Peer to Peer Support Builds Meaningful Social Relationships (Amy Matthews, Carrie Carr, Katy Foster, Lindsey Harr-Smith, & Kathy Hickok)

Peer relationships are critical for students with ASD, however opportunities for social engagement are often limited. For example, only 29% of high school students with ASD get together with friends at least once per week (Lipscomb et al., 2017). Instead, much of their day is spent among adult providers and family. Although teaching specific social skills may result in some improvement in social behaviors, a comprehensive approach to building relationships is more socially significant and long-lasting. Peer mediated instruction and interventions (PMII) are an evidence-based practice with a behavioral and social learning foundation that involves teaching peers without disabilities ways of engaging individuals with ASD in meaningful social interactions within the natural environment. The Statewide Autism Resources and Training Project (START) is funded by the Michigan Department of Education to bring evidence-based interventions to schools to support students with ASD. START has worked with schools for twenty years to establish a comprehensive PMII program, called Peer to Peer Support, in each building that educates students with ASD. Implemented in more than 700 elementary and secondary schools—and involving more than 3,000 students with ASD and more than 14,000 peers—these programs offer social opportunities and inclusive experiences during the school day and extracurricular activities. In this presentation, staff from START and school professionals from Intermediate School Districts will describe this program and share their experiences with peer to peer support including qualitative and quantitative data that demonstrates the impact on students and school culture.
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Amy Matthews, Carrie Carr, Katy Foster, Lindsey Harr-Smith, & Kathy Hickok
Presented at the 2021 Michigan Autism Conference
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This is the open-access version of this video and your completion of it is not recorded. It also does not contain embedded questions or interactions like the CEU and coursepack versions. If you purchased the CEU or coursepack version, you should access it from the myLearning dashboard.
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