Autism Social Groups in Oxford and Oxfordshire

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Autism, a multifaceted neurodevelopmental condition, impacts individuals across various spectrums of age, ability, and social engagement. For many, navigating social landscapes can be particularly challenging, underscoring the critical role of supportive social networks. In Oxford and Oxfordshire, a range of autism social groups plays a pivotal part in enriching lives and enhancing social skills. Oxford CBT offer private autism assessments in Oxford. We are dedicated to fostering wellbeing and community support, aligning with our core commitment to nurture lasting relationships with colleagues, partners, and the individuals we serve. Through this article, we explore the vital function these groups serve in our community, offering both insights and practical advice on how individuals with autism can engage more fully with the world around them. If you find this article helpful, you may also be interested in reading our page on Autism Swimming Lessons Oxford

The Role of Social Groups in Autism Support

Autism social groups are more than just gatherings; they are vital platforms that enable individuals with autism to thrive by fostering essential life skills. These groups provide a structured yet flexible environment where individuals can safely explore social interactions under guided supervision. This support is crucial as it aligns with the developmental needs of those on the autism spectrum, who may find spontaneous social interactions challenging.

The benefits of participating in these groups extend beyond simple socialisation. They are designed to enhance cognitive and emotional development through regular, structured activities that promote social learning and adaptive behaviors. This can include anything from group discussions and team-building exercises to social outings and skill-specific workshops, all tailored to facilitate comfortable and meaningful interactions.

Moreover, peer support within these groups plays a transformative role. By connecting individuals who share similar experiences and challenges, social groups foster a sense of belonging and collective identity. This peer-to-peer interaction is a powerful tool, providing both support and motivation. Members can share strategies for coping with social anxiety, offer encouragement, and celebrate each other’s successes, which can be particularly empowering. Peer support can also be vital for parents and caregivers.

In essence, autism social groups serve as a bridge, connecting individuals to larger social networks while nurturing the skills needed to maintain these connections. This empowerment not only enhances individual wellbeing but also enriches the community as a whole.

Benefits of Participating in Social Groups

Participating in autism social groups in Oxford and Oxfordshire offers a myriad of benefits that extend well beyond the immediate social interactions. These groups not only cater to the social and emotional needs of individuals with autism but also play a crucial role in their overall development and integration into society.

Improved Social Skills

One of the most apparent advantages is the improvement in social skills. Regular interaction within a structured group setting helps individuals understand and practice social cues, conversation norms, and appropriate responses. Over time, these interactions become more natural, allowing individuals to feel more comfortable and confident in various social situations. This skill set is beneficial for personal and professional success, facilitating easier transitions into workplaces and other social settings.

Increased Confidence

Engagement in social groups also significantly boosts confidence. By participating in group activities and receiving positive reinforcement from peers and facilitators, individuals with autism can overcome feelings of isolation and inadequacy. The supportive group environment encourages them to express themselves and take risks in social settings, knowing they are in a safe and understanding space. This increased confidence can be transformative, opening doors to new opportunities and experiences that were previously daunting.

Better Mental Health

Mental health is profoundly impacted by the level of social support an individual receives. Social groups provide a supportive network that mitigates feelings of loneliness and depression often associated with autism. Regular engagement helps reduce stress and anxiety, as members feel part of a community that values and understands them. Moreover, the predictable and routine nature of group meetings provides a sense of stability and security, contributing to overall mental wellness.

Reinforcement of Community Wellbeing

Beyond individual benefits, these social groups emphasise the importance of community in fostering collective wellbeing. They serve as a reminder that each member, regardless of their challenges, is a valuable part of the community fabric. This integration promotes a more inclusive society and helps break down the stigmas associated with autism. As these individuals thrive, the community benefits from the diverse perspectives and unique contributions they bring.

In Oxford and Oxfordshire, autism social groups are not just support mechanisms but stepping stones towards a more inclusive and empathetic community. By participating, individuals with autism are not merely attending a group; they are engaging in a dynamic process that enhances their lives and the lives of those around them.

Autism Social Group Directory

All information contained within this directory is subject to change and availability may be limited. Inclusion within the directory does not imply Oxford CBT’s endorsement or affiliation with the organisations listed.

1. Autism Family Support Oxfordshire (AFSO) in Oxford

Autism Family Support Oxfordshire (AFSO) is a key organisation supporting individuals aged 0-25 years with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) and their families in Oxfordshire. AFSO provides essential services including youth groups for those without learning disabilities, holiday activities, and various training modules covering topics from sensory processing to autism awareness. By focusing on young people and their families, AFSO emphasise support and development through community engagement and personalised assistance.

