Peer support involves a person or a group of people with disabilities sharing similar experiences which can ultimately empower an individual to live as independently as possible.
At Disability Options Network, our peer support program is broken down into two formats. The first of which is one-on-one support. DON is working hard to improve and increase our one-on-one peer mentoring program. Each pair is someone with a disability helping someone else with a disability. The mentor is someone that has an understanding of what it is to live independently and is doing so to the best of their ability. We match individuals based on similar experience. A mentor is not a professional counselor; they share how they overcame life’s obstacles and encourage the mentee to reach for their goals. Our biggest need is finding people that are qualified to be mentors and having them join us!
The second format is our peer support group. This is a group of people with any type of disability gathering once a month to build relationships, share experiences and understanding of each other. This encourages members to have a better understanding of what others with different disabilities experience and allows the members to build stronger relationships. DON plans to expand this program into more specialized groups to reach a larger number of people.