Tips for Staying Socially Connected for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

At the HDS Foundation, our goal is always to provide resources that currently relate to what is happening in our community. Due to COVID, our B.R.I.D.G.E.S. students are learning how to build the skills that fall under each letter in our B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Program: Budgeting, Resource, Independence, Development, Growth, Empowerment, and Social. 

Below are a few tips that provide an explanation on why it is important for students to be socially active with friends and classmates during virtual learning. When it comes to socializing virtually, students need to be aware of not only the benefits, but the risks that come along with social media.  This will also allow students the opportunity to practice their independence skills by interacting with friends via various social platforms. 

Parent Tips: Benefits and Risks of being online…important to research platform that your son or daughter will be using. 

  • Teens and young adults with ASD may find that it is easier to initiate interactions via social media than face-to-face interactions 
  • Access to support groups 
  • Connection to peers with shared interests 
  • Opportunities to practice interactions that will improve real-life communication skills 
  • Impulsive texts/posts can be sent which could have consequences and leave a digital footprint 
  • Exposure to inappropriate material 
  • Exposure to predators 
  • Cyberbullying 
  • Social anxiety/unrealistic expectations 
  • Not understanding the “rules” for social networking. 

 Tips for Keeping your Teen Safe: 

  • Check that the app that your child is using is age-appropriate 
  • Make sure your child does not share personal details online 
  • Encourage your child to play fairly and treat others with respect 
  • Using parental controls, choose times of day when they can log on. 
  • Monitor your child’s account for any potential hurtful comments  
  • Monitor and filter whom they are connecting with, within reason 
  • Explore many social platforms until your child find the one they feel most comfortable utilizing. 

For more resources, please follow our HDS FoundationFacebookInstagram, and Twitter pages: @hdsfoundation. 


B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Parent Zoom Meeting

B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Parent Zoom Meeting

The HDS Foundation B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Parent Meeting was a SUCCESS! Our board members kicked the meeting off by introducing themselves and sharing their overview on how the program has grown over the years. After the introductions were made, our President and Chairman, Cristina Miranda-Gilson, took over and lead the meeting by diving deep into our mission of the HDS Foundation.

Cristina shared that as a non-profit organization, the HDS Foundation was started in support of her daughter, Kate Gilson-Miranda, and individuals who also have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The primary focus of the organization is to support a three-prong approach to transition. Cristina emphasized that in order to successfully achieve our mission and vision statements, families, friends and the community must help create awareness. She describes how teens and young adults can be better prepared to meet the demands of transitioning with the help and participation of the B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Program. This program is structured in a form of a grant and supports the development of school-based social and community life skill activities designed to meet the needs of high school students with ASD.

Although COVID has changed our in-person community-based instruction activities to virtual, our goal continues to make this year as meaningful as possible while providing the needed support to parents, teachers and students.

Cristina continued the presentation by going over the additional programs we offer: College Mentors and Social Activities Program (SAP). These programs provide guidance and social support to enhance the lives of older teens and young adults.

She concluded the presentation by informing parents about the importance of our Toolbox for Success. Each student and family will create their own toolbox that includes family resources, skills that need to be worked on, experiences that will benefit the student and family, and planning for their post-secondary journey.

As we wrapped up the meeting, Cristina opened the floor for parents to ask any questions. It was amazing to see how engaged all parents were, and the variety of questions being asked. We were able to go through each question with an in-depth answer to guide the parents. We loved being able to have this opportunity to share, support and encourage the parents as they go through this journey with their child.

Make sure to stay informed and engaged by following our social media platforms on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!


“Get Your Food at Uber Speed” – UberEATS B.R.I.D.G.ES. CBI

“Get Your Food at Uber Speed” – UberEATS B.R.I.D.G.ES. CBI

Today, the B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Class participated in their first virtual CBI ‘trip” where they practiced their budgeting, resource, independent and social skills by ordering their own lunch through the UberEATS App – the new, fast, and easy way to order food in this new norm. The objective of today’s CBI was for students to be able to download a food delivery app and order themselves a meal.

Prior to this meeting, all students were given the assignment to download the UberEATS application and create their own account. The B.R.I.D.G.E.S. facilitators also sent students UberEATS gift cards to their cell phone number where they had to link the gift card to their UberEATS account.

When the class met today, students were expected to order what they were craving from the McDonalds Menu on the app. Each student had a minimum budget of $10.00. When it was time to order their lunch, students had to follow the prompted directions on the app. At the end of their order, they were able to practice their budgeting skills to compute the tip for their uber driver.

After the class finished eating their lunches, the students had some time left-over to socialize with one another. Students discussed what they ordered, if they enjoyed their meal, compared their uber driver’s statistics, and completed a survey based upon their UberEATS experience.  

It was fascinating to see how each student used their skills of budgeting, resource, and independence to problem solve this new method of ordering food. We can’t wait to participate and come up with creative ways to successfully implement our B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Program goals virtually.


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