What parents should ask school districts to consider in utilization of paraeducators who help their children.
Parents of students requiring paraeducator support should request that the schools:
- Provide training to the paraeducators which includes (and is not to limited) to the knowledge of disabilities; techniques for positive behavior intervention, communication strategies for interacting with other team members including parents , health issues; and approaches that encourage independence for the child.
- Ensure appropriate supervision of the paraeducator by a certified school professional.
- Include the paraeducator’s input in the child’s IEP meetings.
- Clearly determine the paraeducator’s roles and responsibilities. Specify that the teacher is the child’s primary instructor who is assisted by the paraeducator.
The Special Education Paraeducator Support Checklist is a useful tool that addresses important issues concerning the use of paraeducators. Parents may share this tool with school personnel prior to or during a special education IEP meeting and use it to make informed decisions about effective paraeducator support.