Work of Support Group for Adults with Asperger’s Syndrome in Russia



Problems with Asperger's syndrome diagnostic in adults in Russia and obsolete practice of replacement of the diagnosis after age of 18 caused necessity of organization of specialized supports and efforts for social adaptation of such individuals. Experience of organization and leading the support group (that works since 2010) for adults with Asperger’s syndrome and high functioning autism is described: conditions, rules and recommendations for its organization. The discussed topics include autism awareness, social integration, personal relationships, autism symptoms and coping strategies, independent life. The participants report that the group is beneficial as a comfortable place for socialization, life experience exchange, development of self-acceptance, self-awareness and independent life skills. Involvement of psychologists in leading of some group meetings showed the necessity to extend their knowledge about autism spectrum disorders in adults. A review of screening tests and other aspects of self-diagnosis is given. Analysis of functioning of the support group for people with Asperger's syndrome and high-functioning autism confirmed large demand on this kind of help and its necessity for improving life quality.

General Information

Keywords: autism, Asperger’s syndrome, high-functioning autism, diagnostics, autism spectrum disorder, support, adults, self-advocacy

Journal rubric: Education & Intervention Methods

Article type: scientific article


Acknowledgements. The authors are grateful to people with autism who founded the project for support of people with Asperger’s syndrome and to the Federal Resource Center for Organization of Comprehensive Support for Children with ASD of MSUPE for the possibility to discuss the problems of the high-functioning people with ASD and their coping strategies

