Professional Development for Paraprofessionals on Inclusive Practices using Disability Studies in Education
Keywords:paraprofessional, disability studies, inclusive education, disabilities studies in education, professional development
Paraprofessionals serve a critically significant role on educational teams, yet often receive the least amount of training among educational professionals. This article details an online paraprofessional learning series created by a team of special education faculty. The professional development series draws on a disability studies in education (DSE) approach and high leverage practices to situate paraprofessionals as active contributors to inclusion as a social justice imperative. Aligned to the Council for Exceptional Children’s (CEC) Core Competencies for special education paraeducators (2022), topics addressed in the series are: (a) foundations of inclusive education, (b) learner development and characteristics, (c) supporting UDL in the inclusive classroom, (d) supporting specialized instruction for the inclusive classroom, and (e) learning environments and behavior support. We offer research-based strategies to build paraprofessionals capacity for inclusion through a lens of social justice and equity. This article can serve as a resource for paraprofessionals, and a model of bridging research-to-practice for special education faculty and administrators seeking to increase continuity across pre-and in-service teacher preparation and paraprofessional professional development.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Michelle Damiani, Casey Woodfield, Brent Elder, Justin Freedman
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.