Autism Program "Links" Students With Students

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Minus Zero. Another perfect score for Rikki. It's thanks in part, to a perfect fit with one his "Links," Tara.

"She's nice. She's helpful. Again, she's motivating," says Rikki Taggart, junior at Holt.

Rikki is one of Holt's students that gets daily support from "Links"-- kids that get college credit for helping students with autism.

"You help them with social skills, with making sure they're getting work done and keeping them on task," says Senior Tara Lierman.

And in the process new friendships are built. That's why the program has become so popular at Holt. It's grown from just a few student volunteers to more than 70.

"I think a lot of them just naturally want to help out other kids, and this is a way they can do it during school," says Links coordinator Ryan Anderson. "It doesn't take extra time. They get credit for it, and they get to meet a new kid and make a kid's life better."

And the links' days are brightened too.

"I like to hear about what he likes to do and how his family's doing," says junior Megan Colligan. "He likes to hear about my stuff, so we've just become really good friends."

Whatever you call them-- Links, friends or just helpful students-- the kids in this program have made life a little bit easier for students like Rikki.

"It would be much more difficult without those two, a lot more difficult."

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