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Maker programs, which involve hands-on production of physical or digital artifacts, are an engaging way to have youth pursue their personal interests as they learn the engineering design process (EDP) (Martin and Dixon, 2016; Bevan et al., 2018). Autistic youth often have deep interests related to STEM (South et al., 2005) and autistic college students are drawn to majors in STEM fields at higher rates than the general population (Wei et al., 2013). However, young autistic adults often have difficulty joining or remaining in the STEM workforce (Shattuck et al 2012). With the goal of creating maker programming to enable autistic youth to engage in the EDP with typical peers and to prepare autistic youth for future careers, a multidisciplinary team created the Inventing, Designing, and Engineering for All Students (IDEAS) Maker Program by bringing together experts in maker education, autism inclusion, engineering, co-design, and research to bring interest-driven maker clubs into autism-inclusion public schools in New York City. The following paper describes the ways in which IDEAS supports autistic learners in both the in-person and online formats, and how IDEAS teaches responded to adversity by redesigning the curriculum for remote learning, editing materials to best suit their students in a remote environment, finding opportunities for students to socialize and share their maker projects online in unique ways, and ultimately providing an enriching and unique experience for students during remote Maker Clubs.
Riccio, A., & Martin, W. (2022, August), Building engineering interest and resilience through maker programming in autism-inclusion schools Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://peer.asee.org/42041
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