Cassie the inspiration for group

A new group for women and girls with Asperger syndrome — high-functioning autism — is coming to the Border.

West Wodonga businesswoman Melanie Martinelli is setting up the Aspiegirls Social Network to help sufferers make social connections.

Aspergers affects a person’s ability to “read” social conventions and non-verbal signals.

It can make meeting new people stressful.

Ms Martinelli, who is undiagnosed but identifies as an “Aspie”, was keen to set up the group to help her daughter, Cassie, 6, who also has Aspergers.

“It’s so hard for girls with Aspergers to make friends and meet people,” she said.

“Many have depression and there tends to be a very high suicide rate — partly because they feel they don’t fit in.”

Ms Martinelli hoped the group would enhance members’ social life.

She also hoped it would provide strong, successful women role models for her daughter.

The group will meet next Saturday at 11am at the Blazing Stump in Wodonga.

Visit the or the Aspiegirls Social Network on Facebook.

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