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Typical developing peer models-definition?

  • 1.  Typical developing peer models-definition?

    Posted 05-15-2018 05:09 PM

    Most of us agree that a peer model is a child without a disability who displays typical development and behavior in the classroom setting. A peer model enhances the education of special needs students by being a helper, a leader, and a friend.  Peer models help special needs students reach their learning goals through play and social interaction,  Peers also model typical school behaviors, such as sharing, turn taking, and participation.
    Q: While working in a 50/50 inclusive setting, this past year has been a challenge. Our school district is diverse and we have many students who are non-English speaking among students and other children who are now identified as peer models since they didn't qualify for special ed services? Many (not all)  of these students are becoming more of a challenge with their refusals, inappropriate behaviors, and we remain with a bare minimum staffing ratio;  seems like at times we are self-contained units. Is there anywhere in the Federal policies that give a clear definition of what a typically developing peer should look like? I am not giving time to the students that I need to service? Is this happening anywhere else? What are you doing if you are also experiencing these issues?
    Your direction greatly appreciated!

    Penny Olmstead
    Pickerington OH

  • 2.  RE: Typical developing peer models-definition?

    Posted 05-16-2018 02:12 PM
    I think you highlight a difficult problem that occurs in an inclusion classroom. It might be the ratios. My grandson was in a classroom with 40% special needs and 60% considered "typical", but there was a minimum of 3 adults in the room: a special education teacher, a regular education teacher, and at least one assistant teacher (paraprofessional). As for a definition of what is typical development, there is really none of which I am aware, which states this is what typical development is. You can use NAEYC's DAP book that describes typical development characteristics at different ages in each domain.

    On the other hand, It is hard to offer guidance on your problem. You would need to describe more fully what is going on in your classroom, such as the schedule, how many adults are working alongside you, and how you manage the children - the language you use in the classroom.

    I wish you good luck. I hear your struggle.

    Nora Krieger
    Associate Professor Emerita/ Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/ New Jersey Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park NJ