Community Impact and Collaborations

AFSO’s impact extends into broader community-driven initiatives, actively maintaining collaborations with local groups, statutory bodies, and staying updated with national developments in ASC support. These partnerships help integrate AFSO’s services with wider community resources, ensuring a holistic approach to supporting individuals with ASC. By working closely with local educational and health services, AFSO enhances its outreach and effectiveness, contributing significantly to the community’s collective effort in supporting autism.

How to Get Involved

Individuals interested in joining AFSO can engage through various youth groups tailored to different age ranges, located across Oxfordshire. Prospective participants or volunteers can access application and referral forms via the AFSO website. For more direct involvement, they can contact Judith Payne, the administrator, for general inquiries or assistance with referrals. 

Contact Details:


Phone: 01235 754700

Website: Autism Family Support Oxfordshire

Address: Crabtree Place, Off Audlett Drive, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 3GD

2. START in Oxford

START is an innovative, free 12-week programme based in Oxford designed specifically for toddlers connected to autism or ADHD, aiming to enhance their attention, regulation, and thinking skills. This programme actively supports families with toddlers born between April and October 2022, providing them with a structured environment to foster early developmental skills. 

Community Impact and Collaborations

The START programme operates in partnership with the Oxford BabyLab, allowing it to leverage expert research facilities to enhance its offerings. This collaboration underscores a community-centric approach to developmental research and practical intervention, amplifying its impact. Families participating in the feasibility trial contribute to the refinement of the programme, aiding in the decision to expand to a larger trial, which could benefit a broader segment of the community. By providing these services for free, funded by the NIHR, START ensures accessibility and inclusivity, vital for broad community engagement.

How to Get Involved

Interested families can get involved with START by contacting the programme leader, Alexandra Hendry, to check eligibility and register. Participation includes completing questionnaires, engaging in two face-to-face visits, and potentially taking part in the 12-week programme. All sessions are conducted at a child-friendly venue in central Oxford, and travel expenses are covered to facilitate participation.

Contact Details:


Phone: 07310 876421

Website: START Project 

Address: South Oxford Family Room, Whitehouse Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 4QH

This structured engagement offers a unique opportunity for families to actively participate in a programme that supports the developmental needs of children connected to autism or ADHD, providing both immediate benefits and contributing to long-term developmental research.

3. Parenting Special Children – Dads & Male Carers’ Support Group in Wokingham

The Dads & Male Carers’ Support Group, operated by Parenting Special Children, offers a vital resource for birth fathers and male carers including adoptive parents, foster carers, and kinship carers who support children with special needs or who have experienced developmental trauma. Established in July 2018, this group provides a secure and understanding environment where members can share their experiences and challenges without fear of unsolicited advice. This aligns with the nurturing ethos of supportive community groups, focusing on the unique needs and experiences of men in caregiving roles.

Community Impact and Collaborations

The support group extends its impact by holding monthly meetings, originally at Wokingham Waterside Centre and now via Zoom due to health safety considerations. This adaptability ensures continuous support and resource sharing among its members. The initiative not only supports individual caregivers but also strengthens the wider community by fostering understanding and cooperation among those in similar situations. By providing a platform for discussion and support, the group helps alleviate the isolation often felt by male carers, enhancing their well-being and effectiveness in their caregiving roles.

How to Get Involved

Interested individuals can join the Dads & Male Carers’ Support Group by contacting Peter Burton, the group’s coordinator. Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month from 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm, accessible via the Zoom platform. Registration for the group can be done through Eventbrite, linked on the charity’s website, with a nominal fee for attendees which varies by location. This makes it easy for new members to get involved and benefit from the group’s support.

Contact Details:


Phone: 07877049793

Website: Parenting Special Children 

Cost: £5.00 for Berkshire dads & carers, additional fees for out-of-county attendees

By providing a space where male carers can connect, share experiences, and access resources, the group significantly contributes to their personal growth and resilience, ultimately benefiting the children they care for.

4. Witney Wheels for All in Witney, Oxon

Witney Wheels for All, coordinated by the Windrush Bike Project, offers supportive, safe, and inclusive cycling sessions targeted towards individuals with additional needs. These sessions, held every Saturday from 11 am to 1 pm at Woodgreen School in Witney, are designed to accommodate participants from the age of 2 years and older. The programme aims to create an environment where cycling is accessible to everyone, regardless of their physical or sensory abilities, fostering a sense of inclusion and community spirit that resonates with the nurturing approach of similar community-focused initiatives.

Community Impact and Collaborations

Witney Wheels for All plays a crucial role in promoting physical activity and social inclusion for people with various disabilities. By offering these sessions at a minimal cost and providing free access to holders of a YouMove Card, the initiative ensures that financial constraints do not hinder participation. This approach enhances the overall well-being and quality of life of its participants and represents a significant contribution to the local community by making recreational activities more inclusive and accessible.

