Graduate project

The A-to-Zs of IEPs: A Brief Glossary of Special Education for Paraprofessionals

Paraprofessionals have become vital to the delivery of special education related services and play a pivotal role by differentiating, accommodating, or modifying academic and behavioral instruction to provide the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities as part of their Individualized Education Plans—IEPs. General education, and special education teachers often rely on paraprofessionals to support students with disabilities in inclusive classrooms and are also responsible for supervising and coaching these employees—often with insufficient guidance, training, or resources. Despite the lack of training and resources, paraprofessionals are competent and have many skills that benefit teachers, students, and the classroom environment. A glossary was created to address the insufficient professional development and training opportunities that paraprofessionals currently have that emphasize inclusion not only as a valid and effective educational practice but as a vision, a mindset, and an attitude towards fostering a collaborative, meaningful, community-based learning environment.