A paraprofessional can help students.

Can Parents Hire a Paraprofessional for Their Child?

by Amy Sutton

Paraprofessionals are often used in schools to assist teachers and provide additional attention to the students that need a bit of extra help. Normally, a paraprofessional is hired by a school district and not by the parents of a student, unless it's a special situation, like if the student is being home-schooled.

1. Paraprofessional

A paraprofessional is a person who works to assist teachers in a classroom setting, such as a paraeducator or teacher's aide. Some common duties of a paraprofessional include working with small groups of students to reinforce what is being taught by the teacher or providing individual instruction for students who need additional help on a project. Sometimes a paraprofessional's duty is to solely work with one student who is disabled or has a learning disability.

2. Private or Public School

If you have a disabled child in a private or public school, you can work with the school to get a paraprofessional assigned for your student. While you cannot hire a paraprofessional yourself in this situation, you do have the right to ensure that the aide hired to work with your child is qualified and has the skills necessary to do the job. Under the No Child Left Behind statute, if a child receives services from a paraprofessional, the school is required to provide you with that person's qualifications, if you request them.

3. Home Schooling

If you should choose to home-school your child, instead of sending her to public or private school, then you could hire a paraprofessional yourself to assist you with your child's education. You could get help finding one by contacting the schools in your area to ask if any of the paraprofessionals there offer private tutoring. Before selecting a paraprofessional, ask for references so that you can verify that person's experience.

4. Considerations

There are some things to consider when deciding if your child needs one-on-one help from a paraprofessional. Does your child need during the entire school day? Does your child need individual attention from a paraprofessional hired to work solely with him? Or, would he be okay getting help from multiple paraprofessionals that work with other students as well? In order to make a case for getting your child his own aide, you will first need to have him evaluated and get an individualized education plan, if you haven't already. These evaluations will determine whether your child qualifies or not.

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