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The Autism Ambassadors Handbook

The Autism Ambassadors Handbook
Peer Support for Learning, Growth, and Success

Foreword by Gary S. Katz

July 2013 | 232 pages | Corwin
Sometimes, all a student needs to succeed is a friend.

Every day, thousands of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) struggle to stay afloat at school—sometimes bullied, often ostracized. Mastering academics can be hard enough without the added challenge of navigating social situations that neurotypical kids take for granted. If students with ASD had a peer to model and reinforce socially appropriate behavior and coach them through schoolwork, it could help them feel at home in the student population.

This inspirational new book describes how to set up just such a peer-mentoring organization in your school or community. With a clear understanding of the needs of students with ASD and the kids who will be their guides, Kukoff provides:

Steps for organizing and implementing your own Autism Ambassadors program

Clear-cut guidelines on the responsibilities of student "ambassadors," plus peer-support strategies to improve the ambassador experience

More than a hundred specific interventions any student can employ with students with ASD

A path for students with ASD to become Autism Ambassadors themselves

Based on the methodology of Applied Behavior Analysis—the gold standard in autism intervention—but created and led by students, the Autism Ambassadors curriculum will promote leadership and improve the school experience for all students.

Foreword by Gary S. Katz
Part I. The Program
1. Autism And Society Today
2. Typical Students and Autism
3. The Importance of Peer Leadership: What the Research Says
4. Who and What is Autism Ambassadors?
5. What is an Ambassador?
6. Autism Ambassadors at Your School: The Nuts and Bolts of Implementation
7. Curriculum Overview
Part II. The Curriculum
Section 1. Younger/Lower Functioning Students
Pay Attention/ Calm Hands

Being Alone

Logical Sequencing

Passing the Baton

Washing Hands at School

Section 2. Academic/ In Class
Asserting Yourself in Class

Taking Notes

Giving an Oral Presentation in Class

Replacing Classroom Items

Switching Desks

Watching a Video in Class

Writing an Intro Paragraph

Section 3. School Related/ Out of Class
Writing a “Chunk” Paragraph

Writing a Concluding Paragraph

Fire/Emergency Drill

Getting to Class on Time

Organizing Your Time

Finding Favorite Books

Organizing Your Notebook

Study Hall

Section 4. Outing/ Extracurricular
The Bus Class

Trip/ Museum Class

Trip/ Zoo

Interviewing for a High School Job

Section 5. Social
Asking Someone Out on a Date

Cafeteria Etiquette

Cursing and Offensive Language

Explaining Your Diagnosis to Friends

Finding Friends at Lunch

Finding Favorite Popular Music

Joining a Club at School

Making a Plan

School Dance

Section 6. Sports
Playing Football

Playing Soccer

Playing Tag

Playing Tetherball

Part III. Appendices
Parent Letter

Frequently Asked Questions


Evaluation Tool

About the Author

“This is an amazing idea from a young innovator! This manual provides an amazing contribution, not only to the field of professionals, but to future providers as well.”

Kate Boone, Case Manager
MHMRA Harris County, Houston, TX

“What’s not to like about The Autism Ambassadors Handbook? This book, written by a 18-year-old entrepreneur, provides a complete program that allows empathic students to teach vital skills to their autistic peers. Student-teachers, autistic students, and teachers all win with this curriculum. Did I mention that it is free to implement?”

Anne Beveridge
Branksome Hall Asia
Seoul, Korea

“This book makes a distinct contribution by providing a different view of how to support students with autism. As the number of people with autism is increasing, creating awareness and supports across larger groups of people is important. Providing ways for students with ASD to interact and be supported by other students is needed.”

Mary Reeve, Educator
Gallup McKinley County Schools, NM

"Zak Kukoff has provided a program curriculum that simply doesn't exist. This program is just what we were looking for.  It's one thing to teach kids to be nice and accepting; it’s another to teach kids how to engage with their peers who have autism. The students who learn from the modules become incredible peer models, mentors and leaders.  Autism Ambassadors truly bridges the gap in social development programs for children with autism."

Nicole Simon, Director of Programming
Variety, The Children's Charity

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ISBN: 9781452235257

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