Peer to Peer Support: A Proactive and Supportive Strategy to Reduce Discipline and Increase School Engagement
Caring communities in which all participants share common purposes and ideals are advocated as a means of character and citizenship development and fostering a sense of tolerance, acceptance, and belonging among increasingly culturally, economically, and academically diverse school populations"
(Hughes & Carter, 2008, p. 8-9).
Peer to peer support is an evidence-based approach that supports students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that can be expanded to help integrate students at risk for suspension and expulsion into the school community. Peer to peer support programs can proactively improve student engagement in the school community and teach social and problem solving skills that result in behavior and academic success. At-risk students and students with other academic and behavioral issues serving as LINKS have experienced additional benefits including decreased behavior referrals, increased grades, and increased attendance.
When students at risk for suspension and expulsion and academic failure become part of a peer to peer support program in a building, they are participating with school staff and peers to help students with ASD to be successful in the school community. It provides them with purpose, goals, and activities that are positively focused. At risk students who serve as a peer to a student with ASD alongside another peer learn to model appropriate behavior and use problem solving skills, and peers learn to work together on common goals and become part of a program that is valued by their school community.
For learn more about outcome data for at risk peers participating in Peer to Peer Support click here.
For more information about the START Project work addressing disproportionate suspension of African American students through peer to peer support click here.