This program introduces public school students to autism through highly structured training sessions. These peers then become mentors, learning to better understand individuals with autism — the challenges and difficulties they face and the most effective ways of connecting with them. NYC Autism Charter School students are given the opportunity to interact with these peers — generalizing their skills to a wider range of people and learning new things from kids their own age.
Without exception, NYC Autism Charter School students look forward to Peer Mentoring sessions, and develop strong and lasting connections from them.
For the mentors, this program has led to a greater sense of responsibility and has cultivated a level of sensitivity and acceptance that we hope will always stay with them.
Individuals with autism and their families face many challenges at every stage of their lives. Many of these challenges come from society’s inadequate understanding of autism. Our hope is that the experiences gained and lessons learned by Peer Mentors will help pave the way toward a more accommodating world for our students and for the autism community as a whole.