The quality of our life is determined by the quality of the connections in all areas of our life. When these connections are positive, we are happy, content, and motivated to accomplish our goals. When these connections aren’t positive, we feel frustrated, lonely, and depressed.
The Match-A-Friend model of community integration is an innovative approach in supporting young adults with autism spectrum disorders. Match-A-Friend’s premise is pairing individuals with autism to neurotypical companions that share common leisure and vocational interests. Through this side-by-side friendship, the pair develop a foundation of trust and understanding which creates an environment that is nurturing, accepting, and supportive.
The guiding principle of Match-A-Friend is the Art of Connection. Through this connection, the quality of life is elevated for both parties. This relationship benefits both individuals by creating a healthy and meaningful bond between the pair.
Match-A-Friend candidates are carefully screened and trained by Autism Unites. They are carefully matched to the young adult based on compatible interests and personalities. This ensures that the Match-A-Friend relationship will develop into a meaningful and trusting bond.
Video above: Workshop “Through the Heart of Tango” where three young adults with autism and one with Down’s Syndrome were matched as friends to neurotypical peers based on the Match-A-Friend model. The experience was powerful and documented by Joey Travolta’s Inclusion Films. “Through the Heart of Tango” (a documentary) was invited into 6 national and international film festivals during 2013.