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The Autism Ambassadors Handbook

Peer Support for Learning, Growth, and Success
By: Zak Kukoff

Foreword by Gary S. Katz

In this peer-mentoring program, featuring more than 100 specific interventions, student ambassadors help students with autism spectrum disorders feel at home—and find success—in school.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781452235257
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2013
  • Page Count: 232
  • Publication date: May 30, 2013

Price: $41.95

Price: $41.95
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Sometimes, all a student needs to succeed is a friend.

Every day, thousands of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) struggle to stay afloat at school—sometimes bullied, often ostracized. Mastering academics can be hard enough without the added challenge of navigating social situations that neurotypical kids take for granted. If students with ASD had a peer to model and reinforce socially appropriate behavior and coach them through schoolwork, it could help them feel at home in the student population.

This inspirational new book describes how to set up just such a peer-mentoring organization in your school or community. With a clear understanding of the needs of students with ASD and the kids who will be their guides, Kukoff provides:

  • Steps for organizing and implementing your own Autism Ambassadors program
  • Clear-cut guidelines on the responsibilities of student “ambassadors,” plus peer-support strategies to improve the ambassador experience
  • More than a hundred specific interventions any student can employ with students with ASD
  • A path for students with ASD to become Autism Ambassadors themselves

Based on the methodology of Applied Behavior Analysis—the gold standard in autism intervention—but created and led by students, the Autism Ambassadors curriculum will promote leadership and improve the school experience for all students.

“This book makes a distinct contribution by providing a different view of how to support students with autism. As the number of people with autism is increasing, creating awareness and supports across larger groups of people is important.”
—Mary Reeve, Educator
Gallup McKinley County Schools, NM

“This is an amazing idea from a young innovator! This manual is a great contribution, not only to the field of professionals, but to future providers as well.”
—Kate Boone, Case Manager
MHMRA Harris County, Houston, TX

Key features

  • With over 100 modules, Autism Ambassadors prepares students for a wide variety of circumstances and interactions between neuro-typical and autistic students.
  • The student-lead peer support program offers students leadership and program development experience, promoting important social skills and leadership skills among the Autism Ambassadors.
  • Includes tools such as a questionnaire that pairs typical and atypical students based on similar interests, surveys, and evaluation forms.
  • Is designed and promotes students with Autism Spectrum Disorders to also become Autism Ambassadors.


Zak Kukoff photo

Zak Kukoff

Zak Kukoff is an 18-year-old social entrepreneur based in Westlake Village, California, and, at the time of this book's printing, a senior at Westlake High School. Zak is the founder of Autism Ambassadors, a nonprofit that builds friendships between students with special needs and typical students in more than 25 schools throughout the United States and abroad. In his spare time, he volunteers at the Westminster Free Clinic, which provides free medical services for those without healthcare. He also writes for the Huffington Post Education Section and helps organize both TEDxConejo and TEDxYouth@Conejo. He previously founded the education-technology startup TruantToday. His work has been featured in the New York Times, TechCrunch, Bloomberg View, The Next Web, and other well-known publications, and has been honored by the Clinton Global Initiative and NBC Education Nation. Contact him on twitter: @zck.
Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Foreword by Gary S. Katz


Part I. The Program

1. Autism And Society Today

2. Typical Students and Autism

3. The Importance of Peer Leadership: What the Research Says

4. Who and What is Autism Ambassadors?

5. What is an Ambassador?

6. Autism Ambassadors at Your School: The Nuts and Bolts of Implementation

7. Curriculum Overview

Part II. The Curriculum

Section 1. Younger/Lower Functioning Students

Pay Attention/ Calm Hands

Being Alone

Logical Sequencing

Passing the Baton

Washing Hands at School

Section 2. Academic/ In Class

Asserting Yourself in Class

Taking Notes

Giving an Oral Presentation in Class

Replacing Classroom Items

Switching Desks

Watching a Video in Class

Writing an Intro Paragraph

Section 3. School Related/ Out of Class

Writing a “Chunk” Paragraph

Writing a Concluding Paragraph

Fire/Emergency Drill

Getting to Class on Time

Organizing Your Time

Finding Favorite Books

Organizing Your Notebook

Study Hall

Section 4. Outing/ Extracurricular

The Bus Class

Trip/ Museum Class

Trip/ Zoo

Interviewing for a High School Job

Section 5. Social

Asking Someone Out on a Date

Cafeteria Etiquette

Cursing and Offensive Language

Explaining Your Diagnosis to Friends

Finding Friends at Lunch

Finding Favorite Popular Music

Joining a Club at School

Making a Plan

School Dance

Section 6. Sports

Playing Football

Playing Soccer

Playing Tag

Playing Tetherball

Part III. Appendices

Parent Letter

Frequently Asked Questions


Evaluation Tool

About the Author



Price: $41.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.