Peer-Mediated Intervention to Promote Positive Social Skills for Children with Severe Disabilities

Peer-Mediated Intervention to Promote Positive Social Skills for Children with Severe Disabilities

Type of Problem Behavior or Issue

Education is important for those children with austere frailties who in most cases were previously disqualified from the learning procedures, from a supposed incapability to study. Children with severe disabilities of all ages require additional time and extra changes to gain and preparation a variety of expertise. However, low potentials for development particularly in relation to academic skills and social talents have condensed the level of contact with characteristic as well as valuable learning involvements.

In essence, children regarded to have severe disabilities comprise of those with temperate to reflective degrees of rational damage and austere complications interacting their prerequisites to others. Such children could also have associated disabilities (bodily, communicative, fleshly, and wellbeing) that inhibit them from learning in a typical way (American Psychiatric Association, 2012). In the conventional world, these children are segregated from children without disabilities, and they are placed in institutions that were different from others to cater for their special needs. In present times in the learning institutions, many of the children with severe disabilities devote the best of their learning times in dedicated learning schoolrooms.

These school rooms do not reproduce characteristic knowledge surroundings where it is expected scholars will eventually be required to work. Children with severe disabilities were previously regarded as those incapable of learning, and they were labeled as custodial. It forced educators to place them in packages that were designed to offer only basic care and safety. It is so since in these settings there was no teaching and limited learning was thus administered.

Based on substantial parent disappointment and engagement, regulations were enacted in some states to reflect the privileges of children with severe disabilities. It was an important step towards finding a solution to the problems of such children in the society across the globe. In this light, this paper aims at employing “peer-mediated intervention” to promote positive social skills for children with severe disabilities to help break the deadlock.

Benefits and Research Findings

It was found that “peer-mediated interventions” aimed at promoting positive social skills for children with severe disabilities have numerous benefits. It is an intervention that target social and communication skills and hence it is essential to enhancing their capability to initiate interactions. This is an important move that can help children with severe disabilities to reciprocate throughout social exchange and hence conclude the happiness and feelings of other children. Research findings affirm this by suggesting that there is evidence for the intervention in addressing the core deficits for children with severe disabilities.

It allows children with severe disabilities to develop attention and symbolic play, which is effective for enhancing social and communication skills, particularly for younger children. Some scholars point out that peer training and social skills groups are part of a treatment program as evidence-based practices. Peer-mediated interventions are effective in enhancing social and communication skills in the case where peer dyads (small groups of peers) are used to support children with severe disabilities.

These groups are meant to help such children with particular tasks that comprise of social and conversation partners. The groups might also be important throughout transitions (when they act as tutors and providers of social reinforcement. Peer-mediated interventions allow implementers (teachers and mediators) to use behavioral approaches with a clear focus on individual needs. Such needs comprise of receptiveness to involvement, useful results, and simplification of skills employed as key pointers of the efficacy of the involvement. The intervention is among the very few strategies that allow teaching or implementation in a more naturalistic environment with typical peers to enhance social interaction and language advancement.

In a scholarly standpoint, peer-mediated intervention application is seen to offer preservative interests (preferred engagements) in social interactions. Such engagements or interests are helpful in aiding such children to advance in their learning and acquire relevant social and communicative skills. The intervention is important in that it tackles challenging behavior and some scholarly works show that this behavior decreases as the strategy increases teacher attention through praise of proper conduct during application and during recess. It offers a way of using instruction helpers to apt and enhances communications among the disabled children. It also encompasses their nobles during break, and this is important as it increases social initiations and responses (Kasari, Locke, Gulsrud & Rotheram-Fuller,2011).

There is a notion that this intervention shows improved frequency and duration of social conducts and limits disruptive conduct for children with severe disabilities. Current research findings and evidence show that peer-mediated intervention leads to improved class-wide-rated social network status. There is also the improvement in teacher ratings of social skills and a decrease in isolation on the playground for the children with severe disabilities. These are important findings and benefits of using peer meditated interception in an effort to try and help children with disabilities overcome such challenges and grow like other children in schools.


In implementing this intervention in the classroom, the process begins by installing checklists, then carrying out analyses. Following this installation of event-recording systems, observations, video and audio taping will also be put in place. The other element will be the administration of questionnaires that will be distributed to allow receiving of responses from early childhood teachers, professionals (speech pathologists and school psychologists), and parents. Following this, a Likert rating scale will be used to gather information required to act as checklists.

The next step will then be a selection of early childhood special education teachers as participants (they must be holders of a four-year degree with a number of teaching licensures and have experience in teaching children between 4 to 20 years of age). Teachers’ demographic information will then be gathered through the use of a teacher’s demographic form that contains informational data such as age, gender, ethnicity, experience years, degree, and educational background.

The subsequent step will involve efforts by the interventionist to train the selected peers to become capable of engaging children with severe disabilities in social interactions and game playing. In essence, this will allow the trained teachers to select skills based on the individual needs of each child and the settings. A typical selection, for example, comprises of skills and abilities like entering and maintaining attention in games, maintaining a conversation, game rules, steps for particular engagements, and having decent sportsmanship (Klavina, 2008).

After getting the right number of children (for instance twenty children) a set period of time will thus be set for the children to participate in a number of sessions. The sessions will last up to twenty minutes and will take place two times in a week. Having all these steps and procedures put in place, the interventionist will accomplish desired results. The results of the entire process will include improved class-wide-rated communal networks position, enhanced educator assessments of societal abilities, and diminished segregation on the schoolyard.



American Psychiatric Association. (2012). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders.Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Kasari, C., Locke, J., Gulsrud, A., & Rotheram-Fuller, E. (2011).“Social networks and friendships at school: Comparing children with and without ASD.”Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders41(5):533–544.

Klavina, A. (2008). “Using peer-mediated instructions for students with severe and multiple disabilities in inclusive physical education: A multiple case study.”European Journal of Adapted Physical Activity 1(2), 7-19.

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