Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education-Instruction and Curriculum: Educational Differentiation (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education

First Advisor

Kelly Margot

Academic Year



Due to the level of support needed to become successful, students with moderate to severe disabilities may be placed in a center-based program separate from their typically developed peers. In this placement, students with disabilities, who often have deficits in the areas of communication and social interaction, have little to no access to their peers without disabilities. Therefore, developing and implementing a program that encourages both access to same-age peers and opportunities to improve social interaction skills would be ideal. One of the best ways to provide strategies for these opportunities is through peer-mediated instruction, specifically peer mentorship. The goals are to educate teachers, staff, and families regarding the benefits of peer interactions between students with and without disabilities and to develop a peer mentoring program for students at a center-based school and their peers throughout the local school district to participate in non-academic tasks and activities together. Research suggests participation in such a program would spark new relationships, skills, and personal growth; provide change in structure and opportunities for inclusion; and increase a sense of community and belonging.