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Peer support groups - frequently asked questions

To help our community to find answers to the most common questions we receive about our peer support groups as quickly as possible, we have put together this list of frequently asked questions and the corresponding answers.

If you have a question about our peer support groups, we invite you to read through the below questions, as it's likely that we have included information relevant to your question.



General group information


What do the groups do?

We have various peer support groups and they run in different ways. Some have a structured discussion format, others play games, and some are an informal social gathering. You are welcome to join in the discussion or to listen to others as you feel comfortable. In Zoom meetings, you are welcome to have your video and microphone on or off as you feel comfortable, and you can also communicate via the Zoom chat function. For more information on specific groups, please check the page of the group you are interested in or contact the respective Group Leader.


When do your groups meet and how long do they meet for?

Our peer support groups meet at least once each month for approximately two hours.

The days and times vary. For more information on specific groups, please check the page of the group you are interested in or contact the respective Group Leader.


How many people usually attend each group?

The group size varies depending on the group, the format, and from month to month.

We currently have registration limits in place for our in person groups to ensure that the venue can safely accommodate the number of attendees.

Generally, our in person group meetings tend to have more people attending, and typical registration numbers vary between 15 and 30 people. Our online groups tend to be a little smaller and typically have between 5 and 20 people attending.


When is the next meeting for each group?

Each peer support group's page on our website includes a calendar which displays upcoming group meetings.

If there are no meetings displayed and you would like to be notified when the information is available, please either update your Areas of Interest in your AV profile (if you already receive emails from AV) or please add your name to the AV mailing list and select that group as an area of interest.

We usually upload group meetings on or around the 15th of each month for the following month.



Meeting locations


Are you running in-person groups?

Some groups are running online only, some groups are only in person, and some are running in both formats. For more information on specific groups, please check the page of the group you are interested in or contact the respective Group Leader.


Do you run support groups in my area?

At the moment, our support groups meet primarily in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. We are open to expressions of interest from community members who may wish to volunteer to run AV peer support groups in other locations. For more information on specific groups, please check the page of the group you are interested in, or contact the respective Group Leader.



Group demographics


Who can attend AV's peer support groups?

Our peer support groups are open to anyone who shares the experience of that group. If you share the experience of multiple groups, you are welcome to join any or all of the relevant groups if you would like to.


Do I need a diagnosis to join an AV group?

AV groups are open to peers at all stages of the diagnosis journey. This includes those who have an official diagnosis, those who are going through the diagnostic process, and those who are self-diagnosed. AV recognises that there are many obstacles to diagnosis, particularly for adults and women/girls, including but not limited to financial, location, appointment availability, and the current diagnostic criteria, and we are keen for our groups to provide an inclusive space for all members of the respective peer groups to connect with the AV community.


Are members of the LGBTQIA+ community welcome at AV activities?

Absolutely. AV welcomes people of all genders and all sexualities at AV activities, particularly as there is a significant overlap between the neurodivergent and LGBTQIA+ communities. If you have any questions about this, we invite you to contact the Group Leader of the group you would like to attend, or contact AV admin.


Can I attend with my support worker?

All of our peer support groups are for peers only, and attendees need to be able to participate in the group independently. We invite any parents or carers to join our Parents & Carers Group. For our Teens Group, as the attendees are under 18 years, a parent or carer must attend each event with their teen. Please visit the Teens Group page for more information.



Age groups


I’m 18 years old - should I go to the Teens group or the Young Adults group?

If you are aged 18 and still enrolled in secondary education, you can attend either the Teens Group or the Young Adults Group.

Attendees at the Young Adults group need to be able to attend independently (without an accompanying adult).

If you attend the Teens Group, you must be accompanied by a parent/carer for the duration of the event.


I’m 30 years old - should I go to the Young Adults group or the Adults Group?

You’re welcome to choose the group that best suits you. These two groups have different formats, and you can attend one or both if you would like to. Please visit the page for the respective groups to find out more about them.



Registration and refunds


Do I have to register for the group meeting or can I just turn up and pay cash on the night?

All attendees at AV activities need to register before attending.

For in-person activities, this allows us to ensure that we have enough volunteers attending on the night to support the group, and to ensure that the venue can safely accommodate all attendees. If the activity you would like to attend is fully booked, please add your name to the waiting list and we will contact you if a space becomes available.

In the event that the activity is cancelled or transferred to an online meeting, we will only be able to let you know if you have registered.

For online activities, the Zoom link will only be provided to registered attendees.

AV volunteers are not able to accept cash payments at peer support group meetings.


How can I register for the next group meeting?

Each peer support group's page includes a calendar which displays upcoming meetings.

If you would like to attend, please click “Register” on the left side and enter your details.

If you are joining an AV group meeting for the first time, we invite you to register for a free first-time attendee ticket: please contact our AV admin team to request the access code. 


Can I try out a group for free?

Yes. All of our groups have a free first-time ticket available for first-time attendees so you can try out our groups and see if they are a good fit for you. These tickets require a code to access them.

