The Choice is Yours: Do You Want to Help or Hamper Inclusion?


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Presentation from the 2006 National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals Conference

Published in: Technology, Education
  • Thank you Dr. Chopra. You say all of the things I have said for years and so I now use your powerpoint as I teach my new Paraeducators. I appreciate how your PP helps me stay organized.
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The Choice is Yours: Do You Want to Help or Hamper Inclusion?

  1. 1. C hoice Is Yours: Do You Want to Help or Hamper Inclusion? Ritu Chopra, Ph.D.,Director The PAR 2 A Center, 1380 Lawrence St. Suite 650, Denver, CO 80204 Voice: (303) 556-6464 FAX: (303) 556-6142 [email_address] website:
  2. 2. Meaning of Inclusion <ul><li>Inclusion is students with disabilities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>attending the same schools as their siblings and neighbors, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>being in general education classrooms with chronological age-appropriate classmates, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(c) having individualized and relevant learning objectives, and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(d) being provided with the necessary support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(York, Doyle, and Kronberg) </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Research Evidence Tells us: Benefits of Inclusion <ul><li>Inclusive placement of students with disabilities: </li></ul><ul><li>Leads to targeted communication and motor skills and IEP objectives without negatively impacting the performance of the students without disabilities. </li></ul><ul><li>Enhances the social competence of all students </li></ul><ul><li>Results in social acceptance of students with disabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages social relationships and interactions among students. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Research Evidence tells us: <ul><li>Inclusion is not possible without paraeducator support </li></ul><ul><li>Paraeducator role has changed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clerical to direct services to students </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Paraeducators often spend more time with students with disabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Paraeducators play important roles </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Connector </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Instructor </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Team member </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Caregiver </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Research Evidence Also Tells Us <ul><li>Paraeducator support sometimes becomes more of a disadvantage than an advantage for the student </li></ul><ul><li>In other words: </li></ul><ul><li>Paraeducators sometimes become barriers rather than facilitators in inclusion </li></ul>
  6. 6. Instructional Support VS Baby-sitting <ul><li>Be familiar with the daily lesson and the materials necessary for that lesson. </li></ul><ul><li>Know your students well </li></ul><ul><li>Help students to develop their strengths </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain attention of students and provide immediate feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge and praise student effort </li></ul><ul><li>Give individual attention while continuing to maintain the flow of the large group </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage students to participate actively </li></ul><ul><li>Set clear expectations for student work </li></ul><ul><li>Record data accurately </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>A teacher’s comment about a “baby-sitter” paraeducator </li></ul>Those {paraeducators} who would sit back there, literally, for an hour unless you told them to do something. And that defeats inclusion. It’s like having a parent-volunteer come in who can’t do anything because all of a sudden your workload is double instead of getting easier.
  8. 8. Fostering Independence VS Dependence <ul><li>Use “wait time” to allow the student to follow teacher directions independently before stepping into assist </li></ul><ul><li>Give students opportunities to practice on their own </li></ul><ul><li>Give support only when needed </li></ul><ul><li>Do things with instead of for the individual. </li></ul><ul><li>Let students choose between acceptable options </li></ul><ul><li>“ Moves on” to assist other students needing help once the support is given. </li></ul><ul><li>Help students learn self-confidence, self-reliance and achieve as much autonomy as possible </li></ul>
  9. 9. A Parent’s Comment We feel the aide needs to be there for the rest of the class too. It is not that he or she is focused right on your child as the child who has the problem. You try to make them fit in as much as possible even though you know they are different. So if the aide can be there and circulate in the room, the other kids get the idea that the aide is there for everybody not just for this one person. A
  10. 10. Connector VS Barrier in Social Interactions <ul><li>Coach students in the use of appropriate interpersonal skills (e.g. entering a conversation, changing the subject, ending a conversation, joining a group) </li></ul><ul><li>Utilize methods to promote social interactions and relationships among students. </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitates friendships among students with or without disabilities (e.g. peer assistants and peer tutoring). </li></ul><ul><li>Fosters a sense of belonging </li></ul>
