Other Projects and Trainings

Natural Peer Supports

The purpose of this video training series is to provide school leaders, teachers, paraprofessionals, families and students information around Natural Peer Supports with the expertise of Dr. Erik Carter, Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. The five video sessions comprising this series addresses the essential information needed to develop the structures that promote inclusion, learning, and relationships between students with and without disabilities with special focus on students with complex instructional needs. Herein, Dr. Carter describes the evidence base and necessary components for developing an effective peer support program. The sessions are supported with video documentary of actual peer support programs occurring within Pennsylvania. Each session is designed to guide schools in identifying crucial elements to launch new or continue current efforts in implementing natural peer support programs.

To access the video training series, click on the following link: Starting Points and Possibilities

To access the videos, handouts and materials, click on the link for each.

  1. Rigor, Relevance and Relationships - Video 
  2. Important Elements Video  
  3. School-Wide Peer Partner Programs - Video 
  4. Peer Support Arrangements in Inclusive Classrooms (Part 1) - Video 
  5. Peer Support Arrangements in Inclusive Classrooms (Part 2) - Video 

Additional Resources and References:

  • Peer Buddy Programs for Successful Secondary School Inclusion By Carolyn Hughes, Ph.D., & Erik W. Carter, Ph.D. To help with every phase of program implementation, readers will get a wealth of practical, research-based materials: extensive case examples, program checklists, suggested classroom adaptations, sample forms such as peer buddy applications and evaluation tools, and learning activities school staff can use to brainstorm and solve problems.

  • Peer Support Strategies for Improving All Students’ Social Lives and Learning By Erik W. Carter, Ph.D., Lisa S. Cushing, Ph.D., & Craig H. Kennedy, Ph.D. A complete, start-to-finish guide to peer supports, this book is packed with reproducible planning, implementation, and evaluation tools; evidence-based strategies; and vignettes that illustrate successful peer supports.

  • Carter, E. W., Sisco, L. G., Melekoglu, M. A., & Kurkowski, C. (2007). Peer supports as an alternative to individually assigned paraprofessionals in inclusive high school classrooms. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 32(4), 1-15.

  • Carter, E. and Kennedy, C. (2006). Promoting Access to the General Curriculum Using Peer Support Strategies . Research & Practices for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 31(4), 284-292.

More information on creative and promising approaches for supporting youth with disabilities to participate more fully and naturally in school, work, and community activities can be found at:

For further information about the Natural Peer Supports series, please contact: Christine Moon at cmoon@pattan.net or (412) 826-6870.