A Sugar Land organization dedicated to providing resources and support to families living with autism spectrum disorder is striving to reduce effects of bullying on those students as the school year gets into full swing.
Students living with autism spectrum disorder are 63 percent more likely to be bullied in public schools than typically developing peers, according to a news release from Hope For Three. In response, Hope For Three has constructed a program to educate and empower students and educators called “It’s Cool To Care (ICTC).”
The target audience for this program, which intends to bring bullying to a halt and break down boundaries for children living with autism, is grades K-12 as well as school faculty members. During the presentation, handouts are used to illustrate and define what autism is, and interactive exercises and videos depict the daily struggles and experiences of those living with autism. Hope For Three said students are given real-life tactics to put to use on how to be a “good friend” and an advocate for anti-bullying.
Another effort, the Teen Huddle, is an auxiliary group of 20 teen volunteers from 13 area schools who share a mission “to increase autism awareness and acceptance among teens.” The group hosts bi-monthly programs to provide families with “Parents Time Out” and “Sibling Sessions,” a mentor program for siblings of children with autism.
“ICTC and Teen Huddle are both Hope For Three programs conducted to ignite a stronger, more knowledgeable community,” said Samantha Katchy, an assistant manager for Hope For Three. “These relationships not only help cut down the statistics of bullying but also provide a pathway for more inclusive opportunities.”
Those wishing to schedule an ICTC presentation can contact Hope For Three at 281-245-0640 or visit hopeforthree.org/programs.