How to Get Involved

Individuals interested in participating in the Witney Wheels for All cycling sessions can simply show up at the designated times as no prior referral is required. For further information or specific inquiries, potential participants or their carers are encouraged to contact Brigitte Hickman, the Director and coordinator of the programme.

Contact Details:


Phone: 07554 363635

Website: Windrush Bike Project

Address: Woodgreen School, Woodstock Road, Witney, OX28 1DX

Cost: £3.00 per session, free for YouMove Card holders

This initiative not only encourages physical activity among those with additional needs but also builds a supportive community that champions inclusivity and understanding, thereby enriching the lives of its participants.

5. Jigsaw Coffee & Chat in Oxford

Jigsaw Coffee & Chat is an informal gathering for parents and carers of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN), hosted by Jigsaw Oxford. These sessions provide a valuable platform for attendees to meet new people, share experiences, and exchange information in a relaxed environment. Meetings are held every Tuesday morning from 10.15 am to 12.00 pm, alternating between Barton Park Primary School and Blackbird Leys Adventure Playground (BLAP). This setup encourages a supportive network, vital for those navigating the complexities of caring for children with SEN, reflecting a community-centric approach to support.

Community Impact and Collaborations

The Jigsaw Coffee & Chat sessions contribute significantly to the community by facilitating connections among parents and carers in similar situations. By offering a space where experiences and advice can be shared openly, these gatherings help to reduce the isolation often felt by individuals in caregiving roles. The choice of accessible venues also indicates a commitment to inclusivity, ensuring that all participants can easily join and benefit from the support offered.

How to Get Involved

Participation in the Jigsaw Coffee & Chat sessions is straightforward, with no referrals required. Interested parents and carers can simply drop in at the specified times. For up-to-date information on meeting dates and venues, potential attendees are encouraged to contact Jigsaw Oxford via email or visit their Facebook page. This ease of access is designed to encourage participation and support from the community.

Contact Details:

Email: or

Facebook Page: Jigsaw Oxford

Venues: Barton Park Primary School, Barton Fields Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 9WN & Blackbird Leys Adventure Playground, Oxford

These sessions exemplify how informal community gatherings can provide crucial support and information sharing among parents and carers, fostering a stronger, more connected community around SEN care.

6. Connectivity in Oxford

Connectivity is a social and friendship group designed specifically for individuals aged 18 and older with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Oxfordshire and the surrounding areas. The group meets bi-weekly on Monday evenings, offering a variety of social activities including visits to pubs, walks, picnics, and museum trips. During meetings in pubs, members engage in games and conversations, creating a supportive social network. Connectivity also accommodates remote interaction through Zoom, where members can share photos, artwork, and enjoy music, enhancing social connection even during periods like lockdowns.

Community Impact and Collaborations

Connectivity’s approach to social integration for adults with autism significantly impacts the local community by promoting inclusivity and understanding. By organising activities that are both engaging and accommodating to the needs of people with ASD, Connectivity fosters a sense of belonging and mutual support among its members. The group’s activities not only provide entertainment but also crucial social interaction, which is often a challenge for the target demographic.

How to Get Involved

Individuals interested in joining Connectivity can do so by contacting Jill Oakes via phone or email. The group’s structure is open, welcoming new members from the age of 18 to 100, making it accessible to a broad range of adults and young people with autism. This setup encourages ongoing engagement and growth of the social network, providing a consistent and reliable community resource.

Contact Details:

Phone: 07402 099681


Website: Connectivity Autism Group

This group is an excellent example of how targeted social groups can greatly enhance the quality of life for adults with ASD, offering them safe and enjoyable opportunities to connect with others and engage in a range of activities.

7. Bicester Autism/ADHD 

Bicester Autism/ADHD is a charitable organisation dedicated to supporting parents and carers of children with Autism, ADHD, and other neurodiverse conditions. They aim to provide a supportive community for sharing experiences and knowledge, and for exchanging ideas that help in coping with the challenges of parenting neurodiverse children. The group organises various informal events including coffee mornings, pub nights, and special sessions for siblings and families, fostering a non-judgmental environment that enhances mutual support and understanding among members.

Community Impact and Collaborations

Through its range of activities and events, Bicester Autism/ADHD plays a crucial role in raising awareness and increasing understanding of Autism and ADHD within the local community. By providing a platform for parents and carers to connect, the organisation helps to reduce feelings of isolation and empowers members by sharing valuable insights and resources. The initiative’s engagement with the broader community through open Facebook pages also extends its reach and impact, making resources and information accessible to a wider audience.

