Student and Volunteer Opportunities

Learn about paid student opportunities

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Engaging in the Community: HANDS in Autism® is actively and regularly engaged in the community to build awareness and skills among individuals with ASD, families, and professionals working across settings, including medical professionals, educators, therapists, employment specialists, among others, and community members in general. Consider any of the following options:

  • host or sign up for community day activities
  • apply to be a community volunteer to help with upcoming events and conferences
  • visit our community learning lab to make materials, ask questions or consult with HANDS trainers
  • participate in the art expo (e.g., submit a theme or banner idea for PR, orchestrate a community art piece, be a part of the art expo team leading up to and at the art expo event)

Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities: Regardless of their age, individuals with ASD rely strongly on visual supports as a way to create structure and communicate with others. Participate in group projects to help with assembly of visual supports, distribution of materials, contacting community groups and many more activities.

Peer Mentoring: Individuals with ASD, who are ready to enter the workforce or are transitioning to post-secondary opportunities, often lack the social and professional skills that could help them be successful on the job. We facilitate the PEER Potential program to help these individuals gain the necessary skills by interacting with people of their own age, but with a different set of experiences. PEER Potential liaisons and volunteers also assist by working with HANDS trainers to build and support social skills teaching curriculum and materials based on today’s social environment.

HANDSmade™: HANDSmade™ initiative helps create a structured work environment for individuals on the autism spectrum or with other social, communication, or behavioral challenges. HANDS trainers and mentors work with individuals with a range of disabilities across community, post-secondary, and vocational settings, as part of internships, individual services, small groups, and intensive multi-day workshops.

Student Positions: We offer a range of training and learning opportunities for students and interns that would allow you not only engage in experiential learning, but also to support multiple efforts undertaken by HANDS in Autism®. Such roles typically include Program Assistant, Research Assistant, and HANDSmadeTM Mentor. There are options for future employment as well.

Job Shadowing, Elective, & Coaching Opportunities: Working with individuals with ASD and related developmental disabilities from different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds will help you acquire the cultural competence, empathy, and understanding of how to utilize evidence-based practices in a variety of settings. To gain these skills, as a current or upcoming professional, you can volunteer your time to work with these and get the full “behind-the-scene” experience or serve as a visiting instructor or professional. Persons involved with these opportunities may lead a webinar, support training opportunities, prepare curriculum, work with a team in survey distribution or dissemination efforts, as well as many other activities.

Participating in Community and Public Initiatives: To better spread understanding and build awareness, as well as to be able to influence local policies and make real change locally and state-wide, we are involved in a number of public and community initiatives. However, we need your help to help us support them to ensure their mission and vision are met. Such initiatives include, among others:

  • Local Community Cadres (LCCs)
  • Indiana Interagency Autism Committee (IIACC)
  • Dissemination of needs assessment to understand current state of the state

Donations and Grant Writing: As a non-profit organization, we strive to ensure that we can serve individuals from all walks of life. However, to be able to do so, we need to constantly look for funds to support training of individuals with ASD and community members, material publication, and multiple community activities and initiatives. You can help us look for donations either by working with public or help us write grants, which includes literature reviews, analysis of findings, and other activities to support these efforts.

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Top 10 Reasons to Volunteer with HANDS in Autism

#1: Make a difference: With your help, we are able to help more individuals with disabilities and more professionals working with them.

#2: Learn new things: Every time you help us create visual tools, support a training, or work with our HANDSmade team, you learn something new that benefits not only you, but the community at large.

#3: Give back and do some good: You are able to support resources that are a benefit to a wide variety of families, professionals, and individuals with developmental disabilities

#4: Strengthen the community: You are able to support families, schools, medical offices, and community organizations by helping us create and disseminate tools and resources.

#5: Gain professional experience: If you are interested in working with individuals with developmental disabilities as a teacher, therapist, provider, or any other role, you can gain experience alongside such professionals.

#6: Expand your network and build teamwork skills: Teamwork, camaraderie, and networking – all these are part of a volunteer experience.

#7: Grow as an individual and increase self-esteem: Helping others helps you grow as a person and allows you to practice empathy and self-efficacy

#8: Help yourself: Helping others helps you reduce your own level of stress and increase such positive moods and emotions as optimism, joy, and control over your life.

#9: Step outside your comfort zone: Volunteering will give you a chance to expose yourself to new ideas and challenges that may help you grow professionally and personally.

#10: Develop job-related and leadership skills: As a volunteer you will work independently and in teams, which gives great opportunities to practice such skills as time management, responsibility, as well as decision-making skills. All of these are skills that will be helpful for you throughout your life!

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