Professional development for paraprofessionals: implementing positive behavioral supports for students diagnosed with autism

With the prevalence of autism continuing to rise, it is essential that public schools be assisted with identifying best possible outcomes, as well as best practices for supporting the academic success of students in the special education system. Recent data indicate more than 312,000 paraprofessionals are providing services for students with disabilities in the United States (Giangreco, M.F., Broer, S.M., 2005). With the growing reliance on paraprofessional support, who is supporting the paraprofessionals? What knowledge and training is being utilized to support these direct line staff with implementing individualized plans and tailored curriculum to meet each student’s current need? The manual, Professional Development for Paraprofessionals: Implementing Positive Behavioral Supports for Students Diagnosed with Autism, was designed to assist education professionals with training and support of paraprofessionals in the education field. The manual is geared to encourage paraprofessionals personal and professional growth by creating a larger understanding of the diagnoses of Autism and how it impacts a student’s life. In addition, the manual will present strategies for paraprofessionals to better assist each student’s individual need by creating a learning environment which fosters strong motivation, consistency across settings, and clear behavioral expectations throughout a student’s instructional day.