Consultation and Collaboration

Promoting cultural diversity and disability awareness.

ParaProfessional's in Special Education

The role of paraprofessionals in Special Education has evolved in over 50 years. It started by providing one on one support and clerical services. Now, paraprofessionals are part of a collaborating team that provides support to students with disabilities. The names used to refer a paraprofessional vary: teacher’s aide, paraeducator, educational assistant or paraprofessional.


The partnership developed between student, teacher and paraprofessional is distinctive. It is a combination of teamwork, instruction and compliance. Training is fundamental because the role of paraprofessionals is expanding. They contribute with diverse skills to the job, however, they still need specific training so they learn to observe, manage, motivate, provide academic support, conduct assessments and document. In some cases, they provide a cultural connection or perspective.


Even though the role of paraprofessionals depends not only on the school district they work at, or is influenced by the region tendency to use them, there are tasks regularly observed as part of their assignment nationwide:


· 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; and

· providing personal care assistance.

Paraprofessionals in Inclusive Classrooms: Increasing Student Learning and Independence

Contributions to Student Success

Parents have a very important role in the education of their children. They are the first listed to be required in a student’s IEP team in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act . Parents are to decide the placement, in other words, the place and the manner their child will be taught, as well as the services to be provided.


Services can consist of sessions with an Occupational Therapist, Speech and Language Therapist, Learning Disabilities Teacher, etc. and can be provided as one on one, or with the use of assistive technology.


Parents provide essential input in the development of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) in various ways, such as how he or she functions at home, does homework, gets frustrated as well as weaknesses, strengths or academic skills. Another aspect parents can help the IEP team is during the decision of educational annual goals by keeping them realistic, still ambitious and crafted to meet the student’s needs.


Parents are to be vigilant of the compliance of their child’s IEP, in despite of changes of school, providers or staff. They can also serve as coaches to their child at high school, when the students start to be involved in their own IEP, around a year prior to their 18th birthday. The parents should scaffold their child throughout this change and train their child advocate in own behalf to guarantee their best achievement.


School collaborative environments also contribute support students’ success. It has been shown that schools with optimums environments promote parent participation, facilitate personal contact, communication and collaboration. Schools that encourage welcoming atmospheres, that show care and a positive interpersonal attitude empowers everybody to participate in their students’ accomplishments.

Benifits and Disadvantages

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 (IDEA) (P.L. 105-17) explicitly emphasize the importance of providing access to the general curriculum, so that students with disabilities can meet the edu­cational standards that apply to all children. As a result, special education and general education teachers nationwide now find they need to develop new skills and strategies to meet these challenges. Signifying a period of genuine profes­sional transformation, these changes are leading many in the field to reevaluate service delivery and collaborative partnerships needed to support students with disabilities in general education settings As such, there will be a need to increase collab­orative teaching initiatives among the entire array of instructional services (e.g., general education, special education, Title I) available to targeted populations A significant challenge faced by all educators will be to maintain high educational standards for all stu­dents, while also ensuring that each child’s unique instructional needs are met.


The emphasis on collaboration is a result of the ongoing need for normalization of students with disabilities. Solutions to difficult situations can often be found through the unique perspectives of the various experts involved. Collaboration involves effective communication, goal setting, decision making, and problem solving. Successful collaboration is supported administratively, planned thoughtfully, implemented with student achievement in mind, and assessed for effectiveness

Benefits of Successful Collaboration

Special and General Education teacher benefit from support received in working together


Parents become more engaged and active in a collaborative process.


Special Education teacher must be pro-active in addressing student needs.


All parties involved must build relationship and communication together


Communication must involve goal setting, decision making and problem solving.


Requires ongoing personal reflection of all professional parities involved.


Instruction is student centered


Parties involved have a more holistic view of the student.


Collaborative partnership creates a high level of professionalism.


Parties are committed to shared responsibility


Teachers become stronger by complimenting each others’ teaching styles.


There are multiple teaching models to choose from to best meet needs of student.


Teachers should agree on instructional preferences related to noise and movement, homework, grading and classroom management.


Parents and advocates become allies in the learning process for the student.

Challenges in Achieving Collaboration

Teachers may have negative opinion of collaborating partner.


Partners may have different teaching styles and expectations.


