Peer support refers to the help and support that individuals offer each other. Students with the disability often support and help each other in various contexts. The support given not only aids in their academic performance but also increases their interaction. Inclusive classrooms are even better for such students; given the fact, the support accorded to them by their non-disabled counterparts has a significant impact on how they interact socially. However, the idea of whether the inclusion of students with disabilities in the classroom has more advantages or disadvantages has remained a debate, with various scholars trying to argue their stand on the issue.It is however clear that peer support is advantageous in the sense that it increases interaction for students with disabilities.
Peer support is a resource that is both moral and ethical, which needs much attention for the benefit of the students with disabilities.it helps in the devolvement of friendly interactions thereby preventing bullying and other antisocial crimes within the learning institutions (Hong & Espelage, 2012). The interaction morale of the students with disabilities is therefore boosted, and the learners get to associate with each other quickly and in a friendlier manner. The issue of equity, therefore, get to be addressed as everyone would feel a sense of belonging, drawing from the peer support that they receive. The interaction gets easier when everyone feels safe and protected, without fear of decimation and mistreatment. A student's confidence is not corrupted given the fact that their dignity is not compromised.
Additionally, peer support may increase interaction in cases where the learners have withdrawn and do not respond to the adult collaborative support and teaching, which comes from the teacher. The interaction, in this case, does not blur out, as the peer support may play the same role which would otherwise be performed by the adults. The students with disabilities tend to grasp some social skills necessary for their interaction within their peer cycle, as opposed to what they would have gained from the teachers or other adults for that matter. Adult reliant support may lead to isolation and may increase the dependency of students with a disability. The hovering of adults around the students with a disability, as opposed to their peers, may alter the student's chance to adapt and to interact with the others especially the other students in their surroundings.
There is an increased rate of acceptance of individual differences drawn from peer support. Individuals get to contemplate the fact that everyone is essential in their capacities and therefore they do not have any reason for failing to interact with others. The fact that the disabled students feel appreciated give them the strength to overcome their fears and the obstacles which may hinder their confidence as they struggle to interact with the others in the different setups. One learns not to judge the other based on their disabilities but get to understand the fact that appreciating the other person's abilities is important. The assistance accorded by the peers, therefore, acts as a step for personal acceptance and appreciation, thereby boosting one's confidence before themselves and the others. Interaction of the people with a disability finds its basis in peer support, therefore, as the peers understand each other as opposed to the non-peers.
The flexibility which comes about when a student with a disability gets to assist their peers positively realigns their view of the world and the people around them. They get to develop those traits which enable them to co-exist with the others without much straining. Their ability to interact with people in their surroundings is therefore not jeopardized (Alquraini & Gut, 2012. The fact that these students can support each other in different ways instill in them some form of resilience and the ability to adapt to different people with different attitudes. Alongside the flexibility, peer support comes with it, some respect for self and others. The students with disability get to understand and to respect others with their differences. The patience that comes about with the support for each other is essential in the sense that increases the rate of interaction between the disabled students as wells as the interaction between those students and the parents or teachers.
In conclusion, it is right to note that peer support increases to a great extent, the interaction of students with disability.as opposed to the support offered to these students with by the adults including the teachers and the parents, peer support has proved to be beneficial and effective in ensuring that the students can freely and comfortably interact. Their level of confidence is enhancing as they get to appreciate oneself and others. The fact that peer support holds with it both ethical and moral values, the disabled students with the support have their confidence boosted as they feel appreciated as well. Peer support, therefore, increases interaction for children with disability.
What strategies can be put in place to enhance peer support in students with a disability?
How does peer support enhance interaction for students with the disability?
Alquraini, T., & Gut, D. (2012). Critical components of successful inclusion of students with severe disabilities: Literature review. International Journal of Special Education, 27(1), 42-59.
Hong, J. S., & Espelage, D. L. (2012). A review of research on bullying and peer victimization in school: An ecological system analysis. Aggression and violent behavior, 17(4), 311-322.
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