“By leveraging the capabilities of mobile devices, teachers can support their students in creating a personalized learning environment with the least number of barriers.”
“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
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)
For all students. Not just students with disabilities. Read this article from Edutopia to learn more.
“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.”
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.
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.