Structural Analysis to Inform Peer Support Arrangements for High School Students with Autism
Huber, Heartley Brownell
As the enrollment of students with autism in general education classrooms increases, the need for effective strategies to improve the quality of inclusive practices remains evident. This study examined peer support arrangements as an alternative to direct adult support for three high school students with autism. In addition, I explored structural analysis as a means of formative assessment to further refine each peer support arrangement to better meet the individual needs of students. Peer support arrangements were associated with increases in social interactions and academic engagement for all participants. In addition, structural analyses implemented in general education classrooms yielded findings used to further refine peer support arrangements. These findings strengthen support for peer support arrangements as a means of improving the inclusive experiences of high school students with autism and highlight the potential of structural analysis as a feasible and effective means of further refining these interventions. Based on these findings, I offer implications for practice and directions for future research.