Fabulous article from Wall Street Journal: Training Program Helps Students with Autism Land Jobs

“Schools are typically tasked with ferreting out what students can’t do and teaching them how to do it. But for students with autism, perhaps the focus should be on what they can do.” Carolyn T. Geer, Wall Street Journal


True or False? Paraprofessionals may provide instructional support on an IEP.

The answer is TRUE. And for many children who receive special education, instructional support from a paraprofessional can be an integral component to a student’s progress.  On the flip side, we sometimes see paraprofessionals delivering services that they shouldn’t be.

Take a look at your child’s IEP service grid (on page 11 in Connecticut). Do you see ‘para’ in the ‘service implementer’ column? Here are some facts and tips to help you determine if paraprofessional support is being properly used in your child’s program.

1)      Paraprofessionals may provide instructional support. They should not introducing to students new skills, concepts, or academic content.

2)      Paraprofessionals who lack appropriate training may not directly provide special education services.

3)      Appropriately trained paraprofessionals may assist in the provision of special education services only if certified special education personnel supervise them.

4)      If a paraprofessional is providing instructional support, you can ask that those hours, and the hours that your student receives instruction from his special education teacher, be documented on the service grid (in the ‘description of instructional service delivery’ column, in Connecticut).

Read your state’s guidelines on paraprofessional training to learn more about how they should be trained and supervised. Here are the links to related documents in Connecticut:

Everything you wanted to know about paraprofessional support but were afraid to ask!


The IEP Manual (see pages 22 – 27)


From the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity….5 Steps That Parents Can Take

“The five-year-old who can’t quite learn his letters becomes the six-year-old who can’t match sounds to letters and the fourteen-year-old who dreads reading out loud and the twenty-one-year-old who reads excruciatingly slowly.  The threads persist throughout a person’s life.  But, with early intervention, this scenario doesn’t need to happen.”


Executive Functions 101, from the National Center for Learning Disabilities

This e-book is a must-read. Quick, easy-to-understand overview of how executive functions impact children academically, socially, and behaviorally. Check out the section that graphically illustrates a day in the life of a sixth grader with executive functions challenges.


If your child receives social skills support at school, this article is a must-read!

There is empirical evidence to suggest the effectiveness of peer mentors in social skills programs. Chris Abildgaard, Director of the Social Learning Center, shares tips for setting up a peer mentor program in a school setting, and sites the research to back it up. Pass this one along to your child’s school to start a conversation.