Social Odyssey

... on the spectrum

Social Odyssey

Social Odyssey is the name of a group of individuals in Rochester, MN who seek to support and encourage family members and friends affected by developmental conditions that impair social and executive functioning. These conditions are typically included in the autistic spectrum of pervasive developmental disorders and include Asperger Syndrome (AS), High Functioning Autism (HFA), Non-verbal Learning Disorder (NLD), and Pervasive Developmental Disorder -- Not otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). These conditions are commonly demonstrated as social awkwardness, problems with attention and focus, and learning difficulties. 

Affected individuals typically lack an understanding of social cues so have difficulty making friends and appropriately participating in social gatherings. They think and learn differently than persons without the conditions, can have an inflexible attachment to routines and an all-absorbing interest in specific topics. Co-existing conditions can include attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity, tic disorders, depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorders. 

Social Odyssey's mission is to enhance an awareness and understanding of these conditions while encouraging all involved continue to discover the gifts and potential each of us have within. 

UPDATE -- Social Odyssey is in a state of transition. As information and resources have increased, the need for a group to support parents and guardians of youth has lessened. As of July 2017, Social Odyssey is joining hands with SEMCIL and Associates in Psychology to initiate a social group for teens 14 - 17 years of age. Meetings will be held the 3rd Friday of each month at SEMCIL. 

We're excited !  

Click Calendar of Happenings or feel free to contact us  for more information.  If you would like to be added to the distribution list to be reminded of the meetings or other events, please send a message to 

The monthly third Thursday Social Odyssey meetings presently on hold. Please send comments or suggestions to  

Current Events and Hot Topics

In 2011, an effort was started to gain support for these individuals post high school. In the 2011-2012 legislature, the bill we drafted made it to the finance committee, but failed due to lack of funds. In 2012-2013, as of the middle of March 2013, we have passed committee in the House and are hoping the Senate Jobs Committee will grant us a hearing. We've asked for voice mails and e-mails to be sent to Dan Sparks, Chairman of the Jobs Committee. 

How We Came to Be - 2009

The need for a support group for individuals with these invisible disorders was identified in the summer of 2008 in parallel conversations between the group coordinators and Autumn Ridge ministers. A concern was expressed by an interested church official that some of the individuals seemed to act out of place. It was recognized that a little awareness education for ministry staff and the congregation at large would help setup expectations and encourage empathy for all involved. We continue to support each other at our monthly meetings. 

In 2012, the church where the need was originally identified, adopted a "Guide" program, assigning an adult to serve as a coach or mentor to these individuals during during church activities.  Social Odyssey continues with monthly meetings of support. Our current focus is to pass legislation to enable support of these individuals post-high school. 

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, Dec 6 at 2:45 PM - 3:45 PM
Thursday, Dec 8 at 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Thursday, Dec 15 at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Thursday, Dec 15 at 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM