Students in Canyon High School’s Yes I Can program hosted the third annual Making a Difference Festival last weekend in an effort to promote autism awareness and social inclusion.
Hosted at Canyon High’s on-campus amphitheater Saturday, festival attendees enjoyed food, carnival-style games, informational booths and a relay race on an inflatable obstacle course, while Yes I Can program members interacted with American Ninja Warriors and graduates of the program who returned to their alma mater to impart wisdom on the program’s participants.
Yes I Can is a social inclusion program for students on the autism spectrum that matches them with general education peer mentors, teacher Lisa Lamedman said. “A lot of students are socially isolated and they don’t really have a social network, but through Yes I Can, together as an entire family, we learn about autism and other disabilities, as well as how to advocate for ourselves and others.”
The program is beneficial because it gives students the chance to network with potential friends, while also teaching the group social skills that are necessary in life, Lamedman added.
“The purpose of the MAD Festival isn’t just to have a fun carnival,” Lamedman said. “It’s also an opportunity for kids to practice the skills they learned throughout the year like teamwork and communication.”