This unique program is part of a cross-Canada research study into the effects of mindfulness for adolescents with autism and their parents called MYMind. This program was developed by Dr. Susan Bogels and the research study is hosted at York University. The program is designed for adolescents and young adults with autism ages 14 and up who are able to participate in group instruction with minimal support. It is mandatory that both participants with autism as well as at least one parent commit to attending the program each week. Parents will participate in a parent group led by CAN Program Coordinator Tara Rodas (trained MYMind facilitator) with the support of an additional facilitator. Adolescents will participate in an adolescent group led by CAN Program Director Stephanie Jull (trained MYMind faciltator) with the support of 2 CAN Support Workers.
Mindfulness has been demonstrated to produce a variety of positive effects for both individuals with autism as well as their parents, including reduced stress and improved ability to shift and sustain attention. Each session will include short guided meditations, yoga, and games to introduce new concepts. The parent group will include guided meditation as well as group discussion. It is important to note that both parents and adolescents will have weekly ‘homework’ assignments.
Each session of the program consists of 90 minute lessons, once per week, for a multiple weeks. Sessions are offered as two separate groups; one group for adolescents with autism, and one group for their parents. Each group will practice mindfulness, using different sets of curriculum that is appropriate for each group, but related so that families can practice together outside of the sessions.
Please note that this program is designed for adolescents and young adults with autism ages 14 and up who are able to participate in group instruction with minimal support. Please see Program Criteria (below) and contact the Program Coordinator Tara Rodas (firstname.lastname@example.org)with any questions or concerns.