Ask the participants what level of support is being provided in the following cartoons. This lead into a discussion about why it is important to know when to give the appropriate amount of support.
Mary Lasater, Ed.D.
30th National Resource Center For Paraeducators Two Steppin’ in the Right DirectionTo Be or Not To Be Intrusive Facilitated by Mary Lasater, Ed.D. Lasater Consulting Victoria, Texas
According to Webster…sup-pórt´, v.t.; to assist; to further; to sustain; toforward; to uphold by aid, encouragement, orcountenance; to keep from falling, sinking or declining Source: Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged
Levels of SupportLow Support This support is always available but not needed on a regular basis by the student. The student would be able to function in the environment without the support, just not as successfully.
Levels of SupportLow Support Example:Casey attends a general education math class as do three other students with disabilities. The paraeducator is always in that class and is available to support Casey when needed. Typically, Casey only requests help two or three times a week and it is usually to check his work or clarify activity or worksheet directions.Other examples?
Levels of SupportMedium Support The level of support is necessary on a regular basis in order for the student to be successful or to learn in the environment.
Levels of SupportMedium Support Example:Sharon participates in a vocational training program in the community. Each afternoon the paraeducator accompanies her onto the training site and provides verbal cues to get Sharon started on job tasks. At times, the paraeducator goes to a nearby table so that Sharon can work independently. She will, however, provide prompts when Sharon appears to be struggling to complete the next step in the task sequence.Other examples?
Levels of SupportHigh Support High levels of support are generally intrusive in nature. The support is absolutely necessary for the student to learn and must be provided consistently. The student could not function in the environment without the support.
Levels of SupportHigh Support Example:Jim attends computer lab with his peers. Although he enjoys this class, he needs a high level of support. The paraeducator sits next to Jim and provides both physical and verbal cues. She uses hand-over-hand support to help him turn on the computer, use the mouse to select the desired program and to complete the task. She provides many verbal cues to help Jim stay focused on the task (not on his peers). Without theparaeducator’ssupport, Jim would be unable to access this computer lab with his peers. Other examples?
Levels of SupportTransitional Support The amount of support (low, medium, or high) is provided temporarily to assist a student in gaining independence in new environments, activities, and/or acquisition of new concepts.
Levels of SupportTransitional Support Example:Marlene had never required specific support in the elementary school cafeteria where she was independent during lunch. During the first two weeks of middle school, Marlene was provided a medium level of support to transition into the middle school cafeteria where procedures, routines, communication and social skills were much more complex. After two weeks, Marlene understood the requirements and the culture of the middle school cafeteria and no longer required the additional support. Other examples?
Levels of Support PracticeAs each of the following six scenarios are read aloud, select the level of support that you think is being provided by the paraeducator and respond out loud.
Support in Action KymeKyme, a second grader, enjoys being included with her second gradepeers for recess and play activities. Kyme is very good at rememberinggames and will often take the lead with her friends.Kyme is a nontraditional communicator and uses a combination of signlanguage, gestures, verbal approximations and facial expressions tocommunicate with her friends. The paraeducator usually plays thegames with the group and interprets for Kyme when her friends struggleto understand what she is trying to say. low medium high transitional
Support in Action KymeThe second graders have one hour of library each week. During thistime students browse and select books, have quiet reading time andusually a group story with the media specialist. The paraeducatorknows that Kyme needs to focus on books, not her friends, during thistime. Therefore, she accompanies Kyme and other students to thestacks to select a book of interest, and she sits with Kyme duringquiet reading time and offers assistance as needed. low medium high transitional
Support in Action Kyme Math is a very frustrating subject for Kyme. The paraeducator knows that Kyme will do anything to get out of the daily math worksheet; this usually involves undesirable behaviors. The paraeducator directly helps Kyme get out her math workbook, find the correct page, and complete the assignment. The paraeducator has found that she needs to sit at Kyme’s table and provide many direct cues and prompts to keep her focused. At times, the paraeducator removes Kyme to a different table and makes accommodations to the assignment and materials.low medium high transitional
Support in Action ChuckChuck is a ninth grader at the local high school. He receives some ofhis instruction in the general education classroom and some in thespecial education resource classroom. While in the resource room formath, Chuck works well with two other students (Bob and Danny). Heis able to work in a small group and usually completes assignmentswith minimal disruptions.The paraeducator sits with this small group and provides cues andprompts as needed. She also monitors six other students in theclassroom. low medium high transitional
Support in Action ChuckChuck attends ninth-grade physical education. Because Chuck hasphysical disabilities, the paraeducator and special education teacherassist the PE teacher with plans for modification.The paraeducator also attends Chuck’s PE class at least twice eachweek to monitor progress and implementation of modifications.Chuck likes to hang out with his friends during this time, so theparaeducator tries to be very discreet. low medium high transitional
Support in Action ChuckChuck receives his science instruction in the general education earthscience class. The paraeducator is assigned to this class. Chuckneeds many accommodations onthe reading and writingassignments. The paraeducator sits with Chuck as he readsassignments. Direct assistance is provided for highlighting criticalinformation, completing an outline, creating study note cards andusing a lap-top computer to generate written assignments. This directassistance takes the form of verbal cues and prompts, modeling andsome hand-over-hand assistance. low medium high transitional
IntrusivenessBy definition, to be intrusive is to force or pushsomething on another without being asked or welcomed.Intrusiveness can range from being discreet and unassuming to meddlesome, distracting, presumptuous, rude, bothersome and irritating.
