H.U.G.S. for Autism was founded by former educators who have experienced firsthand the social challenges youth with an Autism Spectrum Disorder face every day. After spending several years arranging and evaluating the ways in which Autistic students flourished when they were accepted and nurtured by regular education students on a smaller level, we decided to begin working to create and grow a more formalized program that could be carried out in schools across the U.S.
In the midst of this decision, came a nationwide outcry against bullying amongst school-age children. After doing extensive research, we discovered that there existed a tremendous disparity in the rates of bullying involving children diagnosed with an ASD. Studies have shown that children with an ASD experienced bullying at rates four times greater than children who are classified as general education.
The acronym, H.U.G.S., stands for Hope, Understanding, Guidance and Social acceptance. Our goal is to ensure that the growing population of Autistic children is able to experience a journey through life filled with H.U.G.S.
To empower non-disabled
students to see themselves as Ambassadors on
behalf of their peers living with Autism and take a firm stance against
To build an alliance for
youth with autism by creating protective peer
groups, wherein they may feel safe and supported.
To promote Autism
Awareness amongst K-12 grade students and instill
empathy and social acceptance to students without autism through various activities and programs.
To provide opportunities for Social and Emotional Learning.
To create an atmosphere
for students with an ASD that is more conducive to learning by reducing the
external challenges caused by the emotional distress of bullying.
To improve socialization between students with
Autism and their general education peers.
To reduce the number of bystanders.
Our mission is to create various opportunities for youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder throughout schools and communities in our footprint. We utilize social and emotional learning methods to teach purpose, principal, and virtue to all children, so that they may live fulfilled lives with a strong sense of self-value.