|Home > Doing Your Homework > Dealing with Confusing Educational Jargon by Sue Heath|
district has special ed teachers, general ed teachers, teaching assistants,
and teaching aides. Teaching assistants are supposed to have associate's
it is confusing when people do not use the correct terms.
If a person who teaches a child needs to have specific training, this should be spelled out in the child's IEP. Do not assume that all people with a particular job title (i.e., special ed teacher or teaching assistant) have the same education, training or expertise.
If I had to guess, I would say your district calls paraprofessionals who assist teachers "teaching assistants" and calls paraprofessionals who are translators or provide physical help to students "aides."
know it's confusing. That's why it's so important for educators to
use the correct terms. Regardless of the terms your district uses,
you should not have to guess at what the terms mean.
What is the difference between a "teacher" and a "special education teacher?" Certification requirements are established by each state. The difference between a "teacher" and a "special education teacher" may be as little as two introductory undergraduate classes in special education.
Do not assume that a certified special education teacher has the necessary training to provide quality remediation services for a particular child. For example, to read fluently, a child with dyslexia needs to have instruction from teachers who are trained in multi-sensory structured language instruction. Yet, states rarely require teachers to have this language training to be certified as special education teachers -- or even as reading specialists.
Young children with autism need intensive Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) / Lovaas therapy from teachers who are trained to provide this therapy. (See Current Interventions in Autism: A Brief Analysis) Yet, few states require that special education teachers who teach young children with autism receive training in ABA/Lovaas therapy.
To learn the minimum requirements for special ed teachers in your state, contact the Bureau of Credentialing for your state department of education or [http://www.doe.state.in.us/htmls/states.html and ask for this information.
If your child needs a teacher with more training than the minimum required for certification, make sure this is specified in your childs IEP.
Articles Teachers, Paraprofessionals & IEPs
Learn about ABA/Lovaas training for young children with autism and other developmental disorders.
Meet Sue Whitney
In Doing Your Homework, she
writes about reading, research based instruction, No Child Left Behind, and
strategies for using federal education standards to advocate for
and to improve public schools. Her articles have been reprinted by SchwabLearning.org, EducationNews.org, Bridges4Kids.org, The Beacon: Journal of Special Education Law and Practice, the Schafer Autism Report, and have been used in CLE presentations to attorneys. Sue Whitney's bio.
Copyright © 2002-2012 by Suzanne Whitney.