Peer tutoring programs represent a viable means of improving the curricular and social interaction skills of students with autism (Odom et al., 1999). Research reveals that the teaching of specific tutoring strategies facilitates interaction between children with autism and their socially competent peers.
Educators use evidenced-based practices with students identified with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to promote the optimal development, learning, achievement, employment, and well being of these students and to support their families. Evidenced based practices are also used because IDEIA (2004) requires the use of scientific, evidence-based practices for children and youth with disabilities. Peer Mediated Instruction has been recognized as an evidenced based practice by the National Professional Development Center on Autism Disor- ders and the National Autism Center. To implement peer-mediated instruction, socially competent peers learn to use effective teaching techniques and positive reinforcement to teach academic subjects to classmates with autism.
Peer tutoring programs represent a viable means of improving the curricular and social interaction skills of students with autism (Odom et al., 1999). Research reveals that the teaching of specific tutoring strategies facilitates interaction between children with autism and their socially competent peers. Studies indicate that effects of social initiation intervention are immediately evident and substantial (Odom, McConnell, McEvoy, Peterson, Ostrosky, Chandler, et al., 1999).
Peer Mediated Sessions
Sessions should be scheduled a minimum of 3 days per week for approximately 30-minute time periods. Ses- sions should be structured to include both instruction and free play. Free-play sessions generally occur following instruction, thereby providing the tutee with an opportunity to practice social interaction skills.
A typical peer mediated session involves the following activities:
1. The peer tutors arrive and greet the tutees.
2. The tutors go to the materials area and gather content items.
3. The tutors and tutees sit at the tutees’ desks and begin academic tutoring.
4. The teacher moves among pairs, providing feedback or assistance as needed.
5. The tutors collect data on tutees’ performance (approximately 5 minutes per student, at least once per week).
6. At the end of approximately 20 minutes, the teacher announces time for free play.
7. The tutors return the academic materials and choose a play activity.
8. The tutors engage in social activity at the tutees’ desks or a designated play area.
9. At the end of approximately 10 minutes of free play, the teacher announces that it is time for the tutors to return to their classes.
10. The tutors and students with autism say good-bye. (Teacher Vision, 2010)
The teacher’s role during tutoring and free-play sessions is to monitor each pair, provide feedback to tutors, reinforce desired behaviors, and collect tutoring data. Periodically, the teacher will need to review procedures with peer tutors, organize new academic tasks, or deal with specific behavior issues.
For more information on peer mediated instruction, go to: Autism Internet Modules – Click on Modules List. Sign-up is free! Brief on Peer Mediated Instruction
Odom, S. L., McConnell, S. R., McEvoy, M. A., Peterson, C., Ostrosky, M., Chandler, L. K., Spicuzza, R. J., Skellenger, A., Creighton, M., & Favazza, P. C. (1999). Relative effects of interventions supporting the social competence of young children with disabilities. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 19(2), 75-91.
Teacher Vision. (undefined). Teacher Vision. In undefined. Retrieved from (broken link) http://www.teachervision.fen.com/autism/teaching-methods/8202.html.