Procedural Guidelines for Determination of Additional Paraprofessional Support Needs Through the Individual Education Plan
[The IDEA's] LRE is intended to ensure that a child
with a disability is
The consideration of supports and services must
be made for each of the placements along the
"Consider" does not mean that an IEP team must actually try the student in all placements along the continuum. It does mean, however, that the IEP team must use its best judgment, based upon knowledge of the student, to select the appropriate learning environment for the student.
Use of Paraprofessionals
Appropriate Use of Paraprofessional Support
In every case, the first steps before assigning an additional paraprofessional are to (1) carefully define the student's needs, and (2) review all existing staff, programs and resources at the school site. This review must include a review of general, as well as special education, resources, and should consider such alternatives as peer support for the student, the use of existing paraprofessionals at the school site, and mentoring and other collaborative models for teacher support. A decision to assign an additional paraprofessional may never be made outside of the IEP process. In all instances, the final decision must involve the appropriate program administration. A training plan for the teacher and paraprofessional, and a plan for withdrawing the support, shall be developed.
2. Assistance in addressing behavioral problems: To implement behavioral plans for students with serious behavioral problems, it is often necessary to have a paraprofessional present to intervene and record responses to the interventions, etc. Paraprofessional support may only be included in an IEP to support behavior if the student has a detailed Positive Behavioral Intervention Plan that includes a schedule for evaluating the plan and withdrawing or fading the support, as appropriate.
3. Medically or physically fragile students: A
very small percentage of the school population will require part-time
or full-time assistance. Students who are on ventilators, have serious
seizures, allergic reactions or are subject to other life-threatening
events may need the supervision of a specialized health care attendant,
as specified by the IEP team in accordance with medical protocols. Other
students with serious physical limitations may need relatively constant
supervision and assistance with turning pages, complex medical procedures,
self-care such as eating and toileting, and travel from one location to
Inappropriate Use of Paraprofessional Support
2. Disability / Placement stereotyping: Every student's needs must be addressed individually, and determinations must be based upon the student's needs, not labels or programs. A student with a cognitive impairment or a student included with his/her non-disabled peers does not compel the conclusion in every case that he/she requires additional assistance or any given program that is based upon such a model.
3. Class or program change: The need for the assistance of an additional paraprofessional should first be carefully defined, and all alternatives to meet the need considered before determining that a paraprofessional is the only answer. It should not be assumed that a student moving from one program option to another (e.g. preschool to kindergarten, SDC to RSP, special education to regular education setting, etc.), or one grade level to another will continue to require the assistance of an additional paraprofessional.
4. Supplemental instructional time / tutoring: Direct instruction is the responsibility of the classroom teacher. Paraprofessional support is provided to assist a student with accessing the teacher's direct instruction, but does not supplant that instruction. Further, paraprofessional support is provided under the supervision and direction of the classroom.
Procedures for Determining the Need for Additional Paraprofessional Support
Step 1 - Process initiated
The student's case manager or department chair contacts the program administrator. If the request or recommendation was made by the parent, the program administrator will respond in writing to the parent within 15 days, describing the district's intent to follow the Procedural Guidelines to determine the need for paraprofessional assistance.
The appropriate case manager or administrator and the referring staff member or parent, complete Forms A-1 and A-2: Request for Additional Paraprofessional Assistance.
The IEP team completes Forms B-1 and B-2. Completion of these forms will assist the team in identification of target needs, critical aspects of the program, and available resources.
The IEP team determines whether additional assistance is needed. The IEP team may determine that:
A. No additional assistance is required. In this case, the IEP team identifies other strategies and services to be included in the IEP, attaches Forms A and B to the IEP, provides written notice to the parents of the team's decision, and determines the next review date.
B. Additional information is required in order to make a decision. In this case, the IEP team completes an Assessment Plan for parent signature and provides the parent with a copy of the Procedural Safeguards. Proceed to Step 3.
C. Additional assistance is required for this student. Complete Form D and proceed to Step 4.
Step 3 - Refer for Diagnostic Review
Assigned staff members complete the following tasks:
Obtain input from other appropriate staff and parents.
Verify implementation of Behavior Intervention Plan.
Review records for current level of performance, standardized test results and attendance.
Assess changes in the learning environment that would change level of support needed.
Identify existing interventions and their effectiveness.
Identify existing goals that require additional support and determine if new goals are needed.
Complete Form D: Summary Report of Findings.
Schedule IEP meeting within 60 days of receipt of signed Assessment Plan.
Move to Step 4.
Step 4 - IEP Revision
Develop goal and objectives that address the independent functional skills that need to be taught in order for paraprofessional assistance to be appropriately faded.
Schedule the review of the student's program and
need for additional assistance (Form B) within 6 months. In cases of ongoing
medical need, the review may be scheduled up to one year from date of
this IEP meeting.
Note frequency, duration and location of the paraprofessional
services on the IEP form.
Note behavioral supports required, and changes
to the Behavior Intervention Plan to reflect the additional support provided.
Develop a training plan for the paraprofessional
assigned to the program.