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Peer to Peer Supports Louanne Neiderquill, Director of STCS Special Services Amy Idzior, STCS Autism Coordinator. What is P2P?. STARTING P2P PROGRAMS Clarkston & Saginaw Township. Now . . . developed a peer mentor program for Kdg - 12 th grade using inclusion and reverse mainstreaming.
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Peer to Peer SupportsLouanne Neiderquill, Director of STCS Special ServicesAmy Idzior, STCS Autism Coordinator
STARTING P2P PROGRAMS Clarkston & Saginaw Township
Now . . . • developed a peer mentor program for Kdg - 12th grade using inclusion and reverse mainstreaming. • Clarkston also have K’Nex which is another peer mentor program • a peer mentor site that has other districts tour • several staff members have joined the GVSU START program to implement best practices in Michigan schools.
Kids Need Opportunities To Socialize STCS Peer Mentor Program
STCS • followed the Clarkston example in the last three years, but made changes to fit our district’s needs • we started with one 3rd grade student and the concept was accepted so much that the mentor program took off • our program is Preschool – High School.
Spring 2008 Fall 2008
A Continuum of Support Reverse Mainstreaming: The mentors go to the special needs classroom to help with social skills, modeling academic tasks, and to play games. Inclusion: The students with special needs go to the general education classrooms for social and/or academic skills based on their individual needs. NOTE: The general education teachers need to know that the primary focus is socialization & independence, but the academic skills may be appropriate or added on later.
Elementary up to 1 hour a week for reverse mainstreaming into the special needs classroom help daily for an assigned time (circle, table, computer, etc) during inclusion into the general education classroom MS/HS help each day for that hour (Science, SS, ELA) that the students are already in class together up to 1 hour a week for reverse mainstream into the special needs classroom establish help during lunch and after school events MS/HS vs Elementary
Peer to Peer Support Program What is a Peer to Peer Mentor? A peer mentor is a support student who volunteers to help a student with special needs under adult supervision. This interaction can be via reverse mainstreaming or general education inclusion.
Importance of P2P What do you remember about 7th grade Social Studies? What is something significant that happened to you in 7th grade?
Peer to Peer Support Program Why do we need mentors? Children often make fun of what they do not understand. Telling the general education students about the students with special needs allows for successful interactions. Knowledge is power.
Why didn’t anyone tell us before? I never would have acted like that if I knew. ~John, 8th Grade Student
Peer to Peer Support Program What are the Mentors’ Responsibilities? Mentors participate in the program during scheduled times. Mentors are there to participate with the student who has special needs and be a model for what is required of all students. The mentors are under the direction of the special services staff.
I told my friends that if they wanted to sit by me then they had to sit by Lindsay. ~Taylor, 5th Grade Student
The mentors eat and talk with their new friends. student lunch example
Peer to Peer Support Program Who can become a mentor? Mentors are selected on a voluntary basis from the general education classrooms. All students have the opportunity to a mentor. If the students with special needs are in the general education class, then the mentors are chosen from that room. Otherwise students have the opportunity to help during in the special needs classroom, lunch, and specials/electives. Mentors must have parent and teacher permission to participate in the program.
It’s ok if he colors outside the lines because he has Asthma and he is learning. He was born that way. ~McKenna, Kindergarten Student
Peers in Kindergarten McKenna and Gabe play with Demetri
Peer to Peer Support Program Benefits of P2P The peer mentor program provides many opportunities for general education students, as well as the students with special needs. Students with special needs receive the social and communication support they need in a general education setting. General education students learn to relate to people with different needs and develop an increased understanding of individual differences. Leadership, compassion, and diversity are fostered.
Mentors are . . . participants kids a clue to adults as to what goes on at that age to provide reminders or support as they would any other friend Mentors are not . . . to replace an aide paid staff there to tell students what to do What mentors are or are not . . .