To get the code, please contact our AV admin team and tell us the group name and the date of the meeting you would like to join, and we will contact you as soon as possible to assist.


Can I bring a guest?

Yes, you are welcome to bring a guest to AV peer support groups. Please register them as part of your registration process. This will ensure that they also receive the access details for the meeting and are included in the number of registrants.

All guests wishing to attend an AV peer support group must be registered before attending.


What can I do if there are no spaces remaining?

If there are no spaces available for the group you are interested in and you would like to attend, click “Join Waitlist”.

In the event that a space becomes available, those on the waitlist will receive an email with further information.


How do I cancel my registration if I can no longer attend an activity I have registered for?

If you can no longer attend, please contact our AV admin team for assistance. Please give us as much notice as possible to allow us to offer your space to others.


Can I get a refund if I can no longer attend an activity I have registered for?

According to our Event Terms and Conditions, all AV activity registrations are non-refundable, and all participants are required to confirm that they have read and understood the Terms and Conditions as part of the registration process.

For questions specific to your situation, please contact our AV admin team.



Online peer support group meetings


How do I access the Zoom meeting?
When you complete the registration form and make your payment (if required), you will receive a registration confirmation email. For online groups, this will include the Zoom link for the meeting. If you didn’t receive this or if you can’t find it, please contact our AV admin teamFor after-hours support for activities happening the same day, please call our AV admin team on 0480 685 710 within the hour before your activity start time.


Do I have to join at the start time and stay until the end?

Do I have to have my camera and microphone on in the Zoom meeting?

You are welcome to come and go as you feel comfortable.

You are also welcome to have your camera and/or microphone on or off as you prefer, and to change this throughout the meeting as you feel comfortable. You can also join in the discussion via the chat function via text-based chat function within Zoom.



In person peer support group meetings


What can I expect when I attend a COVIDSafe in-person meeting?

AV is closely following the COVID-19 requirements outlined by the Victorian Government and our in-person events have changed to comply with these.

Attendees at in-person AV activities will need to comply with the venue’s COVIDSafe requirements in place on the day. This may include checking in using the venue’s QR code on arrival, providing proof of vaccination for all attendees aged 12 and older, maintaining physical distance of 1.5 metres or wearing a fitted face mask if this is not possible.


Do you have tea and coffee at in-person activities?

Most of our in-person group meetings are now able to provide tea, coffee, and light refreshments to attendees. To assist our team, please bring your own reusable travel mug or water bottle. You are welcome to bring a snack if you wish, but please refrain from bringing a plate of food to share.



Sensory and fidget items at AV activities


Can I bring sensory or fidget items to AV peer support groups?

You are most welcome to use fidgets or sensory items or to stim at AV activities. If you do, please ensure that you do it safely, and that you are considerate of the sensory profiles of others in the group.

If your stim or sensory item makes noise or involves movement or lights, this may be distracting or overwhelming for others in the group. The Group Leader may ask you to deactivate the sound/light function on sensory items (if possible), or to move the item out of view. In online meetings, they may ask you to turn your camera / microphone off while you are using it.

If the Group Leader is concerned for your safety while you are stimming or using your sensory item, they may contact you privately to discuss this further, or they may contact the AV admin team.



AV Mailing List


How can I make sure I get updated information about AV activities relevant to me?

If you're new to AV and would like to receive emails from AV about groups, programs, and events relevant to you, please add your name to our AV mailing list. Visit the Join our AV Mailing List page, enter your first name and your email address, select the topics you're interested in, and we'll include you in future emails.


If you already receive emails from AV, we encourage you to update the Areas of Interest field in your AV profile. This is how we manage our internal mailing lists, and it helps us to maintain updated lists.

 

To update your Areas of Interest

  • Log into the AV website using the email address linked to your AV profile

  • Click the person icon in the top left corner of the screen

  • Click "View profile", then click "Edit profile"

  • Scroll down to “Areas of Interest” and select the topics, groups or events relevant to you, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Save"

 

If you have forgotten your password, you can reset it on the login page by clicking "Forgot your password".



Participant safety at AV events and Child Safety


What can I do if I feel unsafe at an AV event?

If you or someone else feels unsafe at an AV event, please contact the Group Leader to let them know. You are also welcome to contact the AV admin team: call 0480 385 710 or email us.


AV is committed to Child Safety.

If the safety concern relates to someone aged under 18, please speak to the Group Leader immediately or call the AV admin team: 0480 385 710 

 

 

I still have questions. Who can I contact?

 

If you have questions or if you need assistance, please contact our admin team.

Call 0480 385 710, or email us.

  • The AV phone is switched on from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday.

  • Tech and admin support for after-hours activities is available by phone an hour before the activity start time until the scheduled end time.

  • Please note that our email inbox is not monitored outside business hours.



AV Peer Support Groups disclaimer: Please note that AV Peer Support Groups do not not provide professional advice, medical advice, counselling, crisis management or case management.
If you or someone else needs urgent support, please visit our list of organisations offering crisis support.


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