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Why Mentees Feel Socially Supported from Peer Mentorship
Compare and Contrast Essay: Peer Mentors
Lucas and James (2018) evaluate the effect of specialist mentoring on college students with autism and other mental health conditions and found that mentees receive academic, social and emotional support from their mentors. However, the researchers also observed group differences between those with autism and those with other mental health issues. What makes a relationship between mentor and mentee work best according to the findings of Lucas and James (2018) is when the relationship is customized to fit the needs of the mentee: tailored relationships that focus on developing a personal relationship, empowering the mentee and constructing a “bridge” that enables the mentee to become more involved in the university experience were all seen as significant and powerful ways for the mentee to benefit from peer mentoring. The researchers also concluded the mentors benefited from peer mentorship as well in terms of having greater sense of satisfaction and community life.
The study by Ashbaugh, Koegel and Koegel (2017) reported a similar beneficial effect upon students with autism when those students were paired with a mentor. Their study was different, however, in terms of the intervention utilized. Whereas Lucas and James (2018) looked directly the impact of peer mentorship upon students with autism and other mental health challenges, Ashbaugh et al. (2017) looked at a social planning intervention and its effect upon autistic students in terms of their ability to become more engaged socially on campus. Part of the intervention included the use of peer mentors who provided social and academic support for the autistic participants. Asbaugh et al. (2017) reported that the intervention helped the students to become more socially engaged on campus and it also helped to improve their academic performance in the classroom. There was a combined effect between the social support intervention and the use of peer mentoring that helped the students reach their potential as fully engaged students on campus, capable of overcoming the challenges posed by their autism. Their study was more qualitative than quantitative, whereas the study by Lucas and James (2018) used a mixed-methods approach, but both essentially arrived at the same conclusion: peer mentorship has a positive and beneficial effect on college students with autism.
The study by Colclough (2018) focuses on recognizing the diversity among students with autism at the university level. The researcher begins by noting that there is a gap in terms of understanding the diverse experiences and range of ability among students with autism embarking on their undergraduate education. One important point that the researcher does note, however, is that 80% of students with autism at the college level attend a community college. This is important for consideration because it differs significantly from non-autism student statistics and it implies that autistic students are much less likely to go away for school than are students who have autism. The study was qualitative in design and used semi-structured interviews to obtain data on the feelings of the autistic students towards their level of social engagement when going to school. The study was more exploratory than the study by Ashbaugh et al. (2017) or the study by Lucas and James (2018), both of which were more evaluative. The study by Colclough (2018), however, was focused on diving more deeply into the issue of socialization and autistic students. Unlike the other two studies by Ashbaugh et al. (2017) and Lucas and James (2018), which focused directly or at least indirectly on peer mentoring and its impact on autistic students, the study by Colclough (2018) did not look at peer mentoring’s impact on the socialization of autistic students at university. The researcher mentioned peer mentoring as one factor in the process of socialization, but the aim of the research was more focused on understanding more deeply the experiences of autistic students at the collegiate level. The researchers concluded, nonetheless, that there is an opportunity to assist this population…
…found to improve the GPA of autistic students over the course of two semesters and it also helped to decrease the number of behavioral problems that this population encountered on campus. The participants in the program reported a high level of satisfaction with it and the intervention overall resembled the intervention of Ashbaugh et al. (2017) and Lucas and James (2018). The researchers found that by giving special attention to autistic students who have unique social and academic needs, colleges can provide the support that this population requires. Peer mentoring served as the foundational model for the intervention, and the conclusion of the researchers is that peer mentoring is essential at least in terms of the intervention having that mentor spirit. If autistic students are going to transition well from secondary education to undergraduate education then they better have the necessary support network, and mentoring can be one of the pillars of that network, according to Rando et al. (2016).
These six studies showed overall that peer mentoring is a helpful intervention for autistic students. Though not every study focused specifically on peer mentoring, the majority of them did at least touch upon it in some way. Those that focused on it explicitly all supported and corroborated one another. There were no negative findings in connection with peer mentoring, whether for the mentee or the mentor. However, one study did show that the degree to which personal relationships are fostered will play a difference in the extent to which the intervention is as beneficial as it could be. The general consensus is that autistic students need social and academic support from mentors and they could also use sensory and psychological support from the university. If they could also be permitted to tailor their own classes then they would be the most fulfilled student population on campus, and it would likely cause other student populations to push for the same, so it is worth considering whether universities should seek to satisfy to the fullest their…
Ashbaugh, K., Koegel, R. L., & Koegel, L. K. (2017). Increasing social integration for college students with autism spectrum disorder. Behavioral Development Bulletin, 22(1), 183.
Beltman, S., Helker, K., & Fischer, S. (2019). ‘I really enjoy it’: emotional engagement of university peer mentors. International Journal of Emotional Education, 11(2), 50-70.
Colclough PhD, M. N. (2018). Exploring Student Diversity: College Students Who Have Autism Spectrum Disorders. Inquiry: The Journal of the Virginia Community Colleges, 21(1), 5.
Lucas, R., & James, A. I. (2018). An evaluation of specialist mentoring for university students with autism spectrum disorders and mental health conditions. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48(3), 694-707.
Rando, H., Huber, M. J., & Oswald, G. R. (2016). An Academic Coaching Model Intervention for College Students on the Autism Spectrum. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 29(3), 257-262.
Sarrett, J. C. (2018). Autism and accommodations in higher education: Insights from the autism community. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48(3), 679-693.
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