Paraprofessionals truly are the backbone to any special education classroom. And we know that professional development is important for teachers, but what about having our paras attend trainings with us?
Providing your paras with the right training can help them succeed in the classroom and support you to the best of their abilities. And honestly, training for teachers, parents, and other individuals who work with a child who has an IEP can be written into the child’s IEP under supports.
We scoured the free VIP Facebook group for recommendations of trainings, and these training topics for paras are a great place to start.
Professional Development Topics for Paras
First – let me start this off by saying that I am going to use the term “training” loosely. Training can look so many different ways, and often times the “training” could be a super quick explanation of how to, for example, use a data sheet or what an accommodation means and looks like for a specific student.
Also, not all paras are going to need or want the same training. It never hurts to ask your para what types of things they’d like to learn more about or what else they’d like to be able to do within the classroom!
As always, it’s best to be on the same page as your para in terms of all things, so the same goes for professional development.
The topics below are some of the ones that I have found to be most helpful, but, again, it’s all going to depend on your classroom situation and your paras’ interests. Choose which ones work best for you and your paraprofessionals… and remember, communication is key here!
Para Training Topics
Maybe I’m biased, but I firmly believe that one of the most important topics you can train your para in is what an IEP is and how it should be implemented. Not only will this help them understand the hows and whys of what happens with students, but it will make it easier for them to assist you in the classroom.
Check out the Summer Professional Development “PD” Series that’s happening over at The Intentional IEP and register your para (and yourself!) today!
Sometimes teachers forget that not all paras have the same background. That means that not all of them know what professional behavior for educators looks like. Spending time talking about that and what it means in terms of communication and interaction the students, staff, and administration can help make your para feel a lot more comfortable in the classroom.
When students’ behavior escalates, it’s important to know how to deal with that. As teachers, we are often trained in de-escalation strategies, but that training doesn’t always trickle down to our paras. One of the best training topics for paras is how to de-escalate behavior situations.
All About Disabilities
While different disabilities and learning differences may be second nature to you, they may not be for a para. Also – remember that quote that says, “Just because you’ve met one person with Autism, means you’ve met one person with Autism.” No two students are the same.
Some quick training on the disabilities in your classroom will give your para the background that he or she needs to better serve the students in your classroom.
Occupational Therapy Skills
Train your para on OT skills that will help him or her help the students. Teach them fine motor skills tricks, ways to help grips, and more. Training on those small, basic skills can make a huge difference!
Behavior plans often play a large role in the special education classroom. Teaching your para how to read, understand, and implement/support a child’s behavior plan is vital to the success of the child’s BIP in and out of the classroom. (PST: this is also where that teacher training written into the IEP can come into play for everyone on the IEP Team!)
When you support your para with training, you are giving her the opportunity to do her job with the knowledge that will support the whole classroom. A para that is trained benefits not only you but your students as well… just like trained teachers.
Keep All of Your Para’s Training Organized
Give your para the support she needs with the Editable Paraprofessional Binder! This informative para binder will help you help assist your classroom support staff, new or returning, and be a supportive way to share expectations and duties, along with other important student and classroom information… all while keeping it all in one, organized, and easy-to-find spot.
Just like the printable version – only digital! The digital version of the Editable Paraprofessional Binder uses Google Slides and is great if your para travels from classroom to classroom or prefers a digital copy instead.