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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide

ASERT has compiled resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

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Steps to Joining a Group

Learning to join new groups of people is the best way to make new friends. It is not always easy to join a new group, especially when you do not know anyone in it. Here are the basic steps to joining a group that you can follow to make it easier and, hopefully, more successful.

Make sure that it is okay to join the group. Some groups may not want new people to join depending on what they are doing or talking about.

Stand back and listen to what they are talking about.

Read their body language. A good group to join is one where the members are smiling or laughing and have relaxed body language. This shows that they are likely having a conversation that others would be able to join.

After you decide this is a good group to join, make eye contact with someone in the group and smile. This shows that you are friendly and interested in what they are talking about.

If the person smiles back, that is a sign that it is okay to join the group. If not, the group may not want anyone new to join. You should look to find a different group to join.

When you approach the group, walk up to them looking friendly. Smile, have good eye contact, and appear confident, even if you are nervous.

If the group is talking, do not interrupt. Wait for a pause in the conversation before you say anything. When a pause occurs, introduce yourself.

Try to include yourself in the conversation but do not do all the talking or try to change the topic. Even if you are not interested in the conversation topic, you need to be respectful of the group and show interest by nodding and adding comments.

If the group says you cannot join the group, smile, say “okay,” and walk away. If you are angry or upset, it is okay to let those feelings out when you are alone or with a trusted friend or family member.

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This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.