Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. Special Education


Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education


College of Education

First Advisor

Shuff, Margaret

Second Advisor

Kuder, Sydney

Third Advisor

Accardo, Amy


Teenagers with disabilities; Physical education and training


Health and Physical Education | Special Education and Teaching


The purpose of this study was to observe the participation levels of students with disabilities in an adaptive physical education class with the addition of typically developing students in the class as Peer Buddies. The goal was to observe the students' participation levels prior to the introduction of the Peer Buddies then again after the introduction of the Peer Buddies. There were thirteen typically developing students who were the peer buddies and fourteen students with disabilities in the adaptive physical education class. The thirteen peer buddies took a survey before being introduced to the adaptive physical education class and a survey at the end of the twelve weeks the peer buddies were integrated in the class. The baseline test was completed in the beginning of the school year for twelve weeks as the participation levels were observed through class activities. Data was observed and taken on a weekly basis to graph the students' progression as peer buddies level of involvement increased each class period. The observation period after the integration of the peer buddies was also twelve weeks long.

The results indicate that participation levels did increase overall with the peer buddies being actively involved. Through the observation during the class periods, it was evident that the students with disabilities were more engaged and eager to participate in class activities when the peer buddies were presently participating in the activity with them. The students with disabilities not only gained increased participation but also a social benefit, friendships, and confidence from this experience. The peer buddies also gained an understanding of students with disabilities and an increased level of respect for those students.