The Hussman Institute for Autism, in partnership with Towson University, and Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), are delighted to announce the release of this series of free, open-access, online training modules for parents and school-based professionals who support students with special needs.
These comprehensive, user-friendly modules were developed under an MSDE grant, to address the need for effective training solutions for school-based professionals (para-professionals) who support students with disabilities. These modules offer systematic training, content, and skills intended to enhance the educational experiences and outcomes of students with disabilities, and advance the professional development of school staff.
Para-professionals work one-on-one with students with special needs and play a critical role in shaping these students’ educational experiences and outcomes. It is therefore crucial that they are provided training that centers research-based strategies and techniques, and will enable paras to provide the most effective instructional, communication and behavior support to their students.
The training comprises seven modules, and covers topics including: disability awareness, essential dispositions such as the presumption of competence, individualized education plans, least restrictive environment and other central concepts in special education. Key roles and responsibilities, student engagement, communication strategies, positive behavior supports, instructional adaptations, sensory accommodations, strategies to support meaningful inclusion and relationships, and more.
- Module 1: Disability Awareness and Presuming Competence
- Module 2: Support Professionals in Individualized Education
- Module 3: Positive Behavior Support
- Module 4: Fostering Communication and Engagement
- Module 5: Instruction, Adaptations and Supports
- Module 6: Encouraging Meaningful Inclusion and Relationships
- Module 7: Autism Spectrum (Bonus module)
The modules were created for school-based professionals, but will be invaluable to all of those people who support or care for a person with autism, including families, friends, and those who work in the community. Many of the concepts covered in the modules can easily be applied to everyday life, and provide tools, strategies, and insights to enhance each person’s skillset.
We encourage parents, and people who support students with special needs, to visit www.scaffolds.org and access, explore, and share these modules with others, so that we may reach as many families, students, and school-based professionals as possible.