Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Suzanna Morrison


Mentors -- education; Disabled Persons -- education; Students


Students with disabilities who attend college face many challenges with little support; and therefore are at a higher risk of preemptively dropping out of college (Mamiseishvili & Koch, 2011). Some of these challenges and barriers include but are not limited to roles and responsibilities of support staff and a greater demand for students’ self-reliance (Garrison-Wade, 2012). The Student Organization for Accessibility and Resources (SOAR) Program is a current peer mentorship program missioned to provide guidance and mentorship for college students with disabilities as they negotiate the complexities of transitioning and attending college (Morrison, personal communication, September 13, 2016). Peer mentorship programs, similar in nature to SOAR, have proven to influence higher academic achievement, improve student retention, and enhance general self-confidence, personal growth, self-empowerment and social integration of students with disabilities (Ward, Thomas, & Disch, 2014). Research with college students with disabilities who participated in a peer mentorship program indicated that college students with disabilities additionally demonstrated an increase in persistence and graduation rate (Garrison-Wade, 2012; Vaccaro, Daly-Cano, & Newman, 2015). However, there has been limited evidence regarding a document that provides structure and guidance to create and promote longevity of a peer mentorship program.

A policies and procedures manual was developed that will guide and govern the actions of college students and staff who wish to enact and utilize a peer mentorship based program with the goal of enabling college students with disabilities to attend and fulfill academic and social desires within the college realm. The primary objective of the policies and procedures manual is to provide successful and efficacious services for students with disabilities. A secondary objective is to provide a template for other student organizations to create a similar program to serve college students with disabilities throughout the country. This scholarly project will provide support for the development and facilitation of the current SOAR program.