Efficacy of Teachers Training Paraprofessionals to Implement Peer Support Arrangements
Brock, Matthew Eric
Peer support arrangements have been advocated as a promising approach for increasing social interactions and academic engagement for students with severe disabilities in inclusive classrooms. However, it remains unclear whether paraprofessionals can facilitate these arrangements without substantial researcher support, and how best to prepare paraprofessionals to implement this intervention. In this single-case design study, four special education teachers trained and supported four paraprofessionals to implement peer support arrangements through delivery of a promising professional development package consisting of an initial orientation, video modeling, and performance feedback. Teachers implemented the professional development accurately, paraprofessionals implemented peer support arrangements effectively, and students with severe disabilities experienced increased social interactions with their peers while maintaining previous levels of academic engagement. These findings demonstrate one promising avenue for enabling paraprofessionals to implement peer support arrangements. Recommendations for preparing teachers to train and support paraprofessionals to implement evidence-based practices are offered, along with directions for future research.