University of Vermont

The Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI)

Paraeducator Supports:

Training Paraprofessionals to Facilitate Social Interactions Between Children with Autism and their Typically Developing Peers

Klein, E.F. (2006). Training Paraprofessionals to Facilitate Social Interactions Between Children with Autism and their Typically Developing Peers. Dissertation Abstracts International information, 68 (04A), 1409. (UMI No. AAI3263766)

Institution: University of California at Santa Barbara

THE FOLLOWING ABSTRACT IS POSTED WITH THE WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR

ABSTRACT

As children with autism are being educated in general education classrooms with increasing frequency, schools have turned to paraprofessionals to help support these children in inclusive classrooms. Although paraprofessionals are intended to have a positive impact on children with autism in inclusive settings, research suggests that paraprofessionals often do not have enough training and can inadvertently hinder the social interactions between children with disabilities and their typically developing peers (Giangreco, Edelman, Luiselli, & MacFarland, 1997; Marks, Schrader, Levine, 1999; Shukla, Kennedy, & Cushing, 1999). Therefore, the purpose of this study is to empirically examine if paraprofessionals can learn to use motivation- based social facilitation procedures to promote social interactions between children with autism and their non-disabled peers during social activities. Specifically, a multiple baseline across participants design was employed to assess the effects of training paraprofessionals in motivation-based social facilitation procedures on the following dependent measures: (1) paraprofessional fidelity of implementation for motivation-based social facilitation procedures, (2) paraprofessionals generalization of procedures to untrained activities, (3) paraprofessional percent time engagement in specific behaviors, (4) paraprofessional confidence, (5) child with autism social engagement, (6) affect of children with autism and their peers. Data indicate that the paraprofessionals learned to use the motivation-based social facilitation procedures and generalized the techniques to untrained activities. Additionally, prior to training the paraprofessionals primarily engaged in hovering behavior or were uninvolved. However, once the paraprofessionals were implementing the procedures with fidelity, their hovering and noninvolvement behavior decreased, while their social facilitation and monitoring behavior increased. Further, the paraprofessionals reported an increased level of confidence in their ability to facilitate social interactions after the training. Related, once the paraprofessionals were implementing the procedures correctly, the reciprocal social behavior of the children with autism increased rapidly. Finally, on average the subjective ratings of the affect for the children with autism became more similar to their peers with intervention. The results are discussed in terms of paraprofessional training, social interventions, and meaningful outcomes.

Last modified July 24 2008 11:25 AM

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