Support/Social Groups

These are currently active support groups in the North Central Florida Area :

(Please let us know if you find any errors or would like us to consider adding your group to this page.)

  • Alachua County Autism Parent Support Group Alachua County, FL Contact: Cheryl Russell at talula.crr@gmail.com

Alachua County Autism Parent Support Group is a closed group on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/AlachuaCountyAspergers/ This group is for parents of children that have a diagnosis of Autism (or are going through screening) that live in Alachua County and the surrounding area. This is a place where local moms and dads can meet to help, give ideas, and provide support. I created this group so parents can come together and discuss their struggles, triumphs, and share local resources with each other. Please share with those that are local to Alachua County only. This group is also meant to help educate each other and the community on Acceptance. 


This group is for parents with children who have Autism, or any special needs.


Autistic Adults of Gainesville, FL is a group for autistic adults in the Gainesville area to talk, seek advice, and share information.


Bryan’s All Stars Challenge Sports mission is to provide oppotunities for individuals with disabilities to develop independence, confidence, and fitness through participation in community sports amongst their peers.


  • CARD Lunch Bunch for Adults with ASD  Gainesville, FL Contact: Robin Byrd at 352-846-3700 or robinl@ufl.edu

A lunch get together for adults age 18 and over, who have a documented diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Please bring money for lunch and if support is needed please bring your support person.Location/Meeting Times: Sweetberries 505 NW 13th St, Gainesville, FL 32601. 2nd Monday of the month at 1pm. 


  • CARD Lunch Bunch for Adults with ASD  Ocala, FL Contact: Robin Byrd at 352-846-3700 or robinl@ufl.edu

A lunch get together for adults age 18 and over, who have a documented diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Please bring money for lunch and if support is needed please bring your support person.  Location/Meeting Times: Golden Corral, 2111 SW College Road, Ocala, FL 34474. First Friday of the month at 12pm.

Update 3/22/18: This group will now meet at Golden Corral, 2111 SW College Road, Ocala, FL 34474.


  • CARD Support Group Lake City, FL Contact: Parents – Margie Garlin at mlgarlin@ufl.edu or 352-846-2762 or Adults with ASD – Robin Byrd at robinl@ufl.edu or 846-3700

A lunch get together for parents, caregivers, adults on the spectrum, community members and all interested parties. Please bring money for lunch and if support is needed please bring your support person. Location/Meeting Times: Sakura Buffet, 2469 W US Hwy 90 #148, Lake City, FL 32055. 1st Wednesdays of the month,11am – 1pm.


CASS has a closed Facebook Group Page – http://www.facebook.com/groups/citrusautismservices and also a public Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/CASS-Citrus-Autism-Support-Services-226969340788460. Their goal is to provide the latest information about upcoming conferences, webinars, provide links, resources and helpful hints for anyone interested in knowing more about autism. Location/Meeting Times: Angelotti’s Pizza located 130 Heights Ave, Inverness, FL 34452. 3rd Friday of the month (except June and July) 10:30am – 12:30am. We recommend you confirm date and time of meeting with Dawn or Marianne.


A support group for parents and individuals with autism in the Hernando County Area. Location/Meeting Times: Hope Youth Ranch 17933 East Road Hudson, FL 34667. 1st Friday of every month 1:00pm- 3:00pm. Baycare Behavioral Health 15311 Cortez Blvd. Brooksville, FL 34609. 3rd Wednesday of every month 6:30pm – 8:00pm (Baycare Behavioral Health will be holding a Social Skills Outreach Group at the same time. All children with and without ASD are welcome.) We recommend you check with Jen Lambke to confirm meeting times and locations.


The purpose of Champion for Champions Inc., is to enrich the lives of families through facilitating and providing recreational, educational, athletic, life skills and musical activities for people with special needs.


  • Gainesville Autism Parent Focus Group Gainesville, FL Contact: Margie Garlin at 352-846-2762 or mlgarlin@ufl.edu

Gainesville Autism Parent Focus Group is a support group for parents with children who have autism spectrum disorders. Come meet with other parents, share stories and discuss topics for future trainings. Location/Meeting Times: See note below.
This group usually meets the 2nd Friday of each month from 11am – 1pm. Please check our calendar – http://card.ufl.edu/content/calendar.html – to confirm date/time/location of meeting. Don’t worry if you’re late just show up when you can!


A parent support group for parents of children living with ASD and other special needs. Helping Hands invites you to connect with peers, gather valuable information and share thoughts, feelings, experiences, and ideas. Location/Meeting Times: Please contact Beth.


This group focuses on parent training and support. Parents will have an opportunity to network with each other, to share ideas and information. Location/Meeting Times: Please contact Lenorea.


Our mission is simple: to utilize the volunteerism, passion, and leadership of University of Florida students to directly IMPACT the lives of those in the community affected by autism. Our organization accomplishes this goal by creating volunteer opportunities for university students, promoting autism awareness through education, and fundraising to support the local autism community. Location/Meeting Times: Please see IMPACT Autism’s facebook page or website for details on all of their events.


