Fostering Friendships and Belonging: Creating Meaningful Relationships Among Students with and without Autism

Thu, May 24, 2018 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Relationships are so central to flourishing. Yet strong social connections and lasting friendships can be so elusive for students with autism.

  • What would it look like to design school experiences in ways that foster peer relationships?
  • What supports do students need to participate fully in the social and learning opportunities within their schools?
  • What practices should educators adopt and advocate for?

This interactive workshop will focus on the promise and possibilities of peer support and peer network interventions as evidence-based approaches for promoting the inclusion and social participation of students with autism and other developmental disabilities within inclusive classrooms, extracurricular activities, and other school settings. Learn about important elements for fostering relationships, as well as step-by-step approaches for implementing these powerful support strategies. And leave with practical tools you can implement in your school.

Erik Carter

Dr. Erik Carter is a Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. His research, teaching, and writing focuses on evidence-based strategies for supporting inclusion, belonging, and relationships in school, work, community, and congregational settings for children and adults with intellectual disability, autism, and multiple disabilities. He has published widely in the areas of educational and transition services for individuals with disabilities, including nearly 200 articles/chapters and 6 books. He has received research awards from the Council for Exceptional Children, the American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. He leads the Transition Tennessee Project and the Tennessee Works Partnership. He lives outside Nashville, Tennessee with his wife and three children.


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