Perspectives on Current Practices and Barriers to Training for Paraeducators of Students with Autism in Inclusive Settings

Emily Eyrolles Sobeck, Ph. D
Franciscan University

Rachel Robertson, Ph.D., BCBA-D
University of Pittsburgh




Both the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation and the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) clause within Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 have impacted the educational service delivery for students with disabilities and the paraeducators that provide support services. As more schools turn to inclusionary practices, the impetus for highly trained paraeducators becomes of even more importance. The purpose of this mixed-methodology survey study was to identify the current practices and barriers of training for paraeducators who work with students with autism in inclusive settings and to compare and contrast the perspectives of principals, special education teachers, and paraeducators regarding these practices and barriers. This survey included 96 participants across the three participant groups. Discussion centers on the inadequate amount of training paraeducators receive, confusion on who is responsible for providing paraeducator training, the use of ineffective training methods, and making paraeducators a priority within the school structure. 

Keywords: paraeducator, teaching assistant, paraprofessional training, inclusion, autism

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