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About DC Peers

We are working to create innovative social growth and learning opportunities that respect neurodiversity. In our free and low-cost programs, we bring together autistic and neurotypical teenagers and young adults to socialize and learn from each other. Our goal is to empower our autistic peers to navigate their social worlds with both self-respect and an understanding of others, while also enlightening our neurotypical peers about autism and connected neurological differences. 

 

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This Summer we started an adult Social Strategies group and we will continue that in October. On September 15th we are starting up our Social Club (a low-cost, low-key, social learning group that pairs autistic and typical peers), and the Neurodiversity Group, which works more on self-advocacy and understanding our neurological differences. We are also planning some special events including another Neurodiversity Panel in October.

Programs & Projects

 
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PEERS® PLUS

DC Peers has enhanced UCLA's popular, evidence-based PEERS® social skills curriculum with updated, innovative content and a respect for neurodiversity. This social skills "boot camp" coaches participants through the initiation and development of friendships, while simultaneously training and coaching parents & caregivers. 

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social Club

Social Club is a low-cost, low-key social learning club for younger teens with social learning differences who are verbal enough to practice social conversation. We talk about, role-play, and practice the essentials of middle and high school social life with “neurotypical” peers, and also learn the basics of how neurological differences affect social interaction.

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think tank

DC Peers’ Think Tank is a team of neurodivergent and neurotypical self-advocates that meets monthly to brainstorm and develop learning and teaching activities that will ensure relevance and value for both neurotypical and neurodivergent participants. This group is by invitation only but we welcome queries.

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neurodiversity group

Our neurodiversity group is for older and/or more self-aware students, both typical and autistic, interested in learning about and sharing their neurological differences, experiences and perspectives. Our goals are mutual understanding, problem-solving around awkward social moments, and learning self-advocacy.

 
 

Our Team

 

DC Peers depends on friends, volunteers, partners, and kindred and kindly spirits who have helped us because they share our mission.  Below are a few of the faces of DC Peers—full team page coming soon!
 

Michelle Koerner, SLP, Coach for PEERS® Plus and Social Club. Volunteer Hall-of-Famer

Michelle Koerner, SLP, Coach for PEERS® Plus and Social Club. Volunteer Hall-of-Famer

Co-Founders Walter Thurschwell, Catherine Robertson, Ph.D, and Sophie Thurschwell. Cathy is Executive Director and runs most of the programming with help from the team.

Co-Founders Walter Thurschwell, Catherine Robertson, Ph.D, and Sophie Thurschwell. Cathy is Executive Director and runs most of the programming with help from the team.

Joel Carver, Speaker and Autistic Self-Advocate, Coach for Club Peers, Member of Think Tank.

Joel Carver, Speaker and Autistic Self-Advocate, Coach for Club Peers, Member of Think Tank.

Heather McMullen, LCSW and Licensed Music Therapist, Certified Provider of PEERS®, Facilitator of our PEERS® Plus program

Heather McMullen, LCSW and Licensed Music Therapist, Certified Provider of PEERS®, Facilitator of our PEERS® Plus program

Will Rice — Trivia Master, Founding Board Member, and Volunteer Hall-of-Famer

Will Rice — Trivia Master, Founding Board Member, and Volunteer Hall-of-Famer