“We sat in a loose, informal circle and took turns to speak as and when we chose to (if at all), sometimes responding directly to each other’s comments and sometimes just riffing on the subject and thinking aloud together. At the start of the session we were given some loose and inclusive guidelines in order to ensure that everyone could speak unselfconsciously and openly, without fear of interruption or argument, and without even feeling any pressure to advance a position, agenda, or argument – just to discuss, engage, and listen. This was not a ‘debate’- if I had to sum it up I might call it a ‘compassionate verbal collaboration’. The conversation was at times deeply personal and moving, and at others more abstract and emotionally detached, depending entirely on the speaker at the time and the way that they chose to engage with the group and topic.
After leaving the dialogue session I felt an unusual calm, almost as if a burden had been lifted. The dialogue session provided a safe space to discuss autism in a personal, compassionate way, with no agenda being pushed by anyone and no targets or goals being worked towards – just a safe, civilized, and mutually respectful way to engage with the subject and each other.” – A recent attendee at our monthly Dialogue for Autistic Adults.