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Peer to Peer Support Program
Transcript of Peer to Peer Support Program
* Third, Fourth, and Fifth grade students were nominated by classroom teachers
* Peers were expected to demonstrate superb social communication skills, responsible behaviors, and conscientious attitudes
* Peers were interviewed by the school social worker and speech-language pathologist
*If chosen, students were paired with a peer who exhibited similar personality traits and interests
* Peers participated in bi-monthly training sessions after school
* Each training session began with a lesson on empathy and understanding of the challenges faced by their peers with disabilities
* Students were engaged in group discussions about struggles and successes they experienced during interactions
* The peers were then presented with interactive lessons:
- Initiating play and conversation
- Social greetings
- Appropriate Topics
- Actions of a good role model
Peer to Peer Support Program
* Prior to each bi-monthly training session, peers met with their age-matched buddies
* Engaging group activities were planned to facilitate communication and use of targeted social skills:
- Board Games
- Decorating Cookies
- Group Discussions
- Video Modeling Viewings
- Cooking Activities
* Model target behaviors through video and interaction
- Getting a friend's attention
- Asking a friend to play
- Introducing appropriate topics
- Listening and focusing
- Understanding and using facial/body cues
* Provide prompts and cues
* Engage peers during non-structured group times
Parent Surveys indicated that the students with disabilities:
Kids teaching Kids
Why choose peer-mediated interventions?
Many students with ASD exhibit impaired social abilities
"Increased behavior problems that result from not having the appropriate skills for social interaction,"
"Increasing the likelihood for maladaptive behavior later in life,"
"Decreasing the positive developmental support and learning opportunities found in successful peer relationships."
This often leads to:
* Evidence-based practice effective for early childhood and elementary age groups for improving language and social skills (Neitzel, 2008)
* Engaging peers in social skills intervention has been found to be more helpful than training students with disablilties directly
* A 2011 study (Kasari, Rotheram, Locke, & Gulsrud) found that students with ASD who participated in peer mediated intervention spent less time alone on playgrounds and had more classmates naming them as friends.
* Peer-mediated programs have been found to be both beneficial to students with social challenges as well as their typically developing peers
* Peer-mediated intervention that teaches typically developing students how to interact with and help learners with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other social challenges to acquire new social skills by increasing social opportunities within natural environments.
* Peers are systematically taught ways of engaging learners with disabilities in social interactions in both teacher-directed and learner-initiated activities (Neitzel, 2008)
What is Peer-to-Peer?
Peers were encouraged and taught to:
* Enjoyed being in the peer to peer program
* Liked coming to school more than ever before
* Made new friends as a result of the program
* Learned new skills and shared positive experiences with family members
* Participated in more social activities because of Peer to Peer
DiSalvo, C. A., & Oswald, D. P. (2002). Peer-mediated interventions to increase the social interaction of children with autism: Consideration of peer expectancies. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 17(4), 198-207. Retrieved from http://uscm.med.sc.edu/autism_project/disalvo_article_mod_4.pdf
Frea, W. D. (1995). Social-communicative skills in higher-functioning children with autism. In R. L. Koegel & L. K. Koegel (Eds.), Teaching children with autism: Strategies for initiating positive interactions and improving learning opportunities (pp. 53–66). Baltimore: Brookes
Kasari C, Rotheram-Fuller E, Locke J, Gulsrud A. Making the Connection Randomized Controlled Trial of Social Skills at School for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Ch Psychol Psychiatry. 2011 Nov 30
Neitzel, J. (2008). Overview of peer-mediated instruction and intervention for children and youth with autism spectrum disorders. Chapel Hill, NC: National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, The University of North Carolina.