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Autism Ambassadors Train Typical Peers to Work with Peers with ASD

Autism ambassadors Have you heard of Autism Ambassadors? A group of four high school students have created a program for schools to train typical students to respect and work with their peers with autism spectrum disorders. Follow them on Twitter, HERE. Their Facebook page is HERE. From their site:

The idea for Autism Ambassadors was conceived during the summer of 2008, by Zak Kukoff.   When Zak was about three, his family took in a cousin with Autism from Southern California.  For four years, Zak saw how she was mistreated and maligned in the classroom.  Years later, when recalling his cousin’s negative experience, Zak and his colleagues who comprise the student advisory board, Max Sauberman, Tyler Feldman and Zach Flyer, came up with the idea for Autism Ambassadors and, with the help of a psychologist, developed a curriculum to teach average children how to acclimate children with Autism to a typical lifestyle.

Mission Statement:

Autism Ambassadors aims to teach typical children how to help children with Autism become accustomed to daily classroom experiences.

 

Comments

Darian (nickname)

Now I will admit there is something wrong with me. But as I have had pictures of my brai taken before, and know for a fact I do not have a brain injury, I ask for you to please not call it brain damage. There is a difference between brain damage and a disorder. I have an disorder, a disability. But I do not have brain damage.

A disordered brain can be worked with, and God willing, recovered. Brain Damage is permenant, and everytime someone tells me that it's brain damage, I loose hope.

Not trying to be picky, or condemn anyone. I'm just a little sensitive about that.

Autismsux

Twyla,

You got my meaning in my comment. It is the fact we are just adjusting to these brain damaged kids- yes a *sigh* moment. I meant nothing derogatory towards the Autism Ambassadors and their efforts. Not sure how people made that assumption. Hats off to Max and all the kids who have gotten involved with this project. Thank you.

JenB

Congratulations, Zak, and those working with you! This seems to be an exceptionately insightful and compassionate way to make the world a better place for those whom I believe the world is intrinsically very difficult to be in.

cmo

Off topic but will post:

Help for the Autistic through cranial decompression

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjnc2GSXzmU&NR=1

Max Sauberman

Hi everybody... my name is Max Sauberman, and I am the Director of Public Outreach for Autism Ambassadors.

I am one of the four students who have equally been developing Autism Ambassadors throughout the country over the prior months.

Please email me at max.sauberman@autismambassadors.org if you have any questions, or if you would like a nearby school/school district/university/etc. to implement the Autism Ambassadors curriculum.
I will directly connect with the school, and work towards a firm commitment, when we will then personally train the Ambassadors interested with our curriculum.

As per the website issue, I am contacting the webmaster now so we can address this issue as soon as possible.
Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

Email me with any questions or requests... we're looking forward to expanding our organization soon.

-Max
CMO, Director of PR
Autism Ambassadors

Twyla

This sounds like a wonderful program! Sometimes it takes a bit of information and support to get kids to reach out to each other and bridge their differences.

I'm just guessing, but I don't think "Autismsux" was maligning this program -- I think s/he is just sighing over the fact that we have so many kids with autism these days that it is becoming the norm, something people are adjusting to, instead of something incredibly rare that nobody's ever heard of. Of course this adjustment is great and should happen more often, but still it is is a sign of the times.

Jeanne

I must say I am appalled (but not surprised) that someone in our community would find something negative to say about a group of kids trying to do GOOD. Seems to be our M.O. that we can't accept a good deed without pointing out its flaws. As they say, "No good deed goes unpunished."

In regards to the autism rate on the site being wrong, all autism rates are wrong; we're basing our "current" numbers on information gathered years ago.

Give these kids the credit they deserve for taking ACTION. What action are you taking to help?

Jennifer

I wish every school would do this. And train the teachers too!!!

Jake Crosby

This is the kind of thing that should have existed when I was in school.

Angela Warner

These kids are terrific, as are the parents and administrators supporting their efforts. I had the pleasure of speaking with all four of them on a conference call last year after being contacted by Zac.

This is not a matter of teaching a generation of kids to adjust to a generation of brain damaged children. Autism Ambassadors is a group of brilliant and sensitive young men who acted on their beliefs of helping not only children and adolescents impacted by autism, but their typical peers as well; with tolerance and understanding. Their mission has the ability to go far beyond that and I hope others see what I saw and felt when I spoke with them, and that is that for some children with autism, this could be the peer therapy they need to completely pull them back through the window by being accepted and at the same time having more appropriate social skills modeled for them.

We want every child to recover, but the sad reality is that will not be the case. We need to embrace and support those who are willing to help and assist, especially when we're talking about a group of young men who willingly stepped up to the plate to do what they saw as their part.

I support Autism Ambassadors, and in fact one of my goals this year is to work with my own local district to hopefully get their program started here in my district. I hope you will support them as well.

P.S. I am sure they will get the rate changed on their site. Keep in mind that they are all in high school. They've been taking finals and getting ready to celebrate the holidays. They are on an incredible mission, yes, but they are still teen-agers too...

Karen

Our middle and high schools do this. They are called SNAPS or PALS, depending on the school. They get a credit for it and spend that hour in the ASD classroom, learning about ASD in a lecture on Monday and then interacting with the kids the rest of the week.

ThanksAutismAmbassadors

Autismsux, I know it is easy to be sarcastic about the plight of our brain damaged children, but these student ambassadors are at least trying to do more to help our children than some of our government agencies. I think it is wonderful that these students care enough about their peers with autism that they want to be able to help them in an accepting manner.

Maybe someone could inform the student ambassadors that the rate of autism is no longer officially reported to be 1:150 though. They should update that information on their website.

Autismsux

So nice how we are adjusting to a generation of brain damaged children.

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