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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

  • Erik Carter

    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

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

    Bradley Stevenson

    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
    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… Read more »
    Megan Gentry

    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
    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… Read more »
    Erik Carter

    Please share questions and insights concerning peer assistance strategies.

    Dawn Roberson

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

    Erik Carter

    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