Developing an effective peer mentor program in an inclusive college setting

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Research presented at the 2019 TASH Conference in Phoenix, AZ.

The primary outcome goals of inclusive postsecondary education (IPSE) programs for individuals with IDD include increasing independence (including greater economic success and self-sufficiency), community and employment inclusion, and self-determination skills. Programs set up for student success in an inclusive academic and community setting show that students with IDD benefit from supportive peer mentors (Bloomberg & Daly, 2009). The primary goal of this early stages IPSE program was to set up and implement an effective peer mentor recruitment and training system to support academic and social success for college students with IDD. Successful peer mentoring programs need to include the development and implementation of several key components: a) orientations and faculty training, b) communication systems across stakeholders, c) equal-partnership mentoring, d) high expectations, e) faculty using mentors as resources and finding natural supports in the classroom, f) promoting independence, g) focusing on inclusion, and h) having fun and socializing (Jones & Gobble, 2012). In order to provide these key components, program faculty completed a literature review on successful peer mentoring/tutoring programs. This information was then used to develop a framework for the peer tutoring program. The next step was to develop a systematic program for recruiting and funding quality peer tutors/coaches to aid in academic inclusion in academic courses, as well as volunteer peer mentors to improve social inclusion. Finally, a research-based training program for academic peer tutors and social peer mentors was developed and implemented. The quality and effectiveness of the recruitment and training program was reviewed and evaluated based on participant survey/interview responses, number of successfully implemented training sessions, and program students' responses to the peer tutor/mentor experience based on survey and open-ended interview questions. During the session, program students and peer mentors will share their perspectives on the process. Program staff will share findings of the process as well as next steps.


2019 TASH Conference


Phoenix, AZ