Peer Supported Arrangements: How Does Participation as a Peer Support Effect Non-disabled Peers?
Peer supported arrangements have been proven to improve social and academic skills of students with disabilities, but little research looks at how it may affect a non-disabled peer who participates as a peer support. This study aimed to capture the essence of the experiences the participants had working with students with intellectual disabilities as a part of the peer support program and how these experiences have been affected other areas of their post-secondary lives. Furthermore, how these experiences had an effect on their views of people labeled as having an intellectual disability. The theoretical framework used in this study is Disability Studies in Education. This theory looks at how being a part of the special education system can impact how someone with a disability and their experiences while in school, and how they are treated by peers and staff while in school. Participants in this study responded to an online survey that asked questions related to their experiences while acting as a peer support. A second phase included participants who were enrolled in post secondary education to work in the field of special education, or were planning on using their degree to improve the lives of those with intellectual disabilities. Findings showed that non-disabled students who participated in a peer support program were positively impacted in other areas of their lives including life after graduation in terms of their perceptions of people with intellectual disabilities.