Several of my colleagues at the Center for Autism Research had served as social coaches in the program, and it seemed like a great complement to my graduate work. Ideally, my research (which focuses on visual perception and autism spectrum disorders) will be beneficial to individuals with ASD – but as with any research, any benefits are rarely immediate. Coaching seemed like a positive use of my extra time, with appreciably direct benefits to others.
What’s the most interesting, exciting, or unexpected thing that has come out of/happened to you while doing Social Coaching?
One of the seminar’s events is a party, to which the coaches bring along some friends, giving the students a chance to practice what they have learned with people they haven’t met before. I invited a handful of friends from NGG, hoping one or two could make it, and nearly everyone I had invited was excited to attend. I think a few of them would even make better social coaches than I do.
What do you hope to do with Social Coaching in the future?
For the moment, I’m staying involved and getting ready for the fall semester’s seminar. In the longer term, I hope the experience of coaching will help me stay mindful of the practical needs of individuals with ASD and other social learning deficits.