An international program is being set up in one school to provide Best Buddies for intellectually challenged students.
Best Buddies is a program that is present throughout the world, designed to help students with intellectual disabilities develop social skills. It works by assigning each challenged student with a general education student. The challenged students are referred to as “peers” and the general education students are called “peer buddies”.
Special education teacher Melissa Diekelmann is enthusiastic about the program and wants to introduce it to Griffith middle and high schools in Indiana this fall. She says that students get “joy and happiness” from participation. The goal is to have special education students form at least one friendship with a general education student, and encourage them to mingle more with the rest of the students during social times, such as lunch in the cafeteria.
In addition to the peers and peer buddies, other general education students are associate members, who help indirectly.