Peer Assisted Strategies & Students with High Support Needs

 

Sponsored by NTACT, this online presentation by Dr. Erik Carter focuses on the critical factors of peer assistance for young adults with extensive support needs.  He provides strategies and program components that can help you create and enhance peer strategies in your schools!

 

LIVE PRESENTATION: March 10, 2016     Recording Available.

ONLINE DISCUSSION: Questions and answers with Dr. Erik Carter!

Download resources for this Webinar below
  • Peer Support Web Resources E.Carter

  • NTACT Peer Support Webinar 2016 Handouts

  • Join the Discussion!

    Hi, to start with let’s look at discussing ideas about your questions and concerns about involving peers and about peer assistance strategies. Read through the comments below and post your questions and replies to the group.

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    Erik Carter
    Erik Carter
    5 years ago

    What concerns or questions do have about involving peers in providing this type of support to students with severe disabilities?

    Bradley Stevenson
    Bradley Stevenson
    5 years ago
    Reply to  Erik Carter

    I often work with students with severe disabilities. However, the population I work with often engage in disruptive and/or dangerous behavior (e.g., aggression, self-injury, property destruction). Therefore, I would like to hear your thoughts on how to utilize peer supports with this population, given the fact that it may be exposing the peer to potential harm.

    Erik Carter
    Erik Carter
    5 years ago

    In all cases, it is important to identify what factors underly the challenging behaviors you are seeing. In some cases, it may be that the constant presence of an paraprofessional and the manner in which support is being provided is a trigger for those behaviors. If so, the fading of support and more opportunities to work with peers in typical ways might address those behaviors. We’ve also seen situations where peers can be helpful in redirecting students when they are getting frustrated (by pointing them to a visual schedule or reminding them to ask for help). This too can diminish challenging behaviors.

    You should never put peers in situations where there is a good likelihood of harm. But likewise, the occurrence of challenging behaviors should not preclude students from having opportunities to work with peers. Figure out the function and put in supports to address the behaviors you are seeing.

    In some cases, we have begun peer-mediated supports in special education classrooms, so peers have a chance to get to know and work with the student under the closer supervision of special educators. And then as that relationship is formed and skills taught, it becomes easier to envision how the students might work together in a general education classroom.

    Erik Carter
    Erik Carter
    5 years ago

    Please share questions and insights concerning peer assistance strategies.

    Dawn Roberson
    Dawn Roberson
    5 years ago
    Reply to  Erik Carter

    What are some strategies teachers can use to assist youth in generalizing skills from one peer to another?

    Erik Carter
    Erik Carter
    5 years ago
    Reply to  Dawn Roberson

    A few ideas:
    ◾As you identify specific social-related goals for the student with a disability, share those goals with peer partners so they can reinforce use of those skills across settings.
    ◾Involve multiple peer partners in the intervention so that the student with a disability has opportunities to practice interactions skills with different people.
    ◾Fold in self-management strategies into the intervention, whereby the student with a disability is self-monitoring certain skills across peers; ask peers to reinforce use of those skills

    mgentry1@ku.edu
    5 years ago

    We are starting a postsecondary education program for youth with intellectual disabilities and plan to involve peer mentors. What content should be covered in the training? Do you recommend providing ongoing support to the peer mentors throughout the semester? If so, how would you recommend doing this?

    Erik Carter
    Erik Carter
    5 years ago

    The training you provide should be referenced to the student peers are supporting (rather than to a disability category in general). In other words, it is more helpful to explain to peers how to support Joe than to try to cover how to support students with a label of intellectual disability. So, think about just want supports Joe will need to participate in the life of his campus and in the classrooms he is enrolled in. And then equip the peers to provide those supports. The topics we generally cover in our high school trainings are:

    Introductions
    Rationale for peer-mediated strategies
    Background about the student
    General goals in the class, club, or other activity
    Confidentiality and respectful language
    Expectations specific to the classroom or elsewhere
    Technology and communication systems
    Basic instructional and support strategies
    Student motivation and feedback
    When to seek assistance
    Questions
    Others???
    Scheduling

    I would recommend an initial orientation and then periodic check-ins through the semester. You might also have a mid-semester time where you bring together all of the peer mentors at once to talk about their experiences, questions, ideas, and needed supports.

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