Amaze - One-to-one Peer Support Program
Amaze is the peak body for autistic people and their supporters in Victoria. This project helped determine the best models and frameworks for a new 1-to-1 peer support program targeted to the primary carers of autistic children with complex support needs.
To evaluate the project, the research team talked to carers and their peer mentors, and also asked them to complete questionnaires about the project.
They found that carers felt supported. The carers who participated in this project told us that they felt supported by the peer mentors. They said they learned new strategies to help their children and felt more confident. They also learned more about services for autistic children.
The peer mentors showed empathy and understanding. The project was successful because the peer mentors had similar experiences and understood what the carers were going through. The peer mentors helped the carers feel less isolated.
There are a few things that Amaze can do so the APA project continues to be successful:
- Give carers and peer mentors more flexibility to decide how many times they meet.
- Ask peer mentors and carers to discuss how they want to run the sessions.
- Make the software and questionnaires for carers easier to understand and use.
- Keep recruiting peer mentors who understand carers’ experiences.
Anthea Rutter, Investigator in the Centre for Program Evaluation