Consultation and Collaboration

Promoting cultural and disability awareness in the classroom

Advantages and Disadvantages of Consultation and Collaboration in an Instructional Environment

There are many advantages and even many disadvantages of collaborative teaching. Most teachers prefer to use the term collaboration because they prefer to work on the issues themselves.

Some advantages are:

  • Better able to meet the needs of students.
  • Helps the general education teacher better understand how to help students with disabilities
  • Has benefits for the general education students as well

Some disadvantages are:

  • Not enough time to prepare the lesson
  • Can overload the special education teacher and the general education teacher can be under trained
  • Unrealistic expectations for the students successful change and social acceptance.

Parents and Nonprofessional Staff Members Contribute to Student Success

Parents are the one that knows their children the best and the teachers know the curriculum. When parents and teachers collaborate together children will be a success not only in school but developing friendships and future work environments. Parent that support their children in school activities make a positive impact on their children environment. Ways that parents can support their children in school are:

  • Parents that read with their children will increase their reading skills.

  • Parents that volunteer at their child’s school or classroom shows the child that education is important.

  • Parents that get to know their child’s teacher and principals by attending school meetings and parent-teacher conferences.

Processes for Transitioning to Various Settings.

The process for transitioning students in the special education system varies from student to student, since no two students are the same and don't have the same disabilities. Some methods to prepare a student for life after school include:

  • education and job training for jobs such as a nursing assistant or preparing them to attend college.
  • employment such as preparing them with job skills such as counting money to work with a register and other job skills.
  • independent life skills like learning to ride public transportation, how to take care of themselves and how to live with support.

Health Needs of Students

Whether a student has a disability or not, students learn best when they are healthy. The health of a student with disabilities is of equal importance to a student without disabilities. Students with disabilities may have an individualized health care plan to ensure their safety and health at school. Schools can provide health education and guidance for families.

Various Activities that Promote Career and Vocational Awareness

When students with disabilities are able to enter into a career, it is important to consider skills development (knowledge of their field of study), personal awareness (awareness of their disability), knowledge of the world of work (understanding career opportunities), and interpersonal skills (knowing when to ask for accommodations or self-disclosure). Teaching students concepts using real-world situations can help them visualize and understand how they can use what they are learning in the work force. Allowing students to role-play various careers can help them visualize a career. Some other activities that can promote careers include inviting a professional to speak to students, simulating real-world experiences, activities that focus on workplace etiquette and routines, and ensuring a culturally responsive program. Culturally responsive programs can help students learn from the cultural heterogeneity we experience in our everyday lives.

The Role of the Paraprofessional in Special Education

The role of a paraprofessional in special education is:

  • providing instructional support in small groups

  • monitoring hallways, study hall, etc.;

  • providing one-on-one instruction;

  • meeting with teachers

  • modifying materials

  • collecting data on students

  • implementing behavior management plans

  • providing personal care assistance


Advocates for Children of New York. (2013). Transition Services. Retrieved from

Gerver, M., Shanley, J., & O’Cummings, M. (n.d.). Early Career Awareness and Development for Students with Disabilities in Elementary and Middle Schools. Retrieved October 11, 2015, from

Michigan Department of Education. (2015, October 12). Collaborating For Success, Parent Engagement Toolkit. Retrieved from Collaborating For Success, Parent Engagement Toolkit: (2015, October 12). Spense Fact Sheet . Retrieved from

Vaughn, S. (2015). Strategies for Teaching Students with Learning and Behavior Problems [University of Phoenix Custom Edition eBook]. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Person Education, INC. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, SPE 546 website.