IDEA Partnerships: Paraprofessional Initiative

Document Type



U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs

Publication Date



A brief narrative description of the journal article, document, or resource.Building on the efforts of the ASPIIRE IDEA Partnership Paraprofessional Work Group convened under the leadership of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) in the spring of 1999, this report summarizes issues and themes identified at a June 2001, 1-day cross-partnership forum on paraprofessional issues relating to the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as amended in 1997 (IDEA '97). The forum identified six overarching themes: (1) confusion and misunderstanding about roles, responsibilities and supervision of paraprofessionals and assistants by professional practitioners, administrators, and families; (2) lack of clear federal, state and local policies and standards; (3) need for consensus about who/what is a paraprofessional; (4) inadequate training for administrators, professional practitioners, and paraprofessionals/assistants regarding appropriate roles, responsibilities, and supervision; (5) inadequate opportunities for instructional/related services teams to plan, collaborate, and support one another's efforts; and (6) need for systematic infrastructures and administrative support for training, team collaboration/planning, and utilization of appropriate practice. Recommendations of the forum related to these themes are addressed to the Office of Special Education Programs and to the states, and are organized into the following categories: policy and regulatory procedures, preparation and training, supervision, IDEA partnerships, and next steps. Attachments include an excerpt from IDEA-97 on paraprofessionals and assistants and a listing of forum participants. (DB)


Originally published by U.S. Department of Education.

Publisher’s PDF available through remote link.