Special Education and General Education Teachers have lack of common planning time


Lack of compensation for teachers to meet together after instructional time.


Special Education teacher does not have access to regular education curriculum, lesson plans, teacher manuals etc.


Lack of time in instructional day for meetings.


Inadequate coverage inside the school for teachers to attend IEP meetings that occur during the day.


Parents are often uninvolved and not active participate in students education.

Heath Care Needs

Health care needs are all different with every child who has special needs. In the USA, It seems that we do not have a universal system when it comes to health needs for special education students. It all determines on the state they are in. In Califormia, Christina Bethell discuss their education plan in the first video below.

Now even though we, as the USA, have a different plan for each state when it comes to health care the UK has a Universal Plan, which is the next video.
Christina Bethell, PhD: Legislative Briefing on California Children with Special Health Care Needs
Education, Health and Care Plan Pathway

Transitioning: One Size Does Not Fit All

It is often the belief that the main goal after high school for students with disabilities is to live independently and be self-reliant. Although this may be true for some students, it may not be true for all students and their families. Families that are culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) tend to focus less on individual and more on the collective group.


Transition planning is a very important part of a student with disabilities. It is important to take into account a student’s cultural/family beliefs when planning for a transition. It is imperative that we as educators do not impose our own values onto a student’s future plan.

Common Values in Transition Plans

Ø Personal achievement

Ø Self determination

Ø Postsecondary education

Ø Independent living and self reliance

Ø Creating a transition plan on paper

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Options

Ø Group achievement

Ø Group/hierarchical decisions

Ø Contributing to the family

Ø Residing with kin, interdependence

Ø Establishing close personal relationships between professionals, youth, and family

Disability Awareness

According to Kaufman, R., & Wandberg (2012), community partners such as health professionals, probation officers, vocational rehabilitation counselors, employers, and human or social service personnel can be of help to teachers, and students in and out of the classroom. Although there are a few mentioned here, there are quite a bit more that are willing and interested in partnering with schools to aid in the education of all students.


According to Kaufman, R., & Wandberg (2012), community partners such as health professionals, probation officers, vocational rehabilitation counselors, employers, and human or social service personnel can be of help to teachers, and students in and out of the classroom. Although there are a few mentioned here, there are quite a bit more that are willing and interested in partnering with schools to aid in the education of all students.


Regardless of grade level, schools often hold variations career day, which exposes students to various options regarding their future. Sometimes it is within the confines of one classroom where the parents of the students share their careers with the students or outside agencies come to be available to the student body during a career fair. Because of increasing needs of job placements for special needs students, career fairs have evolved to focus on this population. Transition Day or Transition fairs are growing in popularity. At these fairs, the primary focus is students with disabilities and how they can be incorporated into the workforce at their ability level. According to Gilson (2012), among surveyed respondents attending one such fair, 95.5% agreed or strongly agreed that the fair was a good use of their time and 44.4% shared that the fair subsequently led to a school–agency–family connection. These fairs give parents and students with disabilities information and options that they may not have been aware of previously.

Refference

http://education.ufl.edu/spense/files/2013/05/parasFinal.pdf

Powerful practices, Chapter 9 For High-Performing Special Educators


https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/special-services/ieps/playing-a-role-in-the-iep-process


http://www.education.com/reference/article/role-parents-students-transition-planning/?page=2


https://books.google.com/books?hl=es&lr=&id=0DehyQmfUUIC&oi=fnd&pg=PA36&dq=special+education+collaborating+nonprofessional+staff&ots=zn2IO9-yye&sig=eHTPA57389FeomEl1ppND970vOM#v=onepage&q&f=false

Kaufman, R., & Wandberg, R. (2012). Powerful practices for high-performing special educators . Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.


http://www.ncset.org/publications/issue/ncsetissuebrief_2.1.pdf



Assumptions in transition planning: Are they culturally sensitive?. (2003/2004, Fall/Winter). Impact, 16(3), 28-29. Retrieved from https://ici.umn.edu/products/impact/163/163.pdf


Gilson, J. (2012, September). Transition fair helps special education students, families,

and staff. National Association of School Psychologist, 41(1), 10.

Kaufman, R., & Wandberg, R. (2012). Powerful practices for high-performing special

educators . Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.