Friendship is important for all of us. But for kids and young adults with ASD, making friends can be challenging. Autism often interferes with their ability to engage socially and sustain relationships with others. That ability can improve through socially significant interaction. Friendship Matters! provides an avenue for making friends through community-based, indoor and outdoor recreational activities supported by professionals with experience in social communication. Through activities such as visiting teen centers, shopping malls, and parks; racing go-karts; seeing movies; and going to restaurants — all under the guidance of dynamic social skills coaches — participants can improve their social skills, develop lasting friendships, and enjoy a crucial sense of normalcy.
- The young adult group (full) [Ages 18-21] meets every Thursday (except holidays) from 6:00-7:30 p.m.
- The adolescents group (full) [Ages 13-17] meets every Wednesday (except holidays) at the WAAA office from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Both groups offer a 1:6 staff to participant ratio and require preregistration and admission to the program prior to attendance and are open to WAAA members. We welcome youth, adolescents and adults who need high levels of support or supervision for everyday activities. If a participant needs help from a 1:1 caregiver, their caregiver must attend the program to assist them.
Note: While these groups are both currently full, you may still request to be put on a waiting list for our adolescent group. Our Parent Partners can help you find other social groups in the community, so don’t hesitate to call us!
Provide a list of your child’s unique likes and dislikes as well as strengths so we can place the participant with peers who share similar interests and levels of social proficiency.
Participants also typically need a current neuropsychological evaluation, speech evaluation, ongoing social communication intervention, and therapeutic supports.
Note: All volunteers, parents, and/or caregivers who plan to accompany youth and adolescents to Friendship Matters! are required to complete a background check.