IntrusivenessSupport is necessary at times but can be less intrusive.How intrusive the support is will depend on thestudent’s familiarity and level of independence with the task or skill.
You know you’re being less intrusive when you…• Use “wait time” to see if the student follows teacher directions and works independently.• Dignify the student by not singling him/her out in front of others when giving support with a low tone of voice and/or assisting several students at once in a group.
You know you’re being less intrusive when you…• “Know” the student and give just the right amount of support - not too much/not too little.• Give support and the student does not react in a negative manner (embarrassed, angry or noncompliant).
You know you’re being less intrusive when you…• “Move on” to other students once the support is given.• Don’t give support when none is needed - but do give specific praise to any student for work done correctly.
You know you’re being less intrusive when you…• Provide support with a stress on building student independence and perseverance.• Assist all students needing help.
Hierarchy of Questioning, Verbal Cues, and Prompts Less • Draw attention to the natural cues/prompts in some way:Intrusive nonverbally using gestures - or verbally in a normal tone. Example: “Look, it’s time for math.” • Ask a question about necessary action. Example: “What do you need to take out when it’s mathtime?” • Give an option. Example: “It’s time for math, do you need your science book or math book?” • Tell the student what action to take. Example: “It’s math time, take out your math book.” • Tell the student and physically guide through what action to take. Example: Get the math book and put it in one hand of the student Most and using a hand-over-hand prompt, guide the student though theintrusive process of opening the book and getting the remainder of the needed supplies.
“Do you mind?”Directions: Read each scenario and indicate whether you think theparaeducator is being less intrusive or intrusive by placing it in theappropriate column. If you think that the scenario could go either way,place it in the middle of the two columns. Be prepared to elaborate onwhy you sorted at least oneofthe scenarios the way you did to the restof the group. Intrusive Less Intrusive Scenario Scenario Scenario Scenario Scenario Scenario
“Do you mind?” Card Sort Activity Answer KeyLess Intrusive - A, D, F, KIntrusive - B, E, G, H, I, JBoth - C
“What the research says…”Potential Benefits of paraeducator Supports• Assistance in instruction• Connection to languages and culture• Assistance in students’ personal care needs• Time made available for the teacher• Additional skills and talents to the instructional team
“What the research says…”Paraeducator supports are linkedwith inadvertent detrimental effects.Effects and remedies follow.
“What the research says…”Effect: Separation from Classmates Seated together in the back or side of the room, physically separated from the classRemedy: Whenever possible, walk to where students are seated among their classmates to provide support. Be sure to assist any student in the class, which will reduce the stigma of being different for those with special needs.
“What the research says…”Effect: Unnecessary Dependence Student with a disability is hesitant to participate without paraeducator direction, prompting, or cueing.Remedy: Use a hierarchy of cueingand prompting before immediately providing a solution. This gives the student more opportunities to think and respond independently.
“What the research says…”Effect: Interference with Peer Interactions paraeducators can create physical or symbolic barriers that interfere with interactions between a student with disabilities and classmates.Remedy: Avoid hovering over student(s) and move on to assist other students so that peers can interact more easily.
“What the research says…”Effect: Insular Relationships Student with a disability and paraeducator do most everything together, to the exclusion of others (i.e., teachers and peers).Remedy: Include other students whenever possible to encourage relationships between peers.
“What the research says…”Effect: Feeling Stigmatized Student with a disability expresses embarrassment/discomfort about having a paraeducator; makes him or her stand out in negative ways.Remedy: Include other students whenever possible and move away as soon as possible to assist other students.
“What the research says…”Effect: Limited Access to Competent Instruction Paraeducators are not necessarily skilled in providing competent instruction; some do the work for the students they support.Remedy: Direct student attention to the teacher during instruction to reinforce what has been taught. Continue to access training on needed skills for reinforcing teacher instruction.
“What the research says…”Effect: Interference with Teacher Engagement Teachers tend to be less involved when a student with a disability has a paraeducator because individual attention is already available.Remedy: Continue to ask direction from the teacher regarding the role of the paraeducator in supporting the student. Encourage the teacher to model appropriate re-teaching directly with the student.
Table Buzzzzz . . . At your table, have a brief discussion about how you might change, monitor,or adjust the level of support you provide to some or one of the students with whom you work (or will support).
Lagnaippe• Supporting and Reporting• In-Class Support Log• Instructional Support Activity Worksheet• Shifting Gears