August 26, 2022
How Will Students Know They Belong in Their Classroom?

Since the average enrollment of an American public school exceeds 500 students (EducationWeek, 2019), by the numbers associated with autism prevalence (CDC, 2021), an administrator can be statistically assured that the school’s count of students on the spectrum will be in the double digits. It is likely that the least restrictive environment for those autistic […]

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July 26, 2022
Especially for Healthy Development, Friendships Matter!

Long-range studies show not only the immediate benefits of positive peer relationships, but also how healthy childhood relationships contribute to quality of life in adulthood. An Issue Brief by PennState, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, pointed out that “social-emotional programming can boost the social-emotional skills of all children, support individual children who […]

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July 26, 2022
Having Mixed Feelings about Autistic Neurology and Disability?

If neurodivergent humans were included in discussions about shopping centers, social customs, and curriculum design a generation ago, what might be different today? We could likely expect more universal design, which is to say something that would work for any neurology - not just the neuromajority. Maybe malls would have more spaces for quiet decompression. […]

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April 30, 2022
Good Friend, Inc. Announces New Executive Director

May 2, 2022 Brookfield, WI— Good Friend, Inc. announces the hiring of Allison Katula (Brookfield) as Executive Director of the organization starting May 9. Earlier this year, the organization announced that the current Executive Director, Chelsea Budde, would be stepping down to fill the position of Program Director, allowing her to focus more on Good […]

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May 18, 2020
Going Virtual

In early March, before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, I arrived in an art room overflowing with giggles and bustling with activity, juggling our Good Friend toolbox, technology, and program materials. There were 25 Girl Scout Daisies waiting to learn more about autism and good friendship. Leaders helped the girls shift their focus from coloring […]

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October 24, 2019
Celebrating Jeff's Decade of Service to GFI!

Good Friend magic happens only because we have a team of people who believe in our vision of Autism Understanding through Respectful Education. Part of that team includes our volunteer Board of Directors. Jeff Schill, who once attended college with GFI co-founder Chelsea Budde, uses his professional superpowers at Crisis Prevention Institute. His position at CPI allowed […]

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August 29, 2014
'Of course you should understand me!'

If you're a long-time reader of this blog, you know that much of what we (Good Friend, Inc. co-founders Chelsea Budde and Denise Schamens) write about comes from personal experience.  Whether it's something we've encountered while "in the field" or in our own homes, raising children with differently-wired brains, it's often illustrative of a greater […]

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August 21, 2014
Milestones are fun, but people matter!

In this era of measurable outcomes, numbers are important.  How many were served?  What percentage of various ethnic groups were represented?  How much did it cost?  How long did it take?  And all of those things are important -- but not without people.  And not without each individual. At Good Friend, Inc., we never started […]

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August 4, 2014
Reasonable Accommodations

My family and I are on vacation.  We are visiting theme parks and family, splitting up when we need to for the well-being of our kiddos on the spectrum.  My 15-year-old son in particular has a number of "rules" he's self-imposed to protect against sensory assaults and general violations.  One is that he cannot get […]

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