What does a Para Professional do? Well, that depends. Mainly, a Para professional is a teacher's aide in the classroom, who will assist children that have needs and require additional help. Depending on the age, needs and type of education your student is in, will vary with the requirements the Para Professional will assist with. Many Para's will assist with personal needs, such as toiletry, feeding, dressing, and what may be needed. Some children with needs cannot do these life skills alone and need assistance. Some can't do any of these needs and are completely dependent on the Para to help them. Typically, no matter what physical, mental and or emotional needs the student has, if the para is working for a school district, he or she is paid the same no matter what the demands are. Para's are required to help with any physical needs, academic needs, behavioral and emotional needs. Many will compare a Para to a babysitter. Para's are more than a babysitter. Para's need to teach the assignments being taught, chunk it down, explain it in a matter to enable the student to perform. The Para also must be able to know the emotions of the student, what subjects are challenging and may be more frustrating, therefore, use different methods to teach that subject. A Para may have to offer a break to the student during task time, which the Para is responsible for establishing a safe break, one that will suit the student’s behavior, relaxing break if the student is energetic, or a stimulating break to help a student who is sluggish. A para is also responsible to help guide a student in making good choices, helping the student decide what are good choices, by role model, social stories or other means. Many students with needs do better in an environment that is highly structured. The Para must keep the student involved and up to task, avoiding distractions as possible. A Para needs to be able to work with the classroom teacher. Knowing the teacher's expectations, classroom rules and being able to help the student as well as other students (typically developing as well) who need assistance. The Para's priority is her/his special needs children, but, if time allows, to try to help other’s students that have questions or need help. Many classrooms have several special need students in one class and the Para is responsible to attend all their needs. Depending on the grade level and what the laws are regulating the ratio, one para will attend many special need children solely. Being a Para Professional, for me, is extremely rewarding, as you are making a difference. The Teacher has their hands full, and if the classroom is lucky enough to have a Para, the entire class benefits of having additional support. The child with special needs benefits by several ways. They can integrate with their friends and develop new friendships. Learning needed social skills Preparing for 'typical life.' Learning important academic skills. Develop positive understanding of themselves, establishing self esteem. Of course, there are negatives to the positives. Sometimes unwanted behavior is learned. Sometimes bullying. Greater frustration when unable to keep up. As a Para, you are blessed with being on a different level with the children. You become a part of their classroom. You are happy for them, worried when they are, hurt when they hurt and want nothing but success and happiness for each one. Maybe, just maybe, you as a para, had a small part in aiding them becoming successful and having a good school year!