Peer Counseling

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Watch how to sign ‘counseling’ in American Sign Language

Two people in smiling discussion, supporting one another through face-to-face conversation

Often individuals, who are adjusting to life with a disability, need the benefit of talking to, and learning from, others with similar experiences. Peer to peer support is the heart of the Independent Living Movement and the philosophy of the Dayle McIntosh Center (DMC). For this reason, a majority of the employees of the center have disabilities and all engage in the provision of peer support. 

Danyelle and Socorro standing outside and facing each other as they talk. Both have pleasant smiles and are holding a white cane

What is Cross-Disability Peer Support?

Peer support is a form of mentoring that takes place between a person, who has successfully adjusted to their disability and someone, who has a newly acquired disability, or who is struggling with disability-related issues. 

Peer support offers people the opportunity to learn from others, who have established an independent lifestyle. The goal of such interaction is to promote self-confidence, enhance social skills, and introduce adaptive daily living techniques.

Who is Eligible for Peer Support?

Anyone is eligible to receive peer support assistance through DMC. While most people who are provided this service are consumers, many individuals contact the center, because they simply need “to talk to someone like them.”

If you are interested in joining a Cross-Disability Peer Support group, please complete Cross-Disability Peer Support Referral Form or call 714.621.3300.

Who can Make a Referral?

  • Self- referral – individuals seeking support with new or existing disability.
  • Health care personnel, case managers from other organizations, educators, friends, family members, and service providers can also refer individuals for peer support services.

How Peer Support Occurs?

Peer support 3 men with disabilities talking on grass

Typically, peer support is provided by DMC in three ways:

  • Initial connection/Information and Referral – DMC service providers may determine that the individual seeking services might benefit from advice and support from others with similar disabilities. At this point, DMC team members may share first-hand knowledge and experience relevant to specific situations or they may connect callers with other team members, who can offer appropriate input.
  • One-on-one peer support- Similarly, people who become consumers in various programs at DMC, may receive peer support through service coordinators with disabilities with whom they are receiving services through.
  • Peer support groups- These support groups are coordinated by the Dayle McIntosh Center. In group settings, individuals come together to discuss disability-related topics and to share issues and concerns. A peer support group may be targeted to individuals with a certain disability, individuals in a specific age range, from a particular ethnicity, or geographic area, or individuals from a designated program, such as Aging with Vision Loss. Other peer support groups are cross-disability in nature and have no restrictions.  Peer support groups meet through zoom or phone and set their own limitations or may continue indefinitely.

For our updated peer support group list please click HERE

Comforting hands are providing reassurance of care in DMC Peer Support

Program Success Story

A 39-year old man contacted DMC upon learning that he had type 2 diabetes. He was devastated and fearful that he would lose his vision and eventually have to have an amputation. The man was linked with a staff member, who also had diabetes. The two began to talk. They discussed the man’s fears and the staff person gave him advice about ways he could control his diabetes and minimize the risk of such side effects. As the man began to apply these techniques, he shared his progress with his mentor. After a few months, the man was volunteering at a diabetes education program and helping others adjust to the disease.     

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