Advice from an Autistic Paraprofessional
Entering 4th school year as a paraprofessional
As you all know, I wear many hats because I work more than one job. I have been a paraprofessional for many years. Recently, I entered into my 4th school year as a paraprofessional. I am not just as any paraprofessional; I am a paraprofessional on the autism spectrum! Most of my experiences consist of working with elementary school students on the autism spectrum, but I have experiences working with elementary school students with various disabilities. So, what is my advice for paraprofessionals working with students with disabilities?
1. Do not expect progress right away. Your student as a 1-on-1 paraprofessional, or your students as a classroom paraprofessional, will not grow right away. Progress takes time.
2. Observe how your student(s) learn. They may pick up new skills more quickly than others. If you see a student struggle with a skill after practicing, then teach them a new approach to master the skill. Through your observations and various teaching approaches, your student(s) will grow.
3. You must be patient! Be patient towards students with disabilities because they need some accommodations and modifications to be successful in life.
4. It is important to take things head on and be flexible, because in the end, students will appreciate what you do for them in the long run.
I believe my advice can help paraprofessionals approach students with disabilities from different lenses. What do you think? Was there anything I left out for paraprofessionals to be successful? Share your thoughts in the comments section!