News from LINC, Inc.

Peer Providers – How Your Experience Helps

   Living, learning and working with a disability can be challenging. Sometimes, the best person to understand what you’re going through might be someone who’s also been there. A peer provider is someone who draws on their own lived experience of disability, along with professional training and support, and they provide services like coaching to people with the same type of disability.

   According to recent studies, peer providers are a rapidly growing part of the workforce that supports people with disabilities and chronic conditions. They are a familiar sight in substance use disorder programs like AA. They can be paid or volunteer and may have a title with something like support specialist in the name.

   Centers for Independent Living have utilized peer providers for years. They self-identify as a person with a disability, either generally or with a specific condition. Being a peer provider can be both rewarding and challenging. It’s rewarding in seeing your peers learn, grow and do well. It can be challenging to maintain that professional relationship.  Our local CIL provides leadership skills training and technical assistance to a variety of consumers. It’s all about self-empowerment and self-advocacy through this peer engagement. And with a statewide network, there’s a chance we can provide a peer support program for any type of disability.

   Some of the newer areas to find peer support is Opioid misuse and addiction. There are a lot of people with disabilities that also live with opioid use disorjders. Another area is integrated community living with students with intellectual disabilities attending post secondary programs at universities. This model matches peer mentors and students participating in an off-campus community setting.
   A group that can directly benefit from peer providers is transitioning youth with disabilities. It helps to have a mentor with a similar disability who has been there/done that provide support.
   An area that has always benefitted from peer providers is spinal cord injury. A former patient who has successfully returned to an active and productive life after injury is matched to a newly injured patient.

   Another group to benefit from peer providers are parents empowering other parents who have children with disabilities. This network of support groups help parents cope and understand the new ‘normal’ they are living.

   If you are interested in becoming a peer provider, contact your local Center for Independent Living. The contact information is listed at the end of the newsletter.

LINC has three offices to serve you.

1182 Eastland Drive North
Suite C
Twin Falls ID 83301
(208) 733-1712 VOICE
(208) 733-7711 TDD

1878 West Overland Road
Boise ID 83705
(208) 336-3335 VOICE
(208) 336-3335 TDD
(208) 384-5037 FAX

703 S. Kimball Ave
Caldwell ID 83605
(208) 454-5511 VOICE
(208) 454-5511 TDD
(208) 454-5515 FAX