Promoting Inclusion, Learning and Meaningful Relationships Using Peer Support Strategies
Who should attend
School Leaders, Counselors, Learning Coaches, CTS teachers, Junior and High School (Secondary) Teachers and School Staff • who are committed to expanding social and communication interactions between students with cognitive disabilities and their peers •who work in a high school (Grades 7-12) where at least one student has a cognitive disability
About this learning opportunity
High schools can provide rich social and communication experiences. Ensuring that students with cognitive disabilities, autism and other developmental disabilities benefit from these opportunities is an important challenge.
This interactive workshop will address practical and promising approaches for developing supports and fostering relationships among students with and without significant disabilities both in the classroom and throughout the broader life of their schools.
Dr. Carter’s projects have focused on:
- Implementing peer support strategies as an evidence-based approach for promoting curricular access and social interaction within inclusive classrooms and extracurricular activities, and
- Fostering natural supports as an avenue for promoting inclusion in service-learning, after-school, and community activities.
This workshop will highlight strategies learned through these projects, as well as ideas for launching extending efforts within inclusive schools.
Learner Outcomes: By attending this session, you will learn:
- How peer support strategies are mutually beneficial, boosting the academic engagement, social skills, and peer relationships of students with disabilities and the peers who provide support.
- How to recruit and match the students most likely to form mutually beneficial relationships.
- How to develop effective strategies for promoting access to classroom learning and other school activities.
- How to orient peers to their roles and provide the guidance peers need to approach their support roles with confidence and enthusiasm.
- How to evaluate the social and academic impact of peer support arrangements in their schools.
- How to access Alberta learning resources and course opportunities to support peer mentoring programs.
This learning opportunity is subsidized as a result of a grant from Alberta Education to support implementation.
About the facilitator(s)
Erik Carter is an Associate Professor in the Department Special Education at Vanderbilt University. His research and teaching focuses on evidence-based strategies for supporting access to the general curriculum and promoting valued roles in school, work, and community settings for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He has published widely in the areas of educational and transition services for children and youth with significant disabilities. His most recent books are Peer Support Strategies: Improving All Students’ Social Lives and Learning (Brookes Publishing), Peer Buddy Programs for Successful Secondary School Inclusion (Brookes Publishing), and The New Transition Handbook: Strategies High School Teachers Use That Work! (Brookes Publishing).