Peer mediated intervention


​​What is it?

Peer Mediated Intervention (peer training) is where peers e.g. classmates, are taught how to support student learning. This can include:

  • the peer modelling appropriate behaviours or skills, e.g. initiating a social interaction.
  • prompting the student e.g. 'What do you do next?', 'What materials do you need?', 'Where are they?'
  • reinforcing appropriate behaviours e.g. 'That was a great question you asked about the solar system. It really helped me.'

Students sometimes find it easier to learn strategies from their peers.

How do I use it?

Steps in peer mediated interventions include:

  1. Determine the target skill or behaviour to be taught.
    • For example 'During lunch time, Anna will take turns during a small group game.'
    • This must be a specific, observable skill. General descriptions like 'be involved in groups' are not specific enough.
  2. Select the peers to participate.
    • The number of peers can vary from one peer to a small group (4-6). Avoid using the whole class as peer trainers as this can stigmatise the student.
    • Peers should be able to demonstrate the skills to be taught, be willing to participate, attend school regularly, and be liked by the student.
  3. Training the peer.
    • Conduct sessions in a quiet distraction free area.
    • Explain how we can learn from each other. Provide examples from the classroom to support this point e.g. 'during show and tell Tom taught us about turtles.'
    • Explain to the peer they are going to help the student learn a skill e.g. how to go up to a classmate and start a conversation.
    • Teach the peer. This can include using scripts, teacher modelling, visual aids, reinforcement, verbal explanation.
    • Role play where the peer and teacher act out a situation.
    • Provide the peer with opportunities to practice until he/she feels confidant to implement the strategy.
  4. Implementing in the classroom/school setting.
    • Identify opportunities for the peer training to take place each day e.g. break time, free class time.
    • Provide the peer time to implement the strategy e.g. 15 minutes.
  5. Supporting peers.
    • Observe the peer implementing the strategy.
    • Provide feedback to the peer. Ask the peer
      • What went well? Provide Behaviour specific praise.
      • What was difficult? Discuss reasons why this may have been difficult.
      • What could you do differently, next time? Discuss with the peer possible options.
  6. Evaluate progress. As the student begins to demonstrate the learning the peer mediated intervention can be reduced.

Age group

Peer mediated interventions can be used with the following age groups.

High schoolYes

Where can I learn more?

  • AFIRM provides modules on evidence-based practices. You can complete the certificate pathway which includes an assessment of learning, or the non-certificate pathway. The modules are free.
  • Autism Internet Modules provide a way of learning online. You need to set up an account to access the modules. The modules are free. Peer mediated intervention is one of the intervention strategies available as a module.
Last updated 25 January 2022