Peer Support for Intellectually Disabled People | Free Essay Example

Peer Support for Intellectually Disabled People

Words: 889
Topic: Sociology

Provision of support to people with intellectual disabilities is an important topic that could potentially improve the quality of life for many intellectually disabled people around the world. This paper aims to examine several articles that explore, among others, the role of peer support in the life of people with intellectual disabilities.

Perspectives of students with intellectual disabilities about their experiences with paraprofessional support (2005)

According to the authors of the article, it is normal for paraprofessionals working with people who have intellectual disabilities to be identified as their mother, friend, protector, or primary teacher (Broer, Doyle, & Giangreco, 2005, p. 415). This qualitative study involved conducting semi-structured interviews with 16 young adults with intellectual disabilities about their experiences with paraprofessionals according to their perception of them as one of these four options. The method was well-designed and accurately followed to ensure the lack of any significant bias in the results. The researchers addressed the possible difficulties in interviewing people with intellectual disabilities.

The interviews were taped, and a preliminary questionnaire was filled out by the participants to gain information about their background and condition. The findings explained the implications of perceiving paraprofessional supporters as one of the four categories. For instance, it was found that interpreting paraprofessional as a friend helped to decrease the feeling of isolation and contributed to shielding them from bullying in schools. Overall, the conclusions were consistent with the participants’ answers. Because the evaluation was based on the individual answers of the participants, it is difficult to confirm its subjectivity. The currency of the study is also an issue, as it interviewed the people who have finished high school several years ago, which might have interfered with their answers. Finally, the coverage of the study was adequate for the chosen topic, but a wider pool of participants would ensure a better authority of the study.

Reflections on social integration for people with intellectual disability: does interdependence have a role? (2009)

This paper provides a qualitative analysis of the notion of interdependence and its role in the provision of support to people with intellectual disabilities. The study uses literature review method followed by an exploration of the living arrangements of people with intellectual disabilities living in Milan and London, conducted with the use of semi-structured interviews. The author concludes that the interdependence of people with disabilities in their friend groups provides an opportunity to avoid self-esteem issues and ensures better social involvement.

However, the breakdown of findings was not provided, which makes it hard to estimate the accuracy of conclusions. The method of conducting the interviews was not described, so there is no evidence that the researchers addressed the potential difficulties in working with intellectually disabled people to minimize the bias. The literature reviewed in the first part of the article is outdated, which negatively affects the currency of the work. The coverage of the literature review is also limited; however, the interview study provides adequate coverage of the communities explored. Overall, this source manages to provide some exploration of the topic but fails to justify its method and conclusions, which undermines its authority.

Young people with intellectual disabilities attending mainstream and segregated schooling: perceived stigma, social comparison and future aspirations (2006)

This article argues for the effectiveness of mainstream schooling in promoting social inclusion of teenagers with intellectual disabilities. It provides a comparative study of a total of 62 individuals with intellectual disabilities, 28 of which attended mainstream schools and the rest received education in segregated schools. Both groups show the importance of peer groups in promoting social inclusion (Cooney, Jahoda, Gumley, & Knott, 2006, p. 433). However, the results of the segregated schooling group showed that having the support of peers with similar intellectual development difficulties promoted healthy self-esteem (Cooney et al., 2006, p. 433).

Mainstream school peer groups, on the other hand, were deemed threatening due to the possibility of negative social comparison (Cooney et al., 2006, p. 433). The method involved a careful examination of the participants to ensure that they answer to the specific criteria. The participants were then interviewed by a professional using various evaluation measures, such as the British Picture Vocabulary Scale (1997), Adapted Social Comparison Scale (1999), and so on. The measures used were not modern, which negatively affected the currency of the entire study. The conclusions drawn from the evaluations were accurate and objective with no logical gaps or bias involved. The study focused on a specific group of people who complied with the requirements (mild/moderate IDs, 15-17 years old, etc.), interviewing an adequate amount of people to ensure a fair comparison. Overall, the article provides a reliable analysis of the issues associated with socializing in education.

Conclusion: Ethical issues

There are quite a few ethical issues related to secondary research. One of the main concerns is the lack of consent of the subjects who participated in the primary study to be included in the secondary research. This applies both to qualitative and quantitative research since both types of research could contain identifying information about the subjects. One way to tackle this ethical issue would be for the researchers performing the study to ask the participants whether or not they would give consent for the data to be used in secondary research and to mention their consent or lack thereof in the article describing the research.


Broer, S. M., Doyle, M. B., & Giangreco, M. F. (2005). Perspectives of students with intellectual disabilities about their experiences with paraprofessional support. Exceptional Children, 71(4), 415-430. Web.

Carnaby, S. (2009). Reflections on social integration for people with intellectual disability: Does interdependence have a role? Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 23(3), 219-228. Web.

Cooney G., Jahoda, A., Gumley, A., & Knott, F. (2006). Young people with intellectual disabilities attending mainstream and segregated schooling: perceived stigma, social comparison and future aspirations. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 50(6), 432-444. Web.