Peer-Mediated Intervention

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Peer-mediated instruction and intervention (PMII) is used to teach typically developing peers ways to interact with and help learners with ASD acquire new behavior, communication skills, and social skills by increasing social opportunities within natural environments. With PMII, neurotypical peers are taught ways of engaging learners with ASD in social interactions in both teacher-directed and learner-initiated activities. Peers are paired or placed in cooperative learning groups that include at least one learner with ASD. When designed and implemented well, PMII serves as a compelling method for providing academic and social support to students with ASD (Fettig, 2013).
Intervention Description According to the National Professional Development
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A key to effective PMII is the selection of peers to participate in the intervention (Appendix A). First, it is important to select peers who exhibit good social/language skills; have positive social interactions with the learner with ASD; are generally compliant with adult directives; attend school on a regular basis; have similar schedules/academic groupings as the learner with ASD; and express a willingness to participate. After selecting the peer, one must plan for the actual training session. Peer training sessions should be based on the individual needs of the learner with ASD. It is important to begin the training by teaching peers to recognize and appreciate individual differences. Next, review the specific target behaviors that are used to facilitate social interactions, such as initiating interactions, responding to initiations, keeping an interaction going, giving/accepting compliments, helping others/asking for help, and including others in activities. In addition, a list of prompts, scripts and role plays for peers to promote social interactions should be developed. Baseline data should also be collected during this planning phase through direct observation of the student with ASD. After all antecedent supports are in place, peers must be assigned to the learner with ASD and there must be at least one regular 15-minute interaction between the peer and learner on a daily basis. At this time, intervention data should be taken on the identified target behavior. In addition, support and periodic feedback should be provided to the peers at all phases of the implementation process (AFIRM Team, 2015). When PMII is successfully implemented, there are many intrinsic rewards for both the learner with ASD and the trained peer. Examples of these intrinsic rewards include an expanded social network, the development of fun friendships, and improvement in
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