  11. 11. A parent’s comment <ul><li>She [paraprofessional] increases his status according to how she interacts with everyone else. If she encourages everyone when they are playing basketball, which he likes to do…if she throws the ball to other students and says ‘Now you throw it to Michael or ‘He will do better if you throw it to him…’ or “I’ve got to go, you guys play,’ the way he increases his performance is incredible. He will do more…when he’s around other kids. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Protecting VS Offending Students’ Privacy <ul><li>Maintain strict confidentiality about all information connected to students and their families. </li></ul><ul><li>Use tact and professionalism in awkward situations </li></ul>
  13. 13. Protecting VS Offending Students’ Dignity <ul><li>Use “people first language” by talking and writing about people with disabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforce a child’s good feelings about her/himself </li></ul><ul><li>Use tact and humor in awkward situations </li></ul>
  14. 14. Effective VS Ineffective Communication with Team members <ul><li>Be a dependable and cooperative team member </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate respectfully and appropriately with parents of diverse cultures. </li></ul><ul><li>Readily share information about students and the educational setting with the teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Recognize the teacher as the supervisor in the setting </li></ul>
  15. 15. Effective VS Ineffective Communication with Students <ul><li>Know nonverbal communication clues (excited, facial expressions, tone of voice, body posture, energy level) and employ an effective response with students. </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage students to share </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate in constructive ways. </li></ul><ul><li>Uses appropriate and clear language. </li></ul><ul><li>Give full attention when listening and responding to the students </li></ul><ul><li>Give directions to students without being domineering or aggressive </li></ul>
  16. 16. Advocacy VS Inappropriate Ownership <ul><li>Jessica’s story </li></ul>When she {Jessica, the paraeducator} sees other people working with Sarah { the student } , especially a parent, I think she feels that’s not how I would do it, that’s not how you should do it. Jessica is very engaged and involved and I think she sees it as kind of … I’m going to save this child. I’m going to fix this child.
  17. 17. Advocacy VS Inappropriate Ownership <ul><li>Be aware of the thin line between the two </li></ul><ul><li>Exercise professionalism and separate your personal feelings from your work </li></ul><ul><li>Be an advocate but don’t step on other peoples’ toes </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Effective </li></ul><ul><li>Paraeducators </li></ul><ul><li>are </li></ul><ul><li>the bridge to </li></ul><ul><li>successful </li></ul><ul><li>inclusion </li></ul>
  19. 19. Quote from a Paraeducator <ul><li>“ Aubrey cannot think and write at the same time, she needs a para to help her focus. We (the paraeducators) are really very important because she would not be able to get to a fraction of the work without having a para there who’s constantly bringing her back, ‘cause she drifts.” </li></ul>
  20. 20. Quote from a Special Education Teacher <ul><li>“ For the children that I have, there are a lot of modifications and accommodations that have to be made. I work with great teachers (classroom teachers) here, but one teacher could not do all the accommodations that need to happen for that child who is included… without that paraprofessional that individualized learning in a class of twenty-five wouldn’t happen. ... No, it wouldn’t work without a paraprofessional.” </li></ul>
  21. 21. Quote from a Classroom Teacher <ul><li>“ The presence of paraeducators in the class alleviates a lot of stress and burden. Because children with severe disabilities need a great deal of direct instruction and one-on-one attention, in the absence of paraeducator support, I would have to get wrapped up in one-one-one with this one student and forget my other students. ... Paraeducators are a wonderful help. It's like a gift, you have this extra pair of hands and that extra brain.“ </li></ul>
  22. 22. Quote from another Classroom Teacher <ul><li>“ Lauren needs somebody to be her voice and help her hold her pencil. … They [paraeducators] are wonderful advocates for her. They’re there for her. They speak for her when she can’t express herself. They protect her from difficult situations that she probably needn’t be involved in. They know what she can and can’t handle. …Lauren is definitely a good addition when she’s got somebody in here that keeps her on track and reminds the other children around that they’re being a positive role model for her.” </li></ul>
  23. 23. Quote from a Parent <ul><li>“ Paraeducators are absolutely essential for successful inclusion because students like my son need constant direction in the classroom and guidance in acting appropriately in different situations. The teachers could not be with the child to provide this kind of support at all times and that warrants the presence a paraeducator.” </li></ul>
  24. 24. Quote from another Parent <ul><li>“ My son is not going to learn with the teacher describing something or even demonstrating something to the class. He needs that para to give him that one-on-one, to say what she [teacher] says again, to demonstrate it, to try it again. If he does not connect, then to try it in a different way...He needs the oral repetition and he needs some visual cues, he needs someone there to check if he is getting it and I think he is going to need that all the way up - even more so in higher grades. It is vital that he has a para...&quot; </li></ul>
  25. 25. <ul><li>“ We live in an imperfect world, but that is no excuse for not trying to make it as perfect as possible for our students.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>David Crow, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NRC Annual Conference, 2005 </li></ul></ul>