ASD Mentorship Program (AMP)
The AMP was created to assist students develop a sense of belonging and peer group, to support students as they navigate university life, and provide a coach to talk through difficulties that the student may be experiencing.
Students participating in the AMP have been diagnosed with an ASD, most commonly Asperger syndrome (AS). Students from all levels of university are invited to participate in the program. The two main components of the AMP are individual meetings and group events.
1) To build a social network or peer group within the university community for students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
2) To encourage organizational skill development
3) To provide a supportive environment for university students with an ASD
Each student is paired with a mentor at the beginning of the school year who is there to provide weekly or bi-weekly support to the student based on his or her individual needs. These meetings provide students with individualized attention and the opportunity to discuss personally relevant or private concerns, as well as an opportunity to develop strategies to work through specific problems.
Topics covered in meetings:
- evening and weekend social plans
- meeting new people
- challenges in social skills
- managing courses
- organization (exams and assignments)
- how to approach a professor about a problem
- romantic relationships
- substance issues
- family issues
Group events aid students in building a social network and peer group within the university community in a safe environment. These events occur every 2 to 4 weeks and are organized based on recommendations from participating students.
Group events are:
- Typically on campus, such as a pizza party or campus related activity (sports events, plays, concerts, etc.
- Allow students to socialize with one another in a fun environment
What is a Mentor?
Mentors are graduate-level university students, most of whom have a background in clinical psychology and specific experience in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Through the group events and individual meetings, mentors work with students to achieve their personal goals.
In group events, mentors also assist students:
1) In planning social events
2) Suggest topics of discussion
3) Foster a sense of belonging and group cohesion.
The role of the mentor is akin to that of a “coach”. A coach does not play the game for you, but helps you practice skills, they help you prepare for the game, they cheer you along, and work with you after the game to talk about what went well and how to practice for next game.
For more information on the Asperger Mentorship Program please contact the program coordinator at: firstname.lastname@example.org