Introducing 2gether

2gether_trs (2)Specialisterne NI is delighted to launch 2gether, a new project for adults on the Autistic Spectrum which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund. The result of 2 years consultation with adults on the Autistic Spectrum in N Ireland, 2gether will help people on the Autistic Spectrum develop strategies to progress in careers, connect with each other, overcome attitudinal barriers, and feel better represented in society.

What makes 2gether different is that it has been developed in consultation with people on the Autistic Spectrum, who have decided on what the 2gether project should aim to achieve, as well as details regarding what the project activities (e.g. small groups) should look like, or not look like. As a core concept, 2gether aims to facilitate people on the Autistic Spectrum to support each other, through deciding on project activities, and problem solving together.

Sharon Didrichsen, Manager, Specialisterne NI, comments ‘We are delighted that the Big Lottery Fund has supported 2gether, enabling us to bring to life the thoughts and ideas shared with us by many people on the Autistic Spectrum in N Ireland. As usual, it is the thoughts and words of people on the Autistic Spectrum that hold the key for solutions for people on the Autistic Spectrum. We are privileged to play a role in facilitating 2gether and are excited at what lies ahead.’

2gether activities will include weekly bookable 1-1 clinics where participants can meet individually with project staff. There will be fortnightly coffee meet-ups and interest groups, monthly group workshops where participants can vote on expert speakers to invite, and quarterly group projects such as exploring virtual reality and video modelling. The project will have a ‘hop on-hop off’ style which means participants can access the project when needed, and can choose the parts that suit best. 2gether will offer participants different ways of connecting with others, from emailing ideas and voting online, to interest groups and workshops.

People involved in design of the project have welcomed the news of the Big Lottery Funding. This is what some of the people, across N Ireland, who have contributed to the design of 2gether, have said:

Two main things about life as an autistic person.

1. Autism is the space, or the dysfunction between neurotypical and autistic people, and
2. in terms of disability, disablement is caused by inequality of opportunity not the person’s impairment.
The current situation is often that opportunities for socialisation for autistic people are conceived, designed and organised for autistic people by neurodiverse people who don’t understand how to make the accommodations we need in order to achieve equality of opportunity – like organising an event for wheelchair users which involves a flight of stairs: our “stairs” might be fluorescent lighting, poor acoustics or even just the way a room is organised. The exciting thing about this venture is the partners have a record of understanding autistic people and what they need, and therefore they have based the venture on consulting autistic people to ensure delivery of well considered projects, and are involving autistic people in the delivery of those social projects. Exciting times!’ Elvin

“As someone with Aspergers and recently diagnosed, this programme gives me something that I’ve not had in a long time – hope. What I hope for is a sense of community, of support, understanding and empathy for those on the spectrum – for that’s what we are; a spectrum of different quirks, irks and personalities. I believe this could be the beginning of something truly helpful to those who need it.” Patrick

‘I’m thankful knowing there’s always a floor to fall back on, rather than a void without any next step or obvious escape.’ Michael

‘Anything that can increase awareness, promote understanding and lead to cooperation is a great thing.’ Stephen

We are welcoming applications for 2gether from adults on the Autistic Spectrum of all ages. For more information or to register for 2gether, contact Sharon Didrichsen on 07565 936191 or email:

Note: the 2gether logo has been developed by artist Karen Tighe



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