We began educating my daughter’s classmates on her autism in grade school. Now a high school sophomore, the education and knowledge has grown into a support system that gets her through each day.
She has people to sit with at lunch, a locker to visit in between classes and someone to remind her whether she needs a pencil or pen for her next class.
While the support system she has during her school day is great, there is something that I cannot create for her…
a social life.
Adolescents and teens with autism often have very little to do outside of school. They may be great at art or a whiz on the computer or desperate to attend a sporting event with friends rather than Mom or Dad but they need help finding opportunities.
And this is where you come in.
Perfectly imPaired is a program myself, Stefanie of Ooph and Katie Hurley, child, adolescent and family psychotherapist and writer behind Practical Parenting, have created to make sure teens on the autism spectrum have something to do after the school day is ever.
What this program needs to be successful:
-An ambassador from your school or middle school (school counselor, special educator, volunteer coordinator, etc.)
-A student group willing to mentor fellow students with autism outside of the school day
-Opportunities for social engagement (art clubs, football games, chess tournaments, etc.)
What you can do:
-Let us know you are interested and willing to take the idea to your school.
-Begin the conversation in your home. Talk with your adolescent or teen about their willingness to work with students with autism and how they may incorporate them into their after school activities once per week.
-Start now, think about the special needs individuals you know and might be able to include in something you do each week, with or without a formal program.
If you are interested in bringing Perfectly imPaired to your school district we will provide you with everything you need. We can provide training materials, ways to recruit volunteers in your school and support whenever you need it.