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Classroom Aides for Special Education

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > K-12 Schools > Classroom Aides for Special Education



Hiring an aide for a preschooler

June 2008

We are looking into hiring an aide to assist our soon-to-be 4-year-old son with social interactions at his Montessori preschool. (We are in the process of having him evaluated for Asperger's.) Does anyone on BPN have experience hiring an aide for their child? How did you find your child's aide? What qualifications did the aide have? What were the aide's duties? How did the aide interact with the staff at the preschool? Did the aide have to submit to fingerprinting and background check before she could accompany your child to school? Did this type of intervention help your child? Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences. Concerned Mom


I've hired 3 different aides for my son (with autism) over the past 3 years, although he's always been at a Berkeley public school, and I imagine things are different at a private school. I found them all on Craigslist after placing an ad. Their qualifications varied depending on what I was asking for, and it's also going to depend on your son's needs.

However, being a private aide in a classroom can be a really tricky position. They work for you and for your child but they spend their day with teachers and staff and other kids whom they're not responsible for. It's a huge balancing act and it takes the right kind of personality to manage it. Their priorities are to do what's best for your kid, but that's not always what the school staff would prefer. On the other hand they have to work with these folks all day long and they want to keep a good relationship. This is where experience in a classroom setting helps tremendously, so you don't necessarily need to find somebody who has worked with kids on the spectrum, just somebody with classroom experience who is flexible and reliable. I ended up believing that ''qualifications'' are less important than personality. Experience is great, but I'd rather have somebody with less experience who is friendly and warm and reliable (of course) who is able to adapt while my son changes.

As for the specifics of what they do and how they interact, that's really going to depend on your child and on the staff at the school. I never needed to get any of my aides fingerprinted because BUSD considers them school ''volunteers,'' but your school will be able to tell you what they require.

You didn't say anything about who would be paying for this person, and that's a whole other thing to know about, but I won't get into that. Feel free to contact me directly if you'd like more information. Good luck! Jill


I want to choose my son's aide myself

Sept 2007

My son goes to a public elementary school in contra costa county and has a one-on-one aide due to speech delays. Can anyone give me input on what my rights are in regard to choosing his aide? I have asked for a different aide due to her incompadibility with my son but was told by the school principal that I did not have any ''rights'' in regard to choosing his aide. I plan to escalate this through the special education system & perhaps hire a facilitator. I would like to get all the input I can, so if anyone has any information on my rights I would appreciate it. A determined mom


http://wrightslaw.com/ is your friend!!! It's a one-stop-shop for all your SPED advocacy articles!

There's an article in there that tells you to stop using the term ''aide'' and start using the term ''paraprofessional.'' Paraprofessional is a legal term defined by No Child Left Behind which specifies a certain amount of education and experience, there is no legal definition of the term ''aide.'' Make sure it says Paraprofessional and not aide in your IEP!

Get an advocate! I recommend Amy Kossow (amyadvocate[at]hotmail.com). Of course, advocates aren't free, and you can always do it yourself if you're brave (not me, though!)

Start a papertrail of things the current aide has done wrong, putting particular emphasis on things that may violate your son's IEP. Send regular updates to the SPED director of your SD. Be annoying, it's the only way.

Of course, none of this is any guarantee that you'll be successful, a drastic alternative would be to pull your son out of school until the matter is solved to your satisfaction. The school district will be extra motivated to resolve the issue because any time a child is out of school, the district loses money. Good luck! Jill


How to find a Shadow Aide

Feb 2007

Our child is in private school and needs additional support from an aide. We don't know how long this will be necessary and don't know how to find someone who can help. Ideally, they would be trained in education, special ed or the like. It might be someone who is looking to pursue a career in special ed and is looking for some experience. Or it might be someone who already has this experience. We have talked to a couple of education therapists who might be able to supervise this person. Any ideas would be most welcome! Anonymous


I found mine on craigslist! Depending on the time of year you place your ad, you may even find yourself overwhelmed with resumes. Good luck! Jill
Hi, I have hired 2 shadow aides by placing adds on craig's list. If you go on craig's list and look under education jobs you will probably see other adds for shadows and can get ideas. Be specific about the hours and days you need as well as the qualifications you want the person to have. Both times I placed adds I got lots of responses including some very expereinced people. You are very smart to have some one (besides yourself) to supervise the aide - this helps tremendously. I'd be happy to help if you have specific questions. Laura
Once you've defined your child's needs a bit, you could try advertising for a shadow aide on Craigslist under the education category. Also, since the person you hire may be supervised by an educational therapist, you could contact the director of the educational therapy program at Holy Names University, who might be able to refer you to prospective employees. Good luck!

Qualifications for preschool aide?

Nov 2006

I am looking for information on Aides/Shadows for preschool-aged children with developmental delays. Specifically, I would like to know what type of education/ experience/expertise is required of aides that are offered through the public school systems. My son has some developmental delays and his developmental pediatrician feels that a classroom aide would help him be more successful in his current preschool setting. We are going to go through the public school system (Piedmont) but I also want to consider private options if there are any. We actually have a fantastic nanny who is well educated and has some, although limited, experience with kids with developmental delays and I'm wondering if it would make sense to hire her to do this for my son if she winds up being just as qualified as anyone else out there.... any words of wisdom would be much appreciated!


I have a son with Asperger Syndrome who is currently in first grade. I have hired 2 aides for him - one for preschool/ kindergarten and another for 1st grade. Both times I put an add on Craig's list and got a lot of responses including ones from experienced shadow aides. What type of qualifications they need depends on your child, the school, how confident you feel about supervising and who else is working with your child. When I hired the preschool aide we still had a part time ABA program going on. I hired some one with no experience and the ABA people trained her. She worked out great and even stayed with us for a year of Kindergarten. For first grade I was looking for an experienced aide and found one. The teacher and I supervise her together. I hope this helps Laura
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