Who can apply for a TACA Parent Mentor?:
- Custodial and primary caregiver of a child diagnosed with Autism, Aspergers or PDDNOS
- Child must either live with you, or you must be their conservator
- Must live in the United States
How is the TACA Mentor Program Unique?
Frequently Asked Questions About the Program
Read the TACA Guidelines for Parent Mentors
Contact the TACA Parent Mentor Program Coordinator
HOW IS THE TACA MENTOR PROGRAM UNIQUE?
The TACA Mentor program is not merely a listing of well-meaning parents but a fully developed, managed program offering experienced, trained, supported, qualified Mentors to guide new parents on the Autism Journey. Our program is unique in the autism community and supports our mission: For families who have just received the autism diagnosis, TACA aims to speed up the cycle time from the autism diagnosis to effective treatments.
Screening – All Mentors are screened and trained before acceptance into the Mentor program. TACA Mentors must meet criteria in 14 categories to be accepted into the program.
Experience – TACA Mentors are volunteer parents who have been doing Medical interventions for a minimum of two years and have experience in all other aspects of the autism journey that our Mentees ask for. The TACA Mentor program began in 2003 and has served over 900 families in 6 languages.
Training – All TACA Mentors must go through a mandatory training before being matched with a new family. TACA also offers monthly trainings that cover new therapies, treatments or other relevant topics to help keep TACA Mentors up to date and informed on subjects that they may not have dealt with in regards to their own child. TACA also offers opportunities for our Mentors to work at local and national conferences and events.
Support – TACA has many tools to help support our TACA Mentors such as:
- Yahoo! Group dedicated to supporting Mentors-only
- Yahoo! Group to help Mentees get connected to the community and get varied feedback
- Ongoing Mentor trainings
- Same-day email support
- Call-in hotline for urgent help
- TACA’s Live Chat
- TACA’s thorough website
- Printed Autism Journey Guide
- TACA’s Autism Journey Blueprints (included in the Autism Journey Guide)
- Monthly meetings in 27 locations
- Coffee Talk meetings in 18 locations
- Our website and Autism Journey Guide in Spanish.
Legal protection – TACA offers all Mentors legal protection through our legally binding, insurance coverage agreement that all Mentees must sign before being accepted into the program.
Targeted Mentor Matches – Mentees and Mentors are matched on many possible criteria, such as locality, language spoken, therapies, specific medical issues or treatment, age and much more, depending on what the Mentee family needs.
We believe that families need Mentors who have been down the ‘road of hard knocks’ and have already gotten their kids into a good place before helping new families. This means the Mentors have learned how to find resources, learned the basic laws, how to advocate, and can walk parents through the diet and Medical treatment basics. This experience is very important to a good Mentor and we believe new parents deserve, and need, trained, supported and experienced Mentors to guide them properly and safely.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What is a parent mentor?
Answer: A parent mentor is a parent with two or more years of personal experience on the autism journey. Mentors provide general advice and assistance to new families with regards to medical treatment, diet, education, and community resources.
2. What does a parent mentor provide?
Answer: Parent mentors provide general support for newly diagnosed families. Read the TACA Guidelines for Parent Mentors.
3. Does a parent mentor get paid to help?
Answer: NO. These parent mentors are volunteers and parents just like you. They are not paid for their services and genuinely want to help by volunteering their time. They know how it feels to have a child diagnosed with autism – the frustration of learning the “system” and the desire to help their child be the best they can. Because of this experience, they want to share what they know with other families to help them get a jump start on the process.
4. How does a parent mentor get trained?
Answer: Most parent mentors are trained by the “road of hard knocks” by experiencing autism with their child and learning life lessons along the way. TACA provides regular parent mentor trainings to improve the knowledge base for our mentors, provide quality control, and ensure consistency in the support model and information delivery.
5. How do I sign up to RECEIVE a parent mentor?
Answer: To receive a parent mentor – new families are required to:
- Watch the webinar about the mentor program here: www.tacanow.org/about-taca/programs-services/for-mentees
- Fill out the online application form (password for the form will be provided when you complete the webinar)
Note: Sorry, we cannot assign a parent mentor until the webinar is viewed and the online application form is completed and signed electronically. A valid email address is REQUIRED in order for Mentees to be matched to a Mentor.
6. How do I sign up to BECOME a parent mentor?
Answer: Due to the overwhelming response to the TACA Parent Mentor Program, more parent mentors are needed!! Please apply online by completing the online Parent Mentor Application. Thank you for considering becoming a parent mentor to a newly diagnosed family in need!
7. How many TACA parent mentors exist?
Answer: Currently there are more than 200 parent mentors across the nation. We try to offer a parent mentor that lives near you. Sometimes this is not possible. We will try our best to offer a mentor as close to your home as possible.
8. WHERE do these parent mentors live and help new families?
Answer: Currently we only have mentors in the United States. We do not have any Mentors in the US Territories of Puerto Rico or Guam at this time. Please do not apply for a Mentor if you live outside the 50 US states.
9. Once I fill out my mentor agreement how long will it take to get my parent mentor assigned to me?
Answer: Typically this process takes less than two weeks. Once you have viewed the webinar, completed the online application form and a parent mentor is identified we will notify you via email only. Sometimes there are delays in this process and we will do our best to assign a mentor as soon as possible and as volunteer mentors are available.
10. How do I communicate with my parent mentor?
Answer: Parent mentor introductions are done first via email. It is up to the parties if they wish to communicate beyond email via phone or in person. We always suggest that families first make the introduction via email.
11. What can I do to hit the ground running once I get my new parent mentor?
Answer: That is easy! Make your question list! Just jot down your questions and concerns as it relates to your child. See a sample check list.
12. Anything else?
Be sure to attend regularly scheduled TACA meetings in your area! There is always new information to learn and share. These meetings are a great place for you to exchange information with many TACA friends and families. Please join us.
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Have more questions?
Contact the TACA Parent Mentor Program Coordinator using the form below.