What are the issues?
A common concern school staff and parents have is that students with significant disabilities can only be successful with a paraprofessional assigned to them for the entire school day. Some parents are concerned or fearful about their child’s ability to learn, or how they might be treated in school. Teachers can be anxious about taking another child or having another adult in their classrooms. Paraprofessionals can provide extremely helpful services and supports. It should be noted, however, that recent research indicates the decision to assign an individual paraprofessional to your child may limit your child’s access to competent instruction from a certified teacher, may separate your child from classmates, or may interfere with the classroom teacher’s accepting responsibility for your child’s learning.
Here are possible responses:
“Before we make a decision about a full time assistant, we need to look at what Eric’s school day is going to be like, what the various demands will be and decide what the paraprofessional will be doing to support my child and my child’s teacher.”
“I am very concerned that Eric have excellent instruction and lots of opportunities to be a real part of his class. I wonder how we could make sure that support from a paraprofessional doesn’t interfere with these things?”