Self Contained Social worker/speech therapist runs a social skills group where all the kids have special needs. Students practice these skills in isolation and struggle to generalize to true social situations. Peer Mentor Program Mentors receive training on how to socially interact with students who have special needs and model the appropriate behavior in many settings. You can also use the peers to run social groups as long as there are more mentors than students with special needs. Teaching Social Skills
MI3 MAPs Michigan’s Integrated Improvement Initiatives, Mandated Activities Projects LRE with Social Skills Opportunities
Socialization & Independence Socialization: the ability to interact socially with others Independence: the ability to do something on your own
Developing social skills requires having social experiences.
Opportunities McElway basketball experience
Community Connection Jason McElwain talks and has pizza with the KNOTS mentors at White Pine Middle School compliments of Connor’s Autism Project in Saginaw.
Overview of P2P Programs Team develops the process & a name. Administration on board with P2P idea. Schedule peer trainings and case conferences with the mentors. Present P2P idea & receive permission from the parents of the students with ASD. Present about Autism & P2P concept at the building staff meetings. Work with principal to assign students with ASD to gen ed rooms. Present to the gen ed classrooms who already have students with ASD in them. Present to the gen ed classrooms to use for inclusion or reverse mainstreaming. Present to the other classrooms who would see the kids with ASD at specials/lunch. Send home brochure & permission slip to be considered if interested. Look over permission slips and match kids (start small). Develop a schedule per student for interaction. Schedule meetings with the ASD & general education staff for updates/feedback.
The Key Players The Adults: Administration, Staff, Parents The Children: Peers & Students with ASD
Administrative & Staff Support We all know that suggesting a major change like a peer mentor program may get a reaction like . . .
Administrative & Staff Support When someone is in shock or denial, just give them the facts. • 1/150 have ASD. Students with ASD are coming to our districts. • Changes in the law are making it so districts have to educate students in LRE. 80/80 rule • Just providing an aide is costly and does not promote socialization & independence. • Sell it as a program for all students, not just the ASD focus. FOCUS: How it helps the student. How it will impact them.
KNOTS Mentors Interactions *PE * Music Class * Library * Lunch * Woodshop * Assemblies * General Education Classes * Special Education Classes * Computer Class
Word of Caution The staff may think of times that work well for them, but you have to look for what works well for the child with ASD. A loud or unstructured time (gym, circle time, lunch) might not be the best fit. A concrete task in a structured time (group work or table task) can be accommodated to fit the child. This can lead to less behavior issues.
Ifeel compassion is a disposition. It has to be modelled and the only way for me to model this is to have a student with special needs in my classroom. Cindy is our special student. ~ Barb Huston, 3rd Grade Teacher
Cindy participates in general education PE with her KNOTS mentors. Cindy participates in Mrs. Huston's 3rd grade class party. Cindy now
Recruit • Presentations need to be fun and age appropriate. • Use general ASD info, but also specifics about the child they will work with. • Allowing for discussion about taboo issues helps the kids better understand. • Present to the rooms where kids are out the most, and then work backwards. • Highlight that it is special to be a mentor and the benefits to them (special shirts, lunches, recognition)
small class settings whole grade assemblies
Selection • Do not only pick the “good” kids. • You want to show administration that you will improve grades, attendance, and behaviors in their general education students as well - not just a “special ed” thing. • The general ed teachers are being open to educate the students with special needs, so the special services staff needs to be open to support the challenging gen ed kids to be mentors.
Training There are two components: • case conferences to allow the kids to talk and brainstorm successes/issues • actual training beyond the recruitment phase so the mentors understand how to support a student with special needs
Case Conferences Mentors meet with the staff during lunch on a scheduled day at a set location.
Training Mentors need to understand that kids with special needs can fit in, but will still be different. They may stand out in some ways, but also be accepted and understood. Mentor training K-5 whole class training
Books for Training High School Middle School Elementary
Maintenance Make it fun! • t-shirt days • fieldtrips • parties • after-school events • exchange phone numbers • competitions between grades • monthly event