of being a dad with a child with autism. The group meets for dinner at a restaurant in the Chapel Hill area and the format is informal. There is no specific topic, but the group often discusses a wide range of issue from schooling to behavior problems. There is no set schedule for meetings, but, on average, the group meets every 6 weeks or so. Notice about the meetings is sent by an email announcement. Interested fathers should contact Catherine Jones via email.


PARENTS OF ADULTS WITH AUTISM The Parents of Adults with autism group is a support and informational group for parents whose child is 18 years or over, although parents of younger children occasionally attend. The group is also open to adult siblings or other adult relatives who have an important role in life of an adult with autism, including their care. Like the Mothers’ Group, this group has a specific topic for each meeting (e.g., planning for the future, developing independence skills). The group meets monthly, on the second Tuesday, September through June from 6:30-8:00 PM at the Creative Living Center (6300 Chapel Hill Road in Raleigh). Contact Catherine Jones via email for more information about the schedule.

PARENT DISCUSSION GROUP - Problem solving around challenging behaviors Led by Dr. Lee Marcus, former Clinical Director of Chapel Hill TEACCH. Dr. Marcus, a distinguished professional in the field of autism will lead a discussion centered on applying structured teaching to preempt and reduce challenging behaviors at home and in the community. Parents are encouraged to share workable solutions addressing a variety of challenging behaviors they encounter on a daily basis. The meetings are now once a month, alternating months of Thursday morning meetings 10:00am - 11:30am and Tuesday evening meetings 6:30pm - 8:00pm in the ground floor conference room at the Chapel Hill TEACCH Center located in the UNC Autism Building. Due to the popularity of this working discussion group we ask that you please register in advance by contacting Ruth Thomson at 919-966-4699. We regret that we are not able to provide childcare for these meetings; however, there is no charge for your attendance. Please Note: Attendees must be the parent of a current TEACCH client.


ADULT SUPPORT GROUPS - These groups are intended for individuals with autism who are 21 years or older, have had previous individual counseling, and are able to be a part of a group. No previous experience in a group is required. The purpose of the groups is to provide information and emotional support to the members on both general and specific issues related to their coping with the challenges of autism. The format of the groups is both structured and informal, and has included addressing specific topics (e.g. getting along with coworkers), reading and discussing a scenario of a real-life problem, and having part of the one hour session focus on an individual member. Minutes, or a summary of each meeting, are provided to group members. Participation in these groups offers adults support and the opportunity to establish positive relationships with other adults who share similar experiences. Both groups meet approximately twice a month. In order to protect confidentiality and facilitate the sharing of personal experiences, group enrollment is limited. Enrollment in the groups is through referral by a TEACCH staff member. If you have interest or wish to learn more about the group in Chapel Hill please contact your TEACCH therapist or Catherine Jones at 919-966-3100.