The term mentoring describes a supportive, dynamic, and reciprocal learning relationship based in a mutual desire to foster personal or professional potential, growth, and development. Mentoring can take myriad forms, many of which have been found to benefit individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD). This entry describes the history of mentoring for individuals with ID/DD, forms of mentoring, and skills developed through mentoring.

Development of Mentoring and Mentoring Programs

The idea of mentoring can be traced back to Homer’s Odyssey, written in 8th century BCE. In the Odyssey, the main character, Odysseus, leaves his son in the care of his wise and trusted friend Mentor who teaches and guides the son to manhood. As in Homer’s Odyssey, much of the historical writings on mentoring focus on ...

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