How Mentorship Can Help Kids With Autism?

Posted by Jenn

How Mentorship Can Help Kids With Autism?

How Mentorship Can Help Kids With Autism?

Does your child struggle with social interactions?

Are they often alone with little to no friends? In Washington State one program is pushing to stop this. Athletes For Kids youth mentorship program pairs high school athletes grades 10 and up with youth with disabilities from first grade to high school.

AFK program has a strong belief that by modeling acceptance, inclusion, and respect of all individuals transforms and strengthens our communities. Over 93% of the mentored children showed improvement in at least one of the following areas: confidence, self-esteem, social skills, happiness, and attitude towards school.

These children who may have experienced teasing, bullying, and social exclusion, develop a true social connection with their mentor.

They meet weekly for an average of 6 hours per month in out of school activities. While this is happening the athletes reach their potential by developing character, leadership skills, compassion and commitment. It challenges them to get out of their comfort zone and their “all about me” attitude, to work with a child who faces obstacles different from their own. It really opens their eyes and their hearts to a new view of the world.

AFK program also hosts monthly events for their families. These events may vary from game nights, to going to a movie theater rented specifically for them. It gives the kids a chance to be around other kids like them and the parents also get to be around other parents that get it. Also if the mentor is there, the parents are able to leave and take a break.

This whole program is based on being a team. They get support, the mentors go to monthly team building workshops. The parents and child are also part of a team for support.

One of their amazing mentors is a teen named Kojo.

He went into this looking for fun and a chance to grow as a person. He was scared meeting his buddy and his parents, fortunately they were some of the most patient and nicest people he has ever met.

In this time his buddy has blossomed. Kojo learned how to react and best be there for his buddy. The parents say that Kojo is an amazing role model. He customizes what he does to be fun and motivating, while also getting him to try new things.

So mentorship programs work amazingly well for all involved. AFK and we dream that this program eventually is found everywhere.

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