What Is Peer To Peer Family Support?
Many people benefit and enjoy hearing and learning from others who have experienced similar journeys, struggles, and situations. There is an instant connection, sense of trust, and value in sharing stories and insights that have been gained from “walking the walk.” By connecting families to other families and groups that can highlight and encourage those connections, transition teams help the families gain confidence, information, and the skills to better support their home life and the transition planning. Peer to peer family support offers welcoming, culturally diverse, understandable communications through a variety of means for families to connect, grow, and help their students identify, write, and achieve transition goals. Here are some considerations teams can make to help connect families:
- What family agencies, organizations, or individual contacts can the transition team share with a family for peer to peer family support?
- What obstacles are preventing families from accessing and growing connections with peer to peer family support? How can those barriers be overcome?
- What can a transition team start, encourage, and build to be able to connect families to peer to peer support within their community?
- How is a transition team offering family leadership opportunities and outlets for family voice in peer to peer family support?
- What are the benefits of peer to peer family support for the family? For the student? For the team?
What Does Peer To Peer Family Support Include?
A transition team can help families find peer to peer family support by…
- Connecting families to other families and creating opportunities to learn tips and strategies about supporting the transition process
- Engaging families to share their knowledge with other families and creating networks of reciprocal communication
- Creating and introducing families to opportunities like local task forces, support groups, and conferences where families can get connected to other families
- Assessing barriers to peer to peer family support and striving to reduce those obstacles while building family leadership roles
- Communicating resources in a family friendly format through a variety of means
- Providing assistance for families to connect with family organizations from outside the school for resources, supports, and learning
What Can Peer To Peer Family Support Offer?
When a transition team encourages peer to peer family support, it will provide the family with:
Peer to peer family support naturally revolves around the family’s needs and wants for the future and provides information in a family friendly format through a variety of means.
Reciprocal sharing between families builds confidence, adds support, and enables families to ask questions, build each other up, and create leadership opportunities throughout the process.
Peer to peer family support creates family advocacy skills, practice, and meaningful contacts so families can grow and learn to speak up for themselves.
Families experience positive, trusting, culturally diverse, and welcoming relationships with their peers in a supportive environment.
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PA Family Network
The PA Family Network was created under the leadership of Vision for Equality and is supported by the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) as part of Pennsylvania’s Community of Practice: Supporting Families Throughout the Lifespan.