Monday, January 25, 2010

What do you say, Middle School?

Have you heard that 1:110 children in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)? That’s a lot of kids, when you
compare to most other childhood conditions. Good Friend is dedicated to making sure these students with ASD have good friends in their community. For the past two years, we’ve been conducting staff and student services in elementary schools to create autism awareness, teach acceptance of differences, and foster empathy for students with ASD. Chelsea Budde and Denise Schamens, co-founders, have been to state, regional, and national conferences on autism and education as parents and professionals and have heard a running theme: Good Friend needs a product and service at the middle school level tailored to them! So let’s talk about it!

  • WHO we're looking for: 100 positive people who have something to say. A mix of 50 students, some with autism and/or other special education needs and some “regular ed” students. Plus 50 adults: 10 parents, 10 general education teachers, 10 special educators, 10 paraprofessionals, and 10 other school service providers (including therapists, guidance counselors, social workers, bus drivers, etc.).
  • WHAT we're planning: A Community Conversation, “Let’s Talk Good Friends and Autism”, in the World CafĂ© style ( A light dinner and refreshments will be served.
  • WHY we're hosting this event: The target audience for Good Friend’s video will be students in grades 6-8, ages 12-15, so it needs to answer the questions this group has. The curriculum developed for the staff and students needs to be relevant to their experience.
  • WHEN it's scheduled: Thursday, March 11, 2010; 6-8 p.m.
  • WHERE we'll meet: Steinhafels’ Community Room, W231 N1013 County Hwy. F, Waukesha
  • HOW to get involved: Contact Denise (phone 262-391-1369, or email by February 8 and provide your name, age, phone number, email address, and category (as described above in WHO) *. *This information will be kept confidential within the Community Conversation.
Spaces are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis, so RSVP quickly!

This event was made possible by a generous grant from the Natural Supports Project of the
Waisman Center and University of Wisconsin-Madison.