Peer Mentor Experience

Using program learnings to broaden peer mentor recruitment.

Peer mentors play a critical role in the Worktopia Programs as they work closely with participants sharing their experiences, successes and their challenges during the transition to adulthood and on the journey to employment.

Peer mentors oer the presence of a caring individual who provides support, advice, friendship, reinforcement and constructive role modeling to program participants with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who are similar in age.  Youth mentoring youth engages young people in supporting others to grow and enhance personal well-being.

More than 88% of the Peer Mentors surveyed said that the most enjoyable part of volunteering in Worktopia was interacting with the individuals with ASD, working with them, sharing experiences and getting to know them. They also commented on their own personal growth, noting that working with the participants helped them to develop their leadership and job skills, while gaining experience working as a team.

To read more about what we are learning and the experience of Peer Mentors who have generously volunteered their time in support of the Worktopia programs, click on the TIDBIT link below.

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Relating What We Are Learning to Research

Using national population survey data, researchers from The School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary explored the education, daily needs and labour force participation of adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They looked at data from the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability that surveyed 45,500 Canadians with disabilities and found valuable information about the challenges people with disabilities encounter getting into and remaining in the workforce. Their research is also providing insights that inform policy development.

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Peer Mentor Evolution

Peer mentorship was recognized as an important element in the original design of the Worktopia programs. The concept of using peer mentors who do not have autism to provide support to participants who do, has evolved to include program graduates who have autism.

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