ASD Mentoring Class at West has Strong Impact on School Community

ASD Mentoring is a class offered at West to allow students to interact with other students who have autism.


ASD mentoring students share their presentations.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Mentoring is a class offered here to help students with autism interact with people who are not on the spectrum, typically called neurotypicals. Students are able to take the ASD Mentoring class to interact with individuals and learn more about what autism really is.  

  “Getting students mixed in is beneficial both ways for each other,” Traverse City Area Independent School District (TBAISD) teacher, James Bartley said. “It is a big opportunity to see more than what’s on the surface.” 

  The TBAISD program, along with the ASD Mentoring class allows for the students to feel like they are just like everyone else. There are people who are there to help if needed and there are people who care about each individual.

  “There’s more caring people that will be by your side to help you with behavior, therapy, and speech,.” ASD student, Christina Probert said.

  The Peer2Peer program allows neurotypicals to understand what autism is and how it affects everyone differently. It teaches neurotypicals how people who are autistic may react to their feelings.

  “We often use the idea of giving them time and space, if there’s a disconnect or misunderstanding,.” Bartley said. “Most of the students come back and say how much fun they had or just how rewarding it is to understand autism.” 

  The ASD program allows for everyone to become united and understand one another. It is a program that allows individuals to interact with each other. Dan Rice, in room C110, began helped create this program in the school and it has been a big success for everyone involved. 

  “Try to be understanding and learn more about it,” Bartley said. “Dan Rice does an awesome job and if it weren’t for COVID we could do a lot more.”