Understanding how the LINKS Peer-to-Peer Program helps to change attitudes toward students with disabilities

Marisa Fisher, Assistant Professor; Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education

Many Michigan public high schools participate in a program called LINKS Peer-to-Peer, in which students without disabilities are paired with students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other disabilities to help support these students in general education classrooms. In this study, “Exploring the LINKS Experience in High School,” focus groups are conducted with students who serve as peers to those with ASD. The goal of this project is to acquire a better understanding what it's like to serve as a peer support for students with ASD.

Student participants without disabilities are interviewed to uncover what motivated them to join the program and learn about their Peer-to-Peer experiences. The questions focus on:

  • Attitudes toward individuals with ASD and other disabilities
  • Experiences they’ve had with students with ASD and other disabilities in the classroom
  • Negative interactions they may have witnessed between students with ASD and other disabilities
  • Benefits they have experienced through being in the Peer-to-Peer Program

This research will help us to understand how the Peer-to-Peer Program changes attitudes toward students with disabilities and gain insight into victimization toward students with disabilities, as witnessed by their typically developing peers.

Principal Investigators

  1. Marisa Fisher, Assistant Professor, Special Education, MSU