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The A Factor experience: enabling people with autism to have a voice

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It is often the case that the most positive evaluations are given to the speakers on the autism spectrum following conferences, awareness-raising events or courses. They can illustrate how autism affects many areas of their daily lives and give insights into the strategies that help. Professionals, carers and parents are often told to try to understand the 'why' of the behaviours seen and to use an 'autism lens' and not a 'neurotypical' lens. Autistic individuals are clearly best placed to give insights and possible explanations as to why people with autism respond and engage as they do. There is an increasing number of young people and adults who talk about their autism at events and many others who would like to do so. In addition, all services for adults and children would benefit from having more input from autistic individuals and could look locally for such input. Hearing from a person who has grown up in the area and accessed local services and schools is often very useful. This paper describes a mentoring system set up to enhance the speaking and presentation skills of young autistic adults who had expressed interest in talking publicly about their lives. Four out of the five young men successfully completed the mentoring programme and gained personally from the experience. Two of the mentors were adults on the autism spectrum and were extremely effective in the mentoring role and in developing supportive relationships with the mentees.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 2013

More about this publication?
  • Good Autism Practice is dedicated solely to promoting good practice with children and adults with autism and Asperger's syndrome.
    Each journal includes articles:
    • encouraging good and innovative practice
    • written by practitioners, academics, parents and people with autism
    The journal is edited by highly respected academics and practitioners specialising in autistic spectrum conditions and will be of interest to parents and practitioners in health, education and social services, as well as people who have autistic spectrum conditions.
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