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K9: Understanding the paraprofessionalís role regarding communication with students, studentsí families, and the community that supports learning and well-being for student with Other Health Disabilities.
K10: Understanding the paraprofessionalís role within the educational roles and responsibilities of teachers and support personnel in providing educational services to students with OHD.
S4: Demonstrating the understanding to utilize opportunities for students with OHD to participate, interact, and learn with all students.
Working Effectively with Other Educational Professionals
You may remember from Core Competency Area 7: Communication and Collaborative Partnerships that you will be working as part of a team that includes students, teachers, parents, family members, school personnel, healthcare professionals, and other community members. You will have the opportunity to form partnerships and relationships with the members of the student’s educational team. As with any relationship or team, communication plays a key role in the effectiveness of the team’s work. Communicating effectively with all team members is essential for good relationships. Another aspect of a good relationship is that it is collaborative, with shared, two-way relationships that involve working together. To have this type of relationship, each member must understand his/her role on the team. In education, a lack of effective communication can have serious consequences for all team members and nonmembers. Students may not understand important material, paraprofessionals may not understand directions given to them, and teachers may not understand that a gap in communication is forming. In poor communication, ideas, directions, and thoughts will be lost or misunderstood. In order to be understood in the intended manner, paraprofessionals must learn to communicate effectively.
Another important concept you learned in Core Competency Area 7 is that while the skills and attitudes needed as a paraprofessional vary greatly, the most important skill in most situations is teamwork. This skill is especially important in educational settings because teams will typically work in collaboration to support students in working toward their educational goals. Each team member provides a different perspective on the development of an Individualized Educational Program (IEP). These perspectives allow for a comprehensive program to be implemented for the student. The more effectively a team can work together, the better it can provide programming and services for individuals and their families.
A team works together to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities. The team may work together:
One of the most important functions and top priorities of a multidisciplinary team for students with OHD is to clearly define the roles of its members. The following guideline is an overview of essential team roles adapted from a presentation at the 1987 Arc Minnesota Conference.
Roles of Essential Team Members
Individual with a disability
General education teacher
Special education teacher
Therapist (physical, occupational, or speech/language)
Information for this unit was used with permission from:Institute on Community Integration. (n.d.). Para eLink Core Competency Area 7.3 and 7.4: Communication and Collaborative Partnerships, Lessons 6 and 7. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. Retrieved June 30, 2006, from http://ici2.umn.edu/elink/7k2b/c7k2b_6.html and http://ici2.umn.edu/elink/7k2b/c7k2b_7.html