Internships based in hospitals help students with autism

Mechanicsville, VA – High school seniors with autism get hospital internships through Project Search, a program designed to teach job skills to people on the autism spectrum.

Students in the program agree that it’s helped. Hanover County resident Savannah Chandler told news outlet Richmond Times Disbatch that

“I stocked and sanitized equipment. I helped stock the stations and rooms, and I checked binders for corrections. … I was shy at first. My confidence level got better.”

Another student Michael Yacovone told the Dispatch the that meeting new people is really beneficial:

“I really liked meeting all the new people. In the hospitals, I was meeting people from all over, new people from outside of Hanover.”

Matthew Deans, project manager for the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services, said that the goal of the program is not to run with the first success each student has, but to broaden their skills so that they can be applied to jobs anywhere, including outside the hospital.

Students start the internships in the classroom first, consult with a mentor, then intern at three different hospital departments over the span of nine months. Hospital departments participating in the program include surgical services, materials management, radiology, and infection control.

Source: Kieran McQuilkin on the Richmond Times-Dispatchon: Hospital internships provide benefits to autistic students