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Professional Development

Exploring the Role of the Special Education Paraeducator

Working with special-needs students
Grade Levels:
30 minutes
Taping Rights:
Teaching Materials:
See Below
Program Schedule:
See Below

Given the critical shortage of certified special education teachers, the special education paraprofessional—whether known as a classroom aide, an instructional assistant, or a paraeducator—plays an increasing critical role in serving the needs of both special education students and their schools. This six-part KET professional development series, produced in partnership with the Interdisciplinary Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky, defines and explore the various roles of the paraeducator working with special-needs students: as a member of the instructional team, as an instructor who teaches new skills and collects progress data, as a connector to other students and to the community, and as a personal-needs assistant responsible for the student’s physical well-being.

Length: 6 programs; 30 minutes each
Audience: Programs 1-5: special education paraeducators, all levels; Program 6: special education teachers and administrators, all levels


  1. Overview of Special Education Paraeducators—roles and responsibilities of the paraeducator in relation to other professionals and parents, roles and responsibilities relating to students, and legal and ethical issues.

  2. Providing Positive Behavioral Supports—team responsibilities and working with students.

  3. Assisting in the Instructional Process—setting the stage for instruction, implementing instruction, and evaluating and assessing instructional goals.

  4. Community-Based Instruction—facilitating social relations, providing community-based instruction, and communicating with families.

  5. Health-Related Procedures—general issues relating to health procedures, working with students, and specialized training and competencies.

  6. For Administrators and Teachers Supervising Paraeducators—making effective use of paraeducators, including communicating with and supporting them.

Teaching Materials

http://www.ket.org/education/guides/pd/paraeducators_programs1-3. pdf
For programs 1-3; PDF format.
KET Online
http://www.ket.org/education/guides/pd/paraeducators_programs4-6. pdf
For programs 4-6; PDF format.
KET Online
KET Professional Development
(800) 432-0951
600 Cooper Drive
Lexington, KY 40502-2296

Kentucky schools may tape and retain programs according to the rights listed above. For further information, contact the KET Education Division.

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Last Updated: Friday, 10-Aug-2012 03:19:10 Eastern Daylight Time