A great article from Atlanta advocate Ira Eidle about how programs meant to help disabled students often backfire and completely miss the point.
[Image description: A support worker walking a wheelchair user across the street. Someone on the street tells the support worker, “you’re doing God’s work!”. The person in the wheelchair asks “can we go by the strip club?” and the support worker answers, “sure!”.]
A very common thing that is done in local communities is a kind of program that groups disabled people with non-disabled peers in order to bridge the gap that is often between them. These programs fall under a variety of different names, but they could all classify as Peer Buddy programs. There are several grassroots and student-led organizations that use the Peer Buddy model. Most notably, there is Best Buddies, an organization started by Anthony Shriver, a member of the Kennedy family. I’m not sure if Best Buddies was the first Peer Buddy organization in America, but many groups small and large have used the same model…
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