Research shows paraeducators need more training in speech language services

July 17, 2013, Pennsylvania State University

According to Sarah Douglas, an assistant professor of special education, paraeducators do not typically receive training that helps them support children with cognitive, motor or communications needs. Research by Douglas shows that paraeducators—school employees who work under the supervison of teachers—can better support students with complex communication needs, and that paraeducators who received training are more effective in their classrooms.

According to the article, nearly half of all children in early childhood special education programs experience difficulty with communication and qualify for speech language services. A percentage of these children require augmentative and alternative communication, which can include the use of , picture symbols, speech-generating devices and to augment speech.

"Paraeducators are concerned," said Douglas, "because they end up spending the bulk of the time with students with special needs, and they want to be effective."

Douglas said that initial evidence suggests that two-hour, one-on-one, best-practices training positively affected interactions between paraeducators and students with communication needs. The training also increased the number of communication opportunities that the paraeducators made, and students took more turns during exercises.

The training, which can now be delivered in person or online, is effective, said Douglas. Paraeducators reported that the training received was beneficial. Moreover, supervising teachers reported improvements in the communication support provided by those paraeducators.

This innovative study is already being adapted into College of Education courses where students are being exposed to this research.

"This information is being infused into pre-service in the college's required special education courses," said Douglas. "All students studying special education will receive training on this topic."

Douglas worked with Janice Light, a distinguished professor in the College of Health and Human Development, and David McNaughton, a professor of , on this research and article.

Douglas said that her research was based on research that Light conducted, which focused on early intervention services with parents of children with communication needs. Douglas said that she took that content and adapted it for use in schools.

Douglas hopes that the training will help provide communication partners, such as paraeducators, with strategies that can increase the quality of education that students with communication needs receive.

Explore further: SimuCase avatars advance speech-language pathology training

Related Stories

SimuCase avatars advance speech-language pathology training

June 18, 2013
A new commercial venture, using technology developed at Case Western Reserve University's College of Arts and Sciences and Case School of Engineering, has made available avatars—virtual patients—to train speech-language ...

Researcher helps give children with autism the chance to communicate

May 14, 2013
Research by Victoria University PhD education graduand Larah van der Meer highlights the importance of understanding the communication preferences of children with developmental disabilities such as autism.

No 'silver bullet' for science standards

April 18, 2013
America's K-12 teachers are not fully prepared to meet a new set of science standards, a Michigan State University education scholar argues in Science.

Young children with autism benefit regardless of high-quality treatment model

July 16, 2013
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found that preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who receive high-quality early intervention benefit developmentally regardless of the treatment ...

Special needs students and teachers are victims of 'muddled' approach to schooling -- study

July 7, 2011
Pupils with special needs and teachers in mainstream schools in the UK are often the victims of a "one size fits all" approach to schooling and education, a leading academic has claimed.

Spatial training boosts math skills

June 25, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Training young children in spatial reasoning can improve their math performance, according to a groundbreaking study from Michigan State University education scholars.

Recommended for you

How do babies laugh? Like chimps!

November 7, 2018
Few things can delight an adult more easily than the uninhibited, effervescent laughter of a baby. Yet baby laughter, a new study shows, differs from adult laughter in a key way: Babies laugh as they both exhale and inhale, ...

Tongue-in-cheek Nobels honor nutritional analysis of cannibalism, roller-coaster kidney stones treatment

September 14, 2018
A nutritional analysis of cannibalism and treating kidney stones on roller-coasters were research projects honored by tongue-in-cheek awards at Harvard University Thursday, designed to make you laugh first, and think later.

Pediatric robot patient offers new level of realism for doctors in training

September 10, 2018
A team of researchers and engineers at Gaumard Scientific has unveiled a new robot that raises the bar on medical training devices. The robot, called HAL, has been made to look like a five-year-old male patient and offers ...

Why men say they've had more lifetime sexual partners than women

July 25, 2018
The disparity between the number of sexual partners reported by men and women can largely be explained by a tendency among men to report extreme numbers of partners, and to estimate rather than count their lifetime total, ...

Censors jump into action as China's latest vaccine scandal ignites

July 22, 2018
Chinese censors on Sunday deleted articles and postings about the vaccine industry as an online outcry over the country's latest vaccine scandal intensified.

Revenge of a forgotten medical 'genius'

June 30, 2018
It's not an uncommon fate for a pioneering scientist: languishing unrecognised in his time before dying in obscurity. But as his 200th birthday approaches, the life-saving work of a Hungarian obstetrician is finally getting ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.