Paraprofessional Proximity and Decision Making During Interactions of Students with Visual Impairments
Committee ChairErin, Jane
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study examined two aspects of the use of paraprofessionals with students with visual impairments: 1) the effect of paraprofessional proximity on the students' interactions with peers and teachers in the regular education classroom, and 2) factors that may influence a paraprofessional's decision to interact or not interact with a student with a visual impairment. The four student/paraprofessional case studies included data collected by means of classroom observations, demographic forms, and semi-structured interviews. The classroom observation data were analyzed using the chi-square statistics to determine relationships between paraprofessional proximity and classroom activity setting, interaction participants, interaction initiators, and type of interaction that occurred. The data collected through the interviews were coded to determine themes. The data from all the case studies were cross analyzed to determine relationships and themes across cases.Proximity of paraprofessionals to students with visual impairments in the regular education classroom appears to have an effect on the interactions that occur between students with visual impairments, peers, and teachers. More interactions occurred between students and peers and between students and teachers when paraprofessionals were at a distance. Also, when paraprofessionals were at a distance, peers and teachers were more likely to initiate interactions with students with visual impairments.The decision making process for paraprofessionals is complicated. Factors that may influence how paraprofessionals make decisions concerning students with visual impairments were professional experience, personal experience, education level and type, and how roles and responsibilities were defined. All the paraprofessionals in the study indicated at some point during data collection the need to promote independence in their students.
Degree ProgramSpecial Education & Rehabilitation