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Volume 40 | Issue 4 | Winter 2014

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Volume 40 | Issue 4 | Winter 2014 | Peer Supports, Friendship, and Social Capital

The last TASH Connections that was devoted to the promotion of social relationships and natural supports for individuals with significant disabilities was published in the winter of 2011. In that edition, the importance of social relationships and natural supports were discussed as some of the many mechanisms that help to generate truly inclusive lives for individuals with significant disabilities. As the series of articles highlighted, social relationships and supports are key for the academic success of all individuals, regardless of their abilities, yet are typically not the area of focus for educators who teach students with significant disabilities. The development and maintenance of social networks that sustain over time may not be considered a high priority within school settings, despite what we know about effective facilitation strategies, as well as personal narratives that describe what is perceived to be successful and meaningful. Interventions such as peer support arrangements, peer partners, and specific social skills instruction can increase the amount of social opportunities and account for higher quality interactions, which may lead to the development of friendships (Carter, Sisco, Chung & Stanton-Chapman, 2010; Hughes et al., 2012; Rosetti & Goessling, 2010). In addition, important perspectives regarding these facilitation efforts have helped to inform and provide insight to researchers, educators, and families on how to ensure that the voices of individuals with disabilities are included as new strategies emerge (Van der Klift & Kunc, 1994; Fialka–Feldman & Cherup, 2011). This issue continues the discussion from four years ago, providing updated information on research, practice and perspectives that is aligned with the values and national agenda items that TASH promotes. 



  • Jamie Burke, Peer Supports.
  • Erik Carter, Supporting Lasting Relationships Among Adolescents with Complex Support Needs and Their Peers.
  • April Regester & Erika L. Ayanaw, Missouri Peer Supports Project: A Schoolwide Example.
  • Matthew Robert Medina, My Friends.
  • April Regester & Jennifer Culver, Use of Peer Supports in Postsecondary Education Programs for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.