2018 TASH Conference has ended
Each year, the TASH Conference brings together a diverse community of stakeholders who gain information, learn about resources, and connect with others across the country to strengthen the disability field. This year’s conference theme, “Be Creative - Innovative Solutions for an Inclusive Life,” reminds us to think outside the box during times of uncertainty. Creativity, innovation, and determination can pave the way for meaningful and inclusive lives for people with disabilities.

Thursday, November 29 • 2:10pm - 3:00pm
Who's Training Who? Examining Job-Embedded Paraprofessional Training to Support Social Interactions Seating Available

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Limited Capacity seats available

Paraprofessionals are essential to successful inclusion of students with significant disabilities. Special educators are tasked with training and supporting paraprofessionals often without preparation for this part of their job. The purpose of this presentation is to share findings from a study that examined the effectiveness of special educator-delivered training of paraprofessionals in public schools. Effectiveness, feasibility, and acceptability will be discussed. Special educators have many roles and responsibilities. Among these are training and ongoing support of the paraprofessionals in their classrooms. To implement effective training and support, special educators need to know what works and how to implement effective adult learning methods. Further, special educators need methods that can be used efficiently within the realities of busy classrooms and many other responsibilities. In this presentation, we highlight two studies that investigated the effects of job-embedded training and ongoing support on the paraprofessionals use of the targeted teaching practices, and the student's learning of their targeted objectives. Implications will be discussed. The presentation will provide a brief review of the current literature on training and supporting paraprofessionals. Among the chief findings from recent research: 1) training of paraprofessionals often takes an informal, on-the-job approach, 2) future special educators receive little preparation in adult learning and/or specific training and support approaches for working with paraprofessionals, 3) special educators report having limited time on the job to supervise and train paraprofessionals, 4) paraprofessionals frequently report job responsibilities that include instructional and curricular planning and decision making, and 5) research studies often rely on a research assistant (rather than the special educator) to train the paraprofessional. In this study special education teachers delivered a job-embedded paraprofessional training curriculum to increase the rates of social facilitation by paraprofessionals working with students with low-incidence disabilities in general education settings. Rates of social facilitation, and subsequent rates of social interactions between students with disabilities and their general education classmates were measured utilizing a concurrent stacked AB design across six participating special education teacher, paraprofessional, and student triads. Study sites included classrooms in three public middle schools, two public elementary schools, and one comprehensive public high school. Special education teachers were able to complete the initial training with their participating paraprofessionals in an average of 66 minutes and in a manner consistent with their existing teaming model. Initial trainings were broken into five components, including 1) a perspective taking activity examining social relationships using a Circle of Friends model, 2) the importance of supporting social interactions and relationships for students with disabilities, 3) the paraprofessional's role in facilitating social interactions, 4) review and breaking down specific social facilitation strategies, and 5) a plan for follow up activities between the paraprofessionals and general education teachers. Results varied by triad, with some paraprofessionals showing strong treatment effects on social facilitation after receiving the training, and some showing limited effects. All students with low-incidence disabilities increased their rates of social interactions with general education peers as a result of the training. Social validity measures and field notes indicate that teachers were pleased with the training package and would be willing to use the curriculum to train paraprofessionals in the future.

avatar for Jeremy Erickson

Jeremy Erickson

Teaching Associate, University of Washington

Thursday November 29, 2018 2:10pm - 3:00pm
Laurelhurst - Second Floor 1401 SW Naito Parkway, Portland, OR 97201

Attendees (11)