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  • Teachers Collaborative @ TeachTasticIEP

Paraeducators Involved in the IEP Process

Updated: Jun 21, 2022

In order for students with special needs to have the best education possible, it is important that their voices be heard. This means that the people that work with them the most must be included in the IEP process.

The IEP (Individualized Education Plan) is a document that outlines the specific needs of a student and how they will be met. It is designed by a team of professionals who work with the student, including parents or guardians.

Paraeducators, also known as paraprofessionals, are a vital part of the special education team. Often, they are the ones who spend the most time with the students, getting to know them on a personal level and understanding their individual needs. This makes them the most qualified to speak at an IEP meeting about the student's progress and what future goals might be the most beneficial. Paraeducators play an important role in advocating for the student and ensuring that their individual needs are being met. They can provide valuable insight into what is working well and what areas need improvement. In addition, they can offer suggestions for modifications or accommodations that would be helpful in the classroom. The input of the paraeducator should be given serious consideration when developing an IEP, as they are the experts on the student's individual needs.

5 Reasons Paraprofessionals Should Be Included in the Iep Process

  1. They have a unique perspective on how an individual learns best which is often different from teachers or therapists.

  2. They know how to work with individuals who may not have words to communicate but still need assistance.

  3. They can hear and understand the value of milestones for each individual.

  4. They have seen the student in many different settings so they know how to give input on what works best.

  5. They may be able to suggest accommodations that the child or adult would prefer such as large print books or assistance with toileting.

Paraeducators Are The Best Source Of Information

It can be difficult for special needs children and adults to speak up for themselves and express what they need, so it's critical that their voice is heard by those who are designing the IEP. The paraeducator can help with this process by giving feedback on the academic, social, and emotional support needs of the individual as well as their parents' perspectives on what they want for their child.

The role of the paraeducator is to support the educational process and help students reach their full potential regardless of any disabilities or needs that they may have. This can be done through academic assistance, motivation, classroom organization, and behavior management. This training means that the paraeducator is uniquely qualified to give input on the educational process. The para educator also knows the student better than anyone else due to long-term interactions, so their insight is especially valuable.

The Benefit Of Including Paraeducators

Paraeducators are in a unique position to provide feedback. If you work with paraeducators now, consider asking them how they might be able to contribute more effectively during this part of the design process by giving insight into academic support needed along with classroom organization tips and behavior management strategies. If not, please reach out so we can discuss ways our team of experts can help you do your job more effectively.

Since individuals with disabilities will continue to be entitled to free appropriate public education (FAPE) until they turn twenty-one years old, it's important that special attention be paid to their unique needs. This includes considering the feedback of someone who can support them academically and help them fulfill their potential.