Paraeducator Support:



Giangreco, M. F., Broer S. M., & Edelman, S. W. (1999). The tip of the iceberg: Determining whether paraprofessional support is needed for students with disabilities in general education settings. Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, 24(4), 280-290.

Summary Statement:

This article addresses selected issues associated with the utilization of paraprofessionals and presents guidelines to assist teams in making decisions about paraprofessional supports. These guidelines include:

  1. Rely on collaborative teamwork
  2. Build capacity in the school to support all students
  3. Consider paraprofessional supports individually and judiciously
  4. Clarify the reasons why paraprofessional supports are being considered
  5. Seek a match between identified support needs and the skills of the person to provide the supports
  6. Explore opportunities for natural supports
  7. Consider school and classroom characteristics
  8. Consider special educator and related services caseloads
  9. Explore administrative and organizational changes
  10. Consider if paraprofessional support is a temporary measure

The article discusses both considerations for the appropriate use of paraprofessionals when assigned, as well as alternative support solutions. The discussion of these guidelines is intended to advance dialogue on this important topic and to support the appropriate involvement of paraprofessionals in the education of students with disabilities as valued participants on collaborative teams whose roles are clearly defined and supported.

Summarized by: Michael F. Giangreco - January 2000