SELF for Girls and Women on the Autism Spectrum

Social Experiences, Learning, and Fun

With thanks

Our work is supported by the MJS Foundation as well as other generous donors.

Welcome to the S.E.L.F (Socialize, Experience, Learn and have Fun), a social and recreational program for girls and women with autism spectrum disorders supported by a gift from the MJS Foundation as well as other donors. We are entering the 6th year of the program (formerly titled The Initiative for Girls and Women with Autism Spectrum Disorders), working to address the unique needs of girls and women with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). Over the last ten years, ASD interventionists and researchers have begun to appreciate that the development of socialization and communication processes for girls and women is quite different from that of boys and men. Unfortunately, the research and intervention implications of these differences have not been systematically addressed for girls and women with ASDs. The Initiative is designed to address these communication and socialization differences through recreational and communal activities. These activities allow our participants to pursue their particular interests and leisure activities in a safe and supportive environment.  SELF addresses these communication and social differences through fun group activities, such as art classes, swimming, horseback riding, and movie nights. These activities create a safe and supportive environment for girls on the spectrum to pursue their interests.

The purposes of the Initiative are:

  1. To understand the unique needs of teens and young women with ASDs;
  2. To promote social development through recreational and communal activities and to measure gains in social development, a sense of personal competency and self-worth;
  3. To educate others and inspire research regarding the unique profile and needs of girls with ASDs.

For further information regarding SELF, please contact Kathy Koenig, at kathy.koenig@yale.edu