The following was written by the parent of one of our members and included  in the AHA On The Spectrum Fall 2013:

Young people groups to young adults on the autism spectrum so often have social anxiety or simply don’t possess the necessary social skills to initiate and maintain friendships. And yet, they still want to have friends, others whom they can share their intense and often passionate interests. I am the mother of such a young person who has finally found a place where my son can be himself and be around others he feels comfortable calling his friends: Island Gamers Club.

Founded by Annie and Dan, two committed parents of a young adult with Asperger’s, the Island Gamers Club is a haven which can best be described as the coolest family room on the planet. The walls of the bright and roomy space are lined with bookshelves holding every board game imaginable and a huge selection of video games. Large screens are hooked up to Wii, PS2, and Xbox 360 gaming systems and they even have a vintage NES system with out of print games for those who like “old school” games. It is in this room that my 15-year-old son has begun to forge connections with his peers, is learning to feel comfortable with the interests and idiosyncrasies of others, and feels he truly fits in.

– Martha D.

The following are emails received from parents of our members:

Dear Annie and Dan,

As the parents of a middle school child with Asperger’s, I have tried other social skills programs for my son. None seemed to make a difference for my child who has struggled with making friends his own age. He doesn’t have friends at school and spends most of his free time at home by himself. Recently, I found the Gamer’s Club. It is different from anything he has tried in the past and it works best because it is based upon his favorite activity, playing Pokemon video games. At the Gamer’s Club, he found a nice, friendly, and welcoming group of kids who like the same things he likes! He looks forward to coming each week and hanging out with friends like a typical kid. It makes a difference for him to know he does have friends, even if they don’t go to his school. It has been great for his self-esteem. Annie and Dan, thank you so very much for providing this wonderful group!

– Susan B.


Dear Annie,

I want to thank you for creating Island Gamers Club. This Club has done so much for my son. He has gained social skills from being at the Club and interacting with the other children. He has learned what friendship is and is actually developing friendships with children at his school. I can’t thank you enough!

– Linda R.