Indiana University Students Partner With CIP Bloomington
CIP Bloomington’s student mentorship program provides a unique opportunity for students with learning differences to practice and build social skills. Students are not simply practicing these skills in a classroom setting, they are out in their community with neurotypical peers who are also broadening their understanding of what it means to be a neurodiverse student today. CIP is a comprehensive transition program for young adults with autism, ADHD and other learning differences.
Students at CIP Bloomington who participate in the mentoring program are paired with Indiana University (IU) students so that each CIP student has an IU Mentor working with them. There are also mentors who are not assigned to any specific student.
This allows for both group activities and opportunities for one-on-one time between students and their mentors. The one-on-one time is crucial, because so many of life's little lessons come up over a cup of coffee, a meal, on a walk, or in conversation.
Kameron meets up with his social mentor, Ahsan, for a quick bite to eat and some quality conversation.
The IU social mentors coach CIP students to develop social awareness by modeling, practicing, and guiding students during interactions in natural community environments. Some of the skills they work on include social problem solving, decision-making, social anxiety management, pursuing and broadening leisure and recreational activities, accepting feedback and perspective taking.
However, mentors do not engage in any “teaching.” Instead they are asked to simply be themselves and treat students as peers. In a way, it’s a social practicum for our students. CIP Bloomington recently hosted a party that included opportunities to socialize over food and games.
At the party, students and mentors took part in a variety of activities, including “speed-dating” rounds, where students met with each mentor to talk for 5 minutes before moving onto the next. This exercise helps students and mentors decide whom they mesh with.
“What I really like about it personally is it offers a different dynamic than some of my CIP peers, and I really appreciate the involvement of the IU community itself as well,” commented CIP student Kameron B. “I'm a strong proponent of understanding different viewpoints and other's perspectives. I also like that there are no set expectations. I still keep in contact with social mentors from previous years,” he continued.
Making sure students get to spend time with peers that are not enrolled in CIP helps keep them connected to society as a whole and gives them ample opportunity to practice their new skills in a safe environment that is similar to what they might encounter in life. The Bloomington Center staff is proud of their connection with Indiana University’s student body and looks forward to expanding this unique partnership.
For further information visit our website or call (877) 566-9247.
Co-authored by Wrenn Milbourn, CIP Bloomington Acting Business Operations Coordinator, and Josh Davis, CIP Bloomington Social Skills Coordinator.
About College Internship Program
The College Internship Program is a comprehensive transition program
for young adults on the Autism Spectrum and with Learning Differences. Our Mission is to inspire independence and expand the foundation on which young adults with Autism, ADHD, and other Learning Differences can build happy and productive lives.