Paraeducator Support:



Giangreco, M.F. & Doyle, M.B. (2002). Students with disabilities and paraprofessional supports: Benefits, balance, and band-aids. Focus on Exceptional Children, 34(7), 1-12.


Following a review of current paraprofessional literature and issues, this article addresses five contemporary questions that are within the sphere of control of school personnel, either individually or collectively, to improve paraprofessional supports for students with disabilities

  1. To what extent should paraprofessionals be teaching students with disabilities?
  2. What impact does the proximity of paraprofessionals have on students with disabilities?
  3. How does the utilization of paraprofessional support effect teacher engagement and why should it matter?
  4. How can authentic respect, appreciation, and acknowledgment of the important work of paraprofessionals be demonstrated?
  5. What can be done to improve paraprofessional supports schoolwide?

For each question, pertinent information from the literature is offered as well as implications for practice. In an interrelated fashion these five questions address the benefits associated with well-conceived paraprofessional supports and the balance of paraprofessional supports with supports provided by others (e.g., classroom teachers, special educators, related services providers, peers). This is set within a context that challenges the reader to consider whether our existing or proposed actions to improve paraprofessional supports offer viable solutions that truly accomplish what we intend for students with disabilities or whether they are merely band-aids.

Summarized by: Michael F. Giangreco - May 2002