Providing opportunities for participants to practice and improve their social skills is an important component of the IFSN mission.
Peers Together is designed to integrate participants and neuro-typical peers, support our participants, and provide consistent social opportunities and friendships for the children, teenagers, and young adults involved in IFSN. Neuro-typical peers are matched with participants who are interested in the same extracurricular activities. For one or more sessions, the participants and their peers attend the same class and work towards creating a final project together.
Eligible ages: 5-23 years.
What are the Benefits?
IFSN’s Peer Program helps parents and participants take the first step to establish social opportunities and peer relationships. This aspect of our program is an easy way for our participants to connect with neuro-typical peers as well as other participants in the IFSN program. The Peer Program is not mandatory and participants can choose to be in the peer program at any time. Participants participate in an activity that they love with a peer, observe appropriate behavior, practice social skills, and most importantly have fun. As a part of the Peer Program, the class participant and peer work together to create or participate in a final project, event, or game to present, share, perform, or play at the end of the participant’s session. Participants and peers are matched based on age, skill level, and interest.
For neuro-typical peers, this is a great way to reach out and help integrate the next generation of our community. Peers have the opportunity to play the roles of a teacher, student, and friend in the class. They learn valuable skills that they can apply to situations at school, at home, at the playground, and anywhere else they spend time with family, friends, and other people they have never met, to become open, creative, and supportive individuals.
We match the peers to a participant based on age, skill level, and interest. If you are interested or know of an individual who would benefit from our Peer Program, please contact us.
Can a participant join only Peers Together?
Yes. Participants also have the option of joining just the Peer Program and opting out of the other intensive services in the program. Instead, through just the Peer Program, participants are assessed, place in a class, and then followed-up with every month to adapt, modify, or change the environment or goals. This is a great option if the participant is only focusing on developing social skills and relationships. Neuro-typical participants are screened and educated about their peer partner before joining a our Peer Program.
Why should participants and neuro-typical peers join?
For all participants, this program is an easy way to connect to other participants with similar interests and goals. IFSN believes strongly in the importance of engaging in consistent social experiences. Without appropriate social skills, children and teenagers have difficulty making friends, understanding their environment, and developing confidence and self esteem.
Outside the Classroom
This program provides connections between participants and parents to facilitate socialization outside the classroom. The socialization can be between any Outside the Classroom participants and is not dependent on disability. Our Parent Advisor helps parents and participants connect with other parents and participants who are well-matched based on age, interests, and goals.
To join the Outside the Classroom program, IFSN participants and neuro-typical peers in the Peer Program can join at any time. Other peers with and without disabilities in the community who want to join Outside the Classroom to participate in additional social opportunities in a free-play environment can contact us to be approved for this program.
We match participants, neuro-typical peers, and non-participants based on age, personality, and interests, and then provide parents of both participants with the necessary information to approve or deny the match. If both parents and participants approve the match, their contact information is exchanged to established future social opportunities. IFSN can suggest optimal environments and activities that provide the greatest opportunities for promoting peer relationships and social skill development.
Contact us if you are interested in Peers Together and/or Outside the Classroom.
After approval to join this program, you will be directed to our parent advisor.