Presentation on theme: "Is Paraprofessional Proximity a Problem for Students with Visual Impairments? Dissertation Research Beth Harris, M.S. Ed., COMS Doctoral Candidate University."— Presentation transcript:
Is Paraprofessional Proximity a Problem for Students with Visual Impairments? Dissertation Research Beth Harris, M.S. Ed., COMS Doctoral Candidate University of Arizona
Motivation for the Research Personal experience with lack of paraprofessional training Need for specialized skill knowledge to work with students with visual impairments Frustration with the idea that it is a given to have a paraprofessional Observations of paraprofessionals who hover over students inhibiting the ability of the student to develop social skills
Why This Is Important Research Increase in the use of paraprofessionals Increase integration of students with disabilities Qualified teacher shortage/larger caseloads Parent and regular educator pressure for adequate support Cost saving measure
Increased role of paraprofessional Provide one-on-one tutoring when student not receiving instruction from teacher Assist with classroom management Organizing instructional materials Conduct parental involvement activities Instructional support in library or media center Instructional support under direct supervision of a highly qualified teacher
Concerns identified in literature Lack of definition of roles and responsibilities for paraprofessionals Lack of supervision of paraprofessionals Lack of training of paraprofessionals Proximity of paraprofessional to student
Little empirical data to support model of service for students with visual impairments Giangreco, Edelman, Luisell, & MacFarland (1997) found in a population of deaf- blind students that paraprofessionals tended to be in close proximity to students on an ongoing basis. Erwin (1996) looked at adaptive strategies and natural supports used to include a child in a regular preschool setting. Griffin-Shirley & Matlock (2004) determined training needs of paraprofessionals.
Purpose of Study Examine effect proximity of a paraprofessional of a student with a visual impairment has on the students’ interactions with peers and teachers. Explore factors that influence a paraprofessional’s decision to interact or not interact with the student.
Research Questions What are the types of interactions that occur between students and paraprofessionals? What percentage of interactions between students and paraprofessionals are student initiated? Do paraprofessionals maintain different distances from a student across three different observation settings?
Research Questions (con’t) When the paraprofessional is closer, is there less interaction between the student and peers and/or teacher? How do paraprofessionals decide to interact with students?
Study Participants 5 paraprofessional/student teams students identified as having a visual impairment based on the definitions from IDEA identified as having a visual impairment only, with no other disability uses braille for academics participates in the regular education classroom at least 75% of the school day assigned a paraprofessional on a one-to-one basis by the IEP team paraprofessionals who have at least one year paraprofessional experience prior to the start of the study
Setting Observations occur in elementary/middle classrooms during three activity types. Unstructured class time (e.g. transition times) Semi-structured class time with peer interaction expected (e.g. group activity with teacher monitoring) Structured class time with no peer interaction expected (e.g. strictly instruction).
Instrumentation Observation recording sheet that documents who initiated an interaction initial interaction type length of the interaction type of classroom activity occurring at the time of the interaction proximity of the paraprofessional at the time of the interaction Open-ended interview questionnaire used to gather information from paraprofessionals about how they decide when to interact with a student with a visual impairment. Demographic questionnaires
National Center for Leadership in Visual Impairments (NCLVI) and the Office of Special Education