How to Get Involved

Individuals interested in joining Bicester Autism/ADHD can become members by filling out a joining form available on their website under the ‘become a member’ page. Membership is free, and no diagnosis is needed to join, making it inclusive and accessible. Members gain access to a closed Facebook group, Bicester Autism/ADHD Chat, where they can participate in a supportive and private online community. This group is an excellent resource for new and experienced parents alike, providing a platform for ongoing support and community engagement.

Contact Details:

Website: Bicester Autism/ADHD 

Facebook Pages: Bicester Autism/ADHD, Bicester Autism/ADHD Chat

Bicester Autism/ADHD’s commitment to providing support and fostering community connections offers a vital resource for parents and carers, enhancing their ability to navigate the complexities associated with Autism and ADHD.

8. Focus on Oxfordshire Adult Autism Diagnostic and Support Service (OAADSS)

The Oxfordshire Adult Autism Diagnostic and Support Service (OAADSS) offers crucial services for adults in the Oxfordshire area. This includes a free diagnostic service providing autism assessments and the Aspiration post-diagnostic support service. The latter assists individuals with a formal autism diagnosis in understanding their condition, applying for benefits, and navigating other services. The Aspiration service also aids in requesting reasonable adjustments in various life aspects. By focusing on these critical areas, OAADSS supports the wellbeing of adults with autism, aligning with the community’s goal of fostering an inclusive and supportive environment.

Community Impact and Collaborations

OAADSS significantly impacts the local community by enhancing accessibility to autism diagnosis and subsequent support. This service not only helps individuals understand and manage their condition but also integrates them into a broader support network. Regular social groups and events, like the walking group and the Aspiration Social group, further the community’s inclusiveness, offering social engagement and peer support. These gatherings are essential for building strong community ties and improving the quality of life for individuals with autism.

How to Get Involved

Those interested in the diagnostic or support services of OAADSS need to arrange sessions with the service administrators in advance, ensuring a scheduled and convenient meeting time. For joining social groups, such as the Aspiration Social group in Didcot or the walking group, prospective attendees should contact the service via email or phone to book a spot or be added to the mailing lists. The social groups require booking in advance and meet regularly, providing structured social interaction opportunities.

Contact Details:


Phone: 07824 309000

Social Group Address: Baptist House, 129 Broadway, Didcot, OX11 8XD

Website: OAADS

These services and social groups are vital for supporting adults with autism in Oxfordshire, offering both the practical help needed to navigate daily challenges and the social connections that enhance life quality.

9. KEEN Oxford

KEEN Oxford is an award-winning, youth-led organisation dedicated to creating inclusive projects and promoting inclusion throughout Oxfordshire. The organisation conducts various inclusive activities that bring together disabled and non-disabled individuals. A notable offering is the “Allsorts” sports session held on Saturday afternoons from 14:15-15:45, designed for participants aged 4-25. In these sessions, athletes rotate between traditional and unusual sports activities, from basketball to archery, tailored to all abilities by experienced session leaders.

Community Impact and Collaborations

KEEN Oxford significantly impacts the local community by integrating various sports and arts initiatives. For example, their KEEN Drama workshops, held on Monday evenings from 18:30-19:20, explore diverse themes each term and often collaborate with local drama groups like the Oxford Playhouse. Another initiative, Zig-Zag, focuses on performing arts for children aged 6-11, featuring music, dance, and games every Saturday from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Furthermore, their social and sports programmes for adults, GrEAT Social and GrEAT Sports, offer a variety of engaging activities ranging from social club gatherings to introducing new sports, enhancing the social fabric and physical wellness of the community.

How to Get Involved

Individuals interested in KEEN Oxford’s diverse programmes can participate by attending sessions relevant to their interests or age groups. For detailed information on session times, locations, and the specific activities offered, potential participants should contact KEEN Oxford directly. This will enable them to engage in enriching activities designed to foster inclusivity and enhance community ties.

Contact Details:

Website: KEEN Oxford

By joining KEEN Oxford, individuals have the opportunity to engage in a variety of inclusive activities, from sports to drama to social events, all structured to foster a supportive, inclusive, and active community environment.


The range of community support groups discussed above exemplify the robust support available in Oxfordshire for individuals and families connected to autism and other special needs. Each group offers unique programmes and services that cater to the diverse needs of the community, from diagnostic and post-diagnostic support to inclusive recreational and social activities. These initiatives provide vital resources and foster a nurturing environment that enhances the quality of life for those with autism and their families.

Oxford CBT continues to support and value the role of such groups in promoting inclusivity, understanding, and support across the community, ensuring that individuals with autism receive the care and opportunities they need to thrive. This partnership between community groups and dedicated services like Oxford CBT is essential in building a more inclusive society where every individual’s needs are met with understanding and respect.

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