Circle of Friends - The Path to Inclusion
This project aims to bring the understanding and acceptance of disabilities to school campuses by establishing an environment of inclusion and providing opportunities to improve social skills by building multiple circles of friendship with non-disabled peers. Each student with special needs meets with a “circle” of two to three friends from general education several times a week at lunch time throughout the school year. the general education students are trained to model and shape appropriate social language skills and behaviors. This program has the dramatic impact of bringing students with disabilities out of isolation and increasing their self-esteem, thus leading them to a more successful and self-sufficient adult life. This grant will bring the School Duplication Program (SDP) workshop series to two new school districts nationwide. Each district is encouraged to bring up to five schools to the workshop series. the grant would fund the first year of training (of a two year program) for those working directly with individuals on the autism spectrum.