For citation: Steinberg A.S., Voskov A.L. Work of Support Group for Adults with Asperger’s Syndrome in Russia. Autizm i narusheniya razvitiya = Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2020. Vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 55–62. DOI: 10.17759/autdd.2020180208. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Bobrov A.E., Somova V.M. Rannie iskhody sindroma Aspergera [Early outcomes of Asperger’s syndrome]. Zhurnal nevrologii i psikhiatrii im. S.S. Korsakova [S.S. Korsakov Journal of Neurology and Psychiatry]. 2013, vol. 113, no. 8, pp. 19–23. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  2. Bobrov A.E., Somova V.M. Sindrom Aspergera: retrospektivnyi analiz dinamiki sostoyaniya bol'nykh [Asperger’s syndrome: retrospective analysis of changes in patients’ conditions]. []. 2011, vol. 63, no. 4, pp. 47–51. (In Russ, abstr. in Engl.).
  3. Borodina L.G. Osobennosti psikhopatologii u vzroslykh s diagnozom rasstroistv autisticheskogo spektra v detstve [Psychopathology in adults with child diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders]. Psikhiatriya (Moskva) [Psychiatry Moscow], 2019, no.1, pp.30–38. DOI:10.30629/2618-6667-2019-81-30-38 (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  4. Borodina L.G. Smena diagnoza RAS posle 18-ti let: Mnenie psikhiatra [Changing the ASD-diagnosis after 18 years: the opinion of the psychiatrist]. Autizm i narusheniya razvitiya [Autism and Developmental Disorders (Russia)], 2015, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 41–43. DOI:10.17759/autdd.2015130306 (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  5. Vlasova O.A. Roditeli detei s RAS o smene diagnoza (analiticheskaya spravka) [Parents of children with ASD about the change of diagnosis: Analytical reference]. Autizm i narusheniya razvitiya [Autism and Developmental Disorders (Russia)], 2015, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 38–41. DOI:10.17759/autdd.2015130305 (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  6. Kostin I.A. Organizatsiya neformal'nogo obshcheniya podrostkov i vzroslykh s posledstviyami detskogo autizma [Arranging Informal Communication of Adolescents and Adults with Consequences of Childhood Autism] [Web resource]. Al'manakh Instituta korrektsionnoi pedagogiki [ALMANAC, Institute of Special Education], 2015. № 23. S. 72–92. URL: (Accessed 25.05.2020).
  7. Lichko A.E. Psikhopatii i aktsentuatsii kharaktera u podrostkov: patokharakterologicheskii diagnosticheskii oprosnik dlya podrostkov (PDO) [Personality disorders and personality accentuations in adolescents]. Saint Petersburg: Publ. Rech', 2009. 251 p. ISBN 978-5-9268-0828-6. (In Russ.)
  8. Rasstroistva autisticheskogo spektra (RAS): informatsionnyi byulleten' / Vsemirnaya organizatsiya zdravookhraneniya [Autism spectrum disorders: factsheet / World Health Organization] [Web resource]. 7 November 2019. URL: (Accessed 25.05.2020).
  9. Sindrom Aspergera [Asperger’s syndrome] [Web resource]. URL: (Accessed 25.05.2020) (In Russ.).
  10. Starostina E.G. et al. Torontskaya shkala aleksitimii (20 punktov): Validizatsiya russkoyazychnoi versii na vyborke terapevticheskikh bol'nykh [A new 20-item version of the Toronto alexithymia scale: validation of the Russian language translation in a sample of medical patients.]. Sotsial'naya i klinicheskaya psikhiatriya [Social and Clinical Psychiatry], 2010, vol. 20, no. 4. pp. 31–38. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  11. .Steward R. Nezavisimost' i bezopasnost': Rukovodstvo dlya zhenshchin, imeyushchikh rasstroistva autisticheskogo spectra [The independent woman’s handbook for super safe living on the autistic spectrum]. Moscow: Publ. Nash Solnechnyi Mir, 2016. 376 p. ISBN 978-5-99900021-4-2. (In Russ.)
  12. Forum autichnykh lyudei i ikh druzei i rodstvennikov [Forum for autistic people and their friends and relatives] [Web resource]. URL: (Accessed 25.05.2020). (In Russ.)
  13. Shore S. Za stenoi: Lichnyi opyt: Autizm i sindrom Aspergera [Beyond the wall: Personal experiences with autism and Asperger syndrome]. Moscow: Publ. Nash Solnechnyi Mir, 2014. 224 p. ISBN 978-5-94607-188-8.
  14. Attwood T. The complete guide to Asperger’s syndrome. London; Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008. 396 p. ISBN 978-1-84310-669-2.
  15. Baron-Cohen S. et al. The autism-spectrum quotient (AQ): Evidence from Asperger syndrome/high-functioning autism, males and females, scientists and mathematicians. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2001, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 5–17. DOI:10.1023/a:1005653411471
  16. Brugha T.S. et al. Epidemiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Adults in the Community in England. Archives of general psychiatry, 2011, vol. 68, no. 5, pp. 459–465. DOI:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.38
  17. Camm-Crosbie L. et al. “People like me don’t get support”: Autistic adults’ experiences of support and treatment for mental health difficulties, self-injury and suicidality. Autism: the international journal of research and practice, 2019, vol. 23, no. 6, pp. 1431–1441. DOI:10.1177/1362361318816053
  18. Carley M.J. The origins of G.R.A.S.P [Web resource]. The Autism Perspective, 2006, no. 1, pp. 62–64. URL: (Accessed 24.04.2020).
  19. Cassidy S. et al. Suicidal ideation and suicide plans or attempts in adults with Asperger’s syndrome attending a specialist diagnostic clinic: A clinical cohort study. The Lancet Psychiatry, 2014, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 142–147. DOI:10.1016/S2215-0366(14)70248-2
  20. Ehlers S., Gillberg C., Wing L. A screening questionnaire for Asperger syndrome and other high-functioning autism spectrum disorders in school age children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 1999, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 129–141. DOI:10.1023/A:1023040610384
  21. Fombonne E., Tidmarsh L. Epidemiologic data on Asperger disorder. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 2003, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 15–21. DOI:10.1016/S1056-4993(02)00050-0
  22. Frank F. et al. Education and employment status of adults with autism spectrum disorders in Germany — a cross-sectional-survey // BMC Psychiatry, 2018, no. 18, p. 75. DOI:10.1186/s12888-018-1645-7
  23. Heider F., Simmel M. An experimental study of apparent behavior. The American Journal of Psychology, 1944, vol. 57, pp. 243–259. DOI:10.2307/1416950
  24. Hillier A. et al. Outcomes of a social and vocational skills support group for adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 2007, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 107–115. DOI:10.1177/10883576070220020201
  25. Lugnegård T., Hallerbäck M.U., Gillberg C. Personality disorders and autism spectrum disorders: What are the connections? Comprehensive Psychiatry, 2012, vol. 53, no. 4, pp. 333–340. DOI:10.1016/j.comppsych.2011.05.014
  26. Morie K.P. et al. Mood disorders in high-functioning autism: The importance of alexithymia and emotional regulation. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2019, vol. 49, no. 7, pp. 2935–2945. DOI:10.1007/s10803-019-04020-1
  27. Raine A. The SPQ: A Scale for the Assessment of Schizotypal Personality Based on DSM-III-R Criteria. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 1991, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 555–564. DOI:10.1093/schbul/17.4.555
  28. Shattuck P.T. et al. Services for adults with an autism spectrum disorder. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 2012, vol. 57, no. 5, pp. 284–291. DOI:10.1177/070674371205700503
  29. Trevisan D.A., Hoskyn M., Birmingham E. Facial expression production in autism: A meta-analysis. Autism Research, 2018, vol. 11, no. 12, pp. 1586–1601. DOI:10.1002/aur.2037
  30. Weidle B., Bolme B., Hoeyland A.L. Are peer support groups for adolescents with Asperger’s syndrome helpful? Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2006, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 45–62. DOI:10.1177/1359104506059119

Information About the Authors

Antonina S. Steinberg, Autistic City project for Support of People with ASD, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Alexey L. Voskov, PhD in Chemistry, Senior Researcher of the Department of Chemistry, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



Total: 3930
Previous month: 69
Current month: 55


Total: 541
Previous month: 3
Current month: 4