Increasing peer interactions for students with behavioral disorders via paraprofessional training

Kimber W. Malmgren, Julie N. Causton-Theoharis, Beverly J. Trezek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


As more and more students with behavioral disorders (BD) are included in general education classrooms, the use of paraprofessionals in one-on-one support roles has expanded. Unfortunately, the use of paraprofessionals to provide one-on-one assistance can result in social isolation for students with disabilities. This multiple-baseline single-subject study examined the effectiveness of a paraprofessional training program designed to teach paraprofessionals to facilitate interactions between elementary-age students with BD and their peers in the general education classroom. Baseline and postintervention observational data reflecting: (1) the proximity of the paraprofessionals in relation to the students with BD; (2) the amount and type of facilitative behaviors displayed by the paraprofessionals; and (3) the rate of peer interactions experienced by the participating students with BD were collected for three paraprofessional/student pairs over a 7-week period. Rates of student interaction increased following the intervention. Rates of paraprofessional facilitative behavior also increased, though less markedly. Additionally, after the training intervention, all participating paraprofessionals faded their assistance more frequently and spent less time in the immediate vicinity of the students they served. Recommendations for use of paraprofessionals in the classroom and for paraprofessional training are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-106
Number of pages12
JournalBehavioral Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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