Adults also can enlist peers to help children reach goals and participate fully in the classroom, home, or community. Families and practitioners can encourage peers to invite the child to join an activity, help the child complete a task, show the child a new skill, and respond to the child appropriately.
Watch the videos and look for the ways adults encourage peer support to promote participation.
A classmate, Ava, is paired with Luke to introduce him to a new activity in water play. With the prompting of the teacher, Ava takes Luke’s hand and leads him through the sprinkler. Ava was chosen for this peer support strategy as she is a gentle, easy going classmate and she and Luke get along well (running time: 1 min. 13 sec.).
This video shows Luke a 3 year old boy with language delays at school. His teacher is prompting a classmate to introduce Luke to a new water play activity.
Can you say, “Here, Luke, here’s the ducky.” Look, Luke.
Here’s the ducky.
Look, Luke. Look, Luke. Ava’s giving you the ducky. Say, “Thank you.” He said, “Thank you, Ava.”
Luke. Ava, come take Luke to the water. Can you take Luke to the water and walk through there? Tell Luke, “Come on, Luke.”
Come on, Luke.
Go with Ava. Walk him through the water, Ava, so he’ll get wet.
Do you like it, Luke? Want to do it again? Ava, do it again with him. Take him back through. Edward, watch out. Step back some, Edward.
Come back, Luke. You like it? Luke, You like it? You do?
Jack watches and imitates a classmate making motions during a song. He has the opportunity to play a game with a friend and to work on motor skills throughout the song. Watch how the teacher encourages and facilitates the interaction between these peers (running time: 1 min. 21 sec.).
This video shows a preschool teacher in a classroom encouraging a typically developing girl to sing and model hand movements for a boy with multiple disabilities.
Can you show him how to wash his hands? [singing] Wash, wash, wash your hands. Rub your hands together. Oh no. Let him try it. Let’s see if he does it. You show it to him, ok?
[singing] Wash, wash, wash your hands. Wash your hands together. Wash, wash, wash your hands. Wash your hands together. Oh he’s clapping
[singing] Clap, clap, clap your hands. Clap your hands together. Clap, clap, clap your hands. Clap your hands together. Yay!
Wave your hands. You wanna do that? That’s what Jack’s doing. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. Here you want to do this. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down.
A physical therapist is working on developing Jake’s motor skills, particularly his ability to roll, surrounded by a roomful of classmates. What could have been a pull-out, one-on-one therapy session was turned into a fun group activity where all children are participating and modeling his exercises (running time: 3 min. 25 sec.).
This segment shows physical therapy with a child with a fairly severe neurological impairment. I found in this 2-year-old classroom using the free-play time is a great opportunity to work on some of the floor skills that we’re working on. The child spends a good part of his day in adaptive equipment whether it’s in an adaptive positioning chair or a stander, but it’s important that he has some time to get out on the floor where he can move around the most easily.
So you can see how these young, rather rambunctious classmates can easily be encouraged to participate and how much they’re enjoying participating in Jake’s therapy time. Jake, at the same time, feels very much at home with his classmates there. He can hear their voices and hear his teachers’ voices. With his rolling, currently without some facilitation he’s just rolling pretty haphazardly, but one of his goals is to try and get him to roll towards either a familiar voice or a familiar toy making a recognizable sound.
We can do that or we can do our exercises. Exercises with the pillows. Riley, do you remember how you got a pillow yesterday? Wanna go get a pillow? Ok go get a pillow.
You’ll see that this child has a strong extensor thrust pattern, so one of the things that we work on consistently is to try and strengthen his neck and trunk flexors. And in addition to working on this during his therapy time, we have also taught the teachers to do the same up-up activity during diaper changing, or I should say after diaper changing, both to encourage use of the proper muscle pattern but also to try and recognize up-up as the cue that he is to do that pattern.
Why are you having trouble finding your pillow? Ok. Legs up. Legs up. That’s it. Legs up, Riley. Oh. Good job.
A sister leads and plays with her brother around a community park. Often the best peers to provide support are siblings (running time: 1 min. 19 sec.).
This video shows siblings playing in a community park. The older sister is assisting her preschool age brother in exploring the environment and using the equipment.
Come on. Come on. There we go. Come on. Come on. Hey!
Show Luke to the tree. Oh yes. Definitely. Help him up. Oh I love trees. Tree? Tree? Is that the tree? Yeah!