Autism Action Partnership's Circle of Friends Program Promotes Inclusiveness

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Autism Action Partnership (AAP) hosts its “Circle of Friends” project in 22 schools across Nebraska. This program pairs students with autism with neurotypical children and, together, they plan activities and events to promote inclusiveness in their schools. Here’s a note from the Circle of Friends counselor in Norris.

Our Circle of Friends group had a great time participating in homecoming this year. Our school had its first ever homecoming parade, and clubs were invited to join in the fun. With the theme "Circle of Friends: Making a Difference," kids decorated a golf cart with balloons and signs and wore their Circle of Friends t-shirts. In the evening before the football game, we used some of our AAP grant money to host a pizza tailgate party. Everyone had a great time!

We've found that holding an event like this is a good way to give kids who struggle with social participation the support they need to enjoy the experiences. Besides the participation, we've found when kids come to events like this, we can observe them and pinpoint social skills we'll need to work on during the upcoming year.