Supporting young adults with Autism in higher education and beyond
Moving from secondary school to the university environment and from university to a workplace can be daunting for any young person. For a young adult with Autism these can be especially difficult times. To meet these challenges, Curtin University developed and implemented a peer mentoring program whereby students on the Autism Spectrum are offered individualised support from peers to help the students set academic and personal goals. The program provides opportunities for the students with Autism make friends and to access the support they need while working toward achieving their goals. The mentors are predominantly Occupational Therapy and Psychology students who will work with people with Autism following graduation.
The Autism Association of WA assisted with the recruitment of adolescents and young adults to participate in evaluating the social/emotional training intervention (Program 2 of the two part project). With completion/evaluation of the project, the program is now available to all Australian universities. In consultation with the Autism Association the Curtin University team has now developed a work experience component of the Peer Mentoring Program (Program 3). A range of resources is available on the Autism CRC website, providing the tools needed to develop a peer mentoring program in other universities. The resources include manuals for mentors and for mentees.
More information about research and the Autism Association can be found on Our Research page.