Inclusion Assistants in General Education Settings - A Model for In-service Training
Source: Universal Journal of Educational Research Vol. 5(2), pp. 209 - 216
The inclusion assistant (IA) is a fairly new position in the education system and is the outcome of current ideological and legislative steps to include students with special needs into the general educational system. The IA's function is to personally accompany students with severe disabilities - autism, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, and mental disorders - in the general class. The IA helps the student cope with the classwork and social environment, relieving the teacher of the inclusive classroom of the extra duties.
Unfortunately, studies carried out in the United States, Europe, and Israel have indicated that IAs lack adequate training: they are not required to undergo any pre-service training and are frequently not offered any in-service training or guidance. This paper reviews the roles and characteristics of this challenging position and offers a model of an easy-to-implement, in-service, professional development program with minimal time demands that can serve to increase the IA's skills.