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Santa Cruz New Tech MeetUp Message Board › Helping young adults and teens with social learning challenges in the work s

Helping young adults and teens with social learning challenges in the work setting

Stephanie m.
user 131591932
Santa Cruz, CA
Post #: 1

My name is Amy Miller, and myself and Stephanie Madrigal run Growing Social, a small therapeutic social learning program for students age Kindergarden through young adult, with social learning challenges (Asperger Sydnrome, High Functioning Autism, ADD/ADHD, etc.). We have a combined experience of over 20 years working with students and adults with social learning differences, mostly though social thinking ( In the past year, we’ve started Growing Social (, and are using a more hands on environment, and meaningful group activities such as farming/gardening, cooking, community outings and supported social vocational internship experiences for our teens and young adults, in order to support our students in practicing the social skills and concepts we are teaching.

We're reaching out to the tech community regarding the internship component of our program. Recently, we’ve been working on connecting with different individuals/organizations in the community who are willing to host a student in their work setting (with one of us teachers present to help the student with initiating, problem solving, and the nuance of work related social skills). This experience is invaluable, as it gives our teens and young adults a real life context to practice their skills, as well as experience on their resumes. We've found that without this specific teaching and support, students with social learning differences who may have great skills otherwise, struggle to find employment and stay employed based on their difficulty with understanding the nuances of social in the work place.

Although you may be wondering about the connection to the teach world, we do have students who are very gifted intellectually and have incredible computer skills (but weak social skills). Overall, our students are generally bright and highly verbal, but with weak social skills. We attended your January meet-up with these students in mind, and were so impressed with the large, dynamic and supportive community that came together.

We believe that this is a great opportunity for both the student, and the potential business, as this opportunity can be life changing for our students, as well as providing a potentially skilled worker for the business.

Thank you for your time! Please feel free to contact us at, or 408-914-0552. For more information about our program, visit our website, Growing Social.
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