  • Ladies’ Night Out (for Women on the Spectrum)  Gainesville, FL Contact: Robin Byrd at 352-846-3700 or robinl@ufl.edu

A dinner get together for women on the spectrum age 18 and over, who have a documented diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Please bring money for dinner and if support is needed please bring your support person. For newcomers, please contact Robin Byrd at 352-846-3700 or robinl@ufl.edu before attending. Location/Meeting Times: Applebee’s 1005 NW 13th St, Gainesville, FL 32601. 1st Thursday of the month at 6pm. First Meeting is April 5, 2018.


Our goal is to encourage families to build new friendships, enjoy “sensory-friendly” group activities within the community, and most importantly have fun! We have great activities scheduled and exciting programs are coming soon! Come and join the fun! “Get Ready. Get Set. Let’s Go!” Location/Meeting Times: Please see their facebook page for information on all of their events.


This group will provide positive, welcoming social opportunities for adults with ASD where they can meet and make friends during fun community outings.
To join MyFriends you must: Be a UF-CARD constituent; Be 18 years or older; and Contact Ann-Marie Orlando at 352-392-7799 or aorlando@ufl.edu


  • MyTeenFriends Gainesville, FL

This group will provide positive, welcoming social opportunities for teens with ASD where they can meet and make friends during fun community outings.
To join MyTeenFriends you must: Be a UF-CARD constituent; Be 13 – 17 years old; and Contact Katie Roark at 352-392-4172 or kdrane33@ufl.edu


Noah’s Endeavor provides inclusive community recreation for children and young adults of all abilities. Swimming, bowling, soccer, basketball, paint & play, and dancing are some of the activities they organize. Location/Meeting Times: Please see their facebook page or website for details on all of their events.


  • Ocala Autism Center Ocala, FL Contact: Delsa Darline at 352-390-6656

Under the guidance of a trained mental health provider, our free Autism Parent Support Group emphasizes emotional support and provides an opportunity for shared experiences. Being part of a support group can help you develop a clearer understanding of what you are experiencing as well as receive practical advice or information about treatment options and resources, such as doctors and alternative options not only from a professional perspective but from your peers as well. Location/Meeting Times: Urban Counseling Southwood Medical Center 1130 SE 18th Place Ocala, FL 344713rd Tuesday of every month 10:00 am to 11:45 am For up to date events, services, and scholarship announcements please go to the KidGenius facebook page www.facebook.com/kidgeniusinc


  • Outreach autism Services Network (OaSN) Ocala, FL Contact: Contact: 352-462-0168, inquiries@oasn.info

Outreach autism Services Network Inc.™ (formerly Ocala Autism Support Network) is a non profit agency founded May 12, 2011 offering free autism services to the community. OaSN was founded to facilitate the BEST outcomes for individuals with autism through education seminars, respite care, social skills classes, referrals, support meetings, events and more. Please contact us for more information about our programs and services. Location/Meeting Times: 2801 SW College Road #12 Ocala, FL 34474 Office hours 8:30am-12:30pm M-F.  Please visit OASN’s facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/OASNINC) or website: (www.outreachautismservicesnetwork.org) for information on all of their events.


  • Putnam CARES ASD Focus Group Palatka, FL Contact: Janae Donnelly at 717-600-5228 or jdm1974@yahoo.com

A support group for parents to network with one another, share stories and give other ideas on helping their children succeed. Occasional trainings are provided to help parents learn how to help their children. Location/Meeting Times: E.H. Miller School, 156 Horseman Club Road, Palatka, FL 32177 CHILDCARE PROVIDED 2nd Tuesday of the month 5:30pm – 7pm. Meetings are held monthly during the school year. We recommend you call or email Janae to confirm date and time of meeting.


SOCIAL Gators is a collaborative effort of UF CARD, the UF Disability Resource Center, and the UF Counseling & Wellness Center that was created to to help students navigate the social aspects of college.  Location/Meeting Times: Fridays from 3 – 4pm at the UF Disability Resource Center in Reid Hall


Special Olympics Florida – Alachua County provides year-round sports training and competition to children and adults with intellectual disabilities, at no cost to the athlete or their caregiver as a means to achieve physical fitness, self-esteem and the life skills necessary to be productive, respected and contributing members of their communities.


  • Young Life Capernaum Gainesville, FL Contact: Andy Davenport at andy@gainesville.younglife.org

Young Life has played a role in the lives of teenagers in Alachua County for 52 years. This fall (2017) we launched our ministry for teenagers and young adults with disabilities ages 14-22 called Young Life Capernaum. Our heart is to give our friends with disabilities the same opportunities to experience friendships, adventure, laughter, life as everyone else their age experiences. Location/Meeting Times: See information here – https://gainesville.younglife.org/Pages/YL-Capernaum.aspx