What is a Circle of Friends?
A “Circle of Friends” is an incredibly important tool available to all teachers who have the right determination. If set up properly, it serves as a resource group established to socially support any learner who is having trouble in establishing strong social bonds in their peer group. Generally, the student needing support is a student on the Autism Spectrum, but there is no reason why other students can’t benefit from being involved in this type of support.
In Australia, NESTS have seen Circles operate successfully in all age groups from Prep to Year 12.
What is the aim of a “Circle of Friends”?
The aim of the circle is to set goals and develop strategies to support the student on the Autism Spectrum, but importantly these strategies also support all the members of the group.
The Circle ultimately benefits all students as they increase and develop inter-personal skills.
A Circle of Friends has succeeded if the student on the Autism Spectrum is an accepted and valued member of the peer group, who is supported and understood. Ultimately the Circle has succeeded if the student on the Autism Spectrum feels safe at school and can tell you that they have friends.
☑ Ask your focus student to join
☑ Find a support group of 6 to 12 students
☑ Explain the aims to the group
☑ Plan your meetings
☑ Extend the circle
A more in depth guide to setting up a Circle of Friends can be found in our Free Resources Library, along with tonnes of other helpful strategies for parents, students and teachers.