ERIC Number: ED543012
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: 26
Concerns about the Proliferation of One-to-One Paraprofessionals. Critical Issues Brief
Giangreco, Michael F.
Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, Council for Exceptional Children (NJ1)
As more students with autism, intellectual disabilities, and other developmental disabilities are placed in general education classes, an increasingly common practice is to assign these students one-to-one paraprofessionals as a primary support mechanism. Though offered with benevolent intentions, inappropriate reliance on one-to-one paraprofessionals has been identified a practice fraught with limitations (Giangreco, Yuan, McKenzie, Cameron, & Fialka, 2005). As such it warrants closer scrutiny as a critical issue in special education for at least four key reasons. Overreliance on one-to-one paraprofessionals: (a) is conceptually questionable, (b) may be an unduly restrictive support, (c) is associated with a host of inadvertent detrimental effects, and (d) is exacerbated by insufficient approaches for decision-making. Given the concerns associated with the utilization of one-one paraprofessionals, there are a number of steps school personnel can take to mitigate the problems and provide appropriate supports for students with disabilities who are placed in general education settings: (1) Utilize existing paraprofessionals in responsible ways; (2) Facilitate peer interactions and other natural supports; (3) Involve students with disabilities in making decisions about their own supports; (4) Explore less restrictive alternatives to using one-to-one paraprofessionals; (5) Explore ways to fade one-to-one supports; (6) Have a process for making decisions about one-to-one paraprofessional supports; and (7) Schools can consider systems-level alternatives to overreliance on paraprofessionals.
Descriptors: Autism, Developmental Disabilities, Mental Retardation, Mainstreaming, Inclusion, Paraprofessional School Personnel, Regular and Special Education Relationship, Student Needs, Interpersonal Relationship, Educational Environment, Self Determination, Student Participation, Decision Making
Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, Council for Exceptional Children. P.O. Box 3512, Fayetteville, AR 72702. Web site: http://daddcec.org
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: Council for Exceptional Children, Division on Developmental Disabilities