Date of Graduation
The role of the paraeducator in providing services to students with special needs has expanded to become part of a complex system of providing special education services. In order to meet the individualized needs of students with disabilities, educational agencies and school districts have increasingly relied on the services of paraeducators to facilitate the specialized instruction needed for students to participate in the least restrictive environment. Case studies were completed with three special education self-contained classrooms. The special education teachers and paraeducators who worked in these settings participated in this study through observations, interviews, and surveys. The study examined the tasks that paraeducators were assigned to perform, how the paraeducators were prepared to perform these tasks, how the paraeducators were supervised, and how the special education teacher was prepared to supervise paraeducators. Some tasks assigned to paraeducators were similar across settings, where as others were unique to the setting, the needs of the students, and the classroom management style of the special education teacher. Paraeducators had received some training to prepare them for their responsibilities, but a structured, well-planned training program to prepare paraeducators had not been established. Special education teachers were also not prepared for the responsibility of training and supervising paraeducators. Recommendations made regarding practice changes included: eliminating the assignment of paraeducators as one-to-one assistants, developing objective procedures for determining when paraeducator support is needed, developing specific job descriptions, and effectively utilizing personnel resources. Policy recommendations included: a structured paraeducator training system, preparing special education teachers for the role of supervising paraeducators, and annual performance evaluations from administration for paraeducator.
Conti, Annette M., "A qualitative inquiry into the responsibilities and supports of paraeducators in special education." (2004). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8655.