University of Vermont

The Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI)

Paraeducator Support:



Hall, L.J., & Macvean, M.L. (1997). Increases in the communicative behaviors of students with cerebral palsy as a result of feedback to, and the selection of goals by, paraprofessionals. Behaviour Change, 14(3), 174-184.

Participants and Design:

Participants included four paraprofessionals (also referred to as "integration assistants") who worked with three, 8-year old boys (Grade 2) who had cerebral palsy in a suburban school in Melbourne, Australia. Researchers worked with the paraprofessionals to address the concern that they were insufficiently trained. Using a multiple-baseline, replicated across the three paraprofessionals, they utilized an intervention package for the paraprofessionals that consisted of: "(a) the selection of goals for prompting student target skills, (b) informal verbal feedback immediately after observations, (c) monthly half-hour meetings with verbal and visual feedback (graphs of paraprofessional and student skills), and (d) written feedback with summaries of observations. " (p. 178). Specific behaviours (e.g., visual attending, full head raise, vocal response, vocal initiation) were directly observed in ten-minute sessions using 30 second, partial-interval time sampling.

Major Findings and Limitations:

"Baseline observations revealed that the participating paraprofessionals rarely used prompts or set the occasion for the use of communication behaviours by the students with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy). Following intervention, or the selection of the type of prompting strategies and feedback on the frequency and effectiveness of their use of these strategies, all four paraprofessionals increased their level of prompting and, in general, met their self-selected goals. In addition, the target behaviours of all 3 students increased markedly after the introduction of the intervention." (p. 182). Using a 5-point Likert-type scale, all integration assistants agreed or strongly agreed that "involvement in this research: (a) improved their abilities to facilitate communication skills of the students, (b) increased their confidence in their abilities to communicate with the student, and (c) increased the student's ability to communicate." (p. 182).

Summarized by: Michael Giangreco, August 2004

Last modified February 14 2008 11:23 AM

Contact UVM © 2017 The University of Vermont - Burlington, VT 05405 - (802) 656-3131