Do you feel alone? Do you want to make friends but aren’t sure how? Would you like to gain experience in talking to someone? Do you struggle to get round to doing things and it would help to have someone to hold you to account? Would you like to engage in personal development?
Peer mentoring may be for you.
Until Magneto succeeds in reverse-engineering Cerebro, autistic people will always be a minority. This can be a stressful and lonely life to lead, not knowing what to do or who to ask. There have been some efforts to tackle this by creating “befriending” or “buddying” schemes, but general feedback from the Citizens who have used them is this this is a misleading term – people who help autistic people in buddying schemes aren’t really friends. Autistic people reported that they would much rather have a formal mentoring relationship and have that nature of that relationship be clear.
In 2015, Research Autism and London South Bank University conducted a pilot research project into the use of mentoring schemes for autistic people and found that it had a positive effect – participants reported feeling more confident, happier and less stressed. Mentoring schemes, however, are not available to everyone and are geographically limited.
We are therefore developing a peer mentoring platform that will be delivered online. Once fully running, Citizens will be able to subscribe to four levels of mentoring:
– Peer mentoring – Our cheapest levels, meeting regularly with another Citizens or similar interest or issues that you can work on together. We will supply resources for potential topics of discussing, which will be developed further as people give us feedback about what they need.
– Formal mentoring – Citizens will meeting regularly with an experienced Citizen who have been trained to provide support and their knowledge. Mentees pay for this service and mentors receive training and supervision.
– Professional mentoring – Citizens receiving mentoring from professionally qualified mentors who may or may not be autistic. This is a contracted out service and we do intend to make it available through Access to Work and other funded support schemes.
– Psychology – Our most intensive level of service for Citizens with complex needs, mental health problems or who are looking for a specific piece of work.
This is as you imagine an ambitious goal for an institution that currently employs two staff for one day a week. Please be patient as we recruit, train and develop resources. The faster we get the main site running smoothing, the sooner we will be able to deliver this project in 2019. Here’s how you can help.