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Human Development Institute

University Center for
Excellence in Disabilities

Photo of girl with Down syndrome and friend eating ice-cream.

Research Brief Winter 2018

Published: January 26, 2018

A Qualitative Study of the Impact of Peer Networks and Peer Support Arrangements in Project Pilot Schools

by Patti Logsdon, Mark Samudre, & Harold Kleinert

Photo by Andy and Justin Meredith

Research tells us that making friends can be especially hard for students with significant disabilities. Peer support arrangements and peer networks are evidence-based interventions that involve identifying and equipping a group of peers to provide ongoing support to individual students with significant disabilities in or outside of the classroom. Within inclusive, general education classrooms, peer support arrangements train students (typically 2-3 students) to provide academic and social supports to a student with significant disabilities during ongoing classroom activities.

Based on evidence-based practices, the KY Peer Support Network Project was funded by the Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disabilities (CCDD) in 2014 to work with schools throughout the state in implementing peer networks and peer support arrangements. To determine the overall impact of the project, and develop recommendations for sustaining this work in Kentucky schools, CCDD asked the project to conduct a project evaluation, including structured interviews with school pilot site coordinators. This Research Brief describes the findings of those interviews, as well as the steps that the project is taking to ensure other schools have the tools they need to avail themselves of these practices.

Download here.