Many Special Education classes have the support of one or more Paraeducators. A Paraeducator (often known as Instructional Aide) is a staff person that who works in the classroom and other campus locations supporting the teacher. The Paraeducator is working under the direction of the teacher at all times, as the teacher is the Credentialed staff in charge of the students.
Even if a Paraeducator is working in a different location than the teacher, such as supporting students on the playground or in a general education classroom, they are always to follow the instructions of the teacher. In addition, they are not responsible to communicate with parents. All questions about the students must be directed to the teacher.
The SELPA has a very extensive handbook for training Special Education Paraeducators/Instructional Aides. It is designed in a way that a trainer could pick and choose the most important sections for the Paraeducators working with their students and school.
Training Manual for Special Education Paraeducator/Instructional Aides
Every school district within the Ventura County SELPA is required to provide a full continuum of placement options for students with identified disabilities who are receiving special education services. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and California laws and regulations describe a continuum of placements such as instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions (CFR 300.551 (b) (1)).
The IDEA also defines related services as the utilization of aids, services, and other supports that are provided in regular education classes or other education-related setting to enable children with disabilities to be educated with non-disabled children to the maximum extent appropriate. This applies to any general education program or special education program in which the student may participate (34 CFR Part 300.550-300.556). There may be special circumstances when a student may need additional support in order to be successful in his/her educational placement.
If the IEP team is considering Special Circumstance Educational Support (SCES) as support for the classroom staff, the team must determine:
a. Natural supports and/or existing staff supports are not adequate for the student to participate and progress in the current educational program;
b. Additional support is necessary to assist classroom staff in facilitating the student in:
- Advancing appropriately toward the annual goals and/or;
- Involvement in and progress in the general curriculum and/or;
- Participation in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities and/or;
- Participation with other disabled and non-disabled students.
c. How quickly it anticipates the support can be faded and develop a method for systematic evaluation toward independence and more natural supports.
Special Circumstance Educational Support Guidelines
Special Circumstance Educational Support Rubric
Checklist of Environmental Supports for Behavior, Instruction, or Inclusion in General Education
Checklist of Health/Safety Needs