Understanding High School Relationships for Youth with Autism and Learning Disabilities
Length: 8 one-hour lessons
Teens with autism and intellectual disabilities want friends and romantic connections, just like their peers – but face extra challenges in developing these relationships. Many lack basic social skills and have difficulty understanding social signals. This often leaves them lonely and isolated, making them at higher risk for crossing social and legal boundaries or being victims of abuse.
The innovative Mike’s Crush curriculum/video program teaches these young people how to establish healthy and safe relationships with their peers, including friendship and romantic relationships.
The 8 lessons cover many aspects of middle and high school social interactions. For example, students learn how to identify positive and negative body language, recognize when peers do (or don’t) want to be friends, and understand social and legal lines that must not be crossed.
Mike’s Crush uses research-based teaching strategies that are recommended for students on the autism spectrum. These include visual learning techniques such as video modeling and video self-modeling along with role-playing and other interactive methods.
A key instructional tool is the engaging two part video story (Mike’s Crush) that demonstrates all the pieces of a social interaction puzzle, including communication, body language, friendship, hygiene, and personal space. Through exaggerated examples, the video illustrates how a teen can incorrectly “read” a social situation, as well as how to respond appropriately.
Used together, the lessons, videos and activities help students learn and practice new social behaviors in the safe environment of a classroom.
The Mike’s Crush curriculum is versatile and easy to teach. It is written for use by a variety of school personnel as well as by professionals and group leaders in the community. Instructors can use the lessons as written, adapt them, or use the videos alone to problem-solve relationship issues that are occur in their classrooms.
The curriculum includes everything needed to teach the course:
- 114 page Manual with detailed teaching instructions
- Lesson plans, assessments, reproducible handouts, quizzes and other teaching tools.
- 2 video stories and 5 supplementary video segments.