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The Importance of Social Group Participation for Adults with Learning Difficulties and Autism

Updated: Jun 20, 2022

Socialising and interacting with others are common challenges faced by adults with learning difficulties and autism. Attending social groups regularly offers these adults a safe space where they can learn, practice, and maintain these social skills. It is essential that our participants and their parents understand the importance of social group participation for adults with learning difficulties and autism. Through our social groups the NOW Group aims to help participants to develop these skills that can be used when meeting new people within their community, attending job interviews, or even purchasing goods and services.

The Benefits of Attending Social Groups for Adults with Learning Difficulties and Autism

Helps To Build Self-Confidence

Many adults with learning difficulties and autism require assistance when knowing how to act in social situations. They often want to get involved in conversations with others, however they may not know how to engage in conversation and find this an overwhelming experience. Through our social groups we are supporting people with autism by giving them opportunities to meet others who share similar interests and who are also working to develop their skills. Read ‘Our Stories’ and learn how our social group’s have made a difference to the lives of our participants.

Increases Social Communications

Often adults with learning difficulties and autism may feel socially isolated from society as they struggle to start conversations with others and interpret social cues. A survey carried out by Sense shows us that over 70% of people living with disabilities feel that their mental health is affected by social isolation. Attending social groups is a great way of helping adults with learning difficulties and autism to spend time outside of the house and develop their social skills. They will learn how to continue conversations, understand the body language of others, and show empathy. Within our social groups these adults will be given the opportunity to meet new friends in Belfast who have similar experiences and interests.

Meeting in Safe Spaces

At the NOW Group most of our social groups take part at the Hive on the Grosvenor Road. Here young people with learning difficulties and autism can meet up within a safe space where our community offers are there to offer assistance when necessary. It is essential that young people feel comfortable within these social groups as the experience may become overwhelming and may deter them from returning and socialising with their peers.

Often our social groups Fandom and Kidnap organise trips to the cinema, museums, and other events within the community. During these outings our Community Officers from the NOW Group attend these outings to ensure that appropriate social interactions are taking place and that participants feel safe.

Social Groups in Northern Ireland

The NOW Group is a social enterprise in Northern Ireland that helps to support adults with learning difficulties and autism into jobs with a future. We also have a range of social groups for young adults with learning difficulties in Belfast where they can meet new friends and get involved within their community. These groups include the art club, drama club, Fandom, Kidnap, the football club and much more! For more information on how you can get involved with our social groups, get in touch with our Social Group Co-Ordinator Anna Nelson by emailing

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