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Speech in the Schools

I Need Help, Part 2

Published November 7, 2012 11:39 AM by Valerie Lill
Last month I wrote about needing help and wondering where to get it. Many readers offered great suggestions on how to get more help to make our jobs more manageable. I've started my pursuit of being able to recognize help when it is right in my face and to be able to accept that help. The control freak in me still has a hard time with this concept, but it truly is working in my favor and making my life a bit less hectic!

When seeking help, it's really important to get to know the staff members in your school (all of them!) and know about each person's time and talents. I've started my help-seeking mission and have found one group of ladies (at my school they are all women) who are always looking to help out wherever and whenever they can - paraprofessionals!

At my school there are numerous paraprofessionals who help out in many different ways - learning support aides, life skills aides, office and cafeteria help, regular education classroom teacher aide...some of them even bounce around amongst those positions. Paraprofessionals certainly aren't paid it, but many, many of them are worth their weight in gold!  I've blogged at least twice in the past about having paraprofessionals help with carryover of targeted skills and device trialing. However, they can provide us much more than that, even if they aren't assigned to us! In my building there are only a few professionals who don't have paraprofessionals assigned to them at least on a periodic basis - unfortunately I'm one of them (along with the reading and instructional specialists, specials teachers, guidance counselor, and OT). I mentioned this to my principal, and she said, "Just ask one of the paras. I'm sure she'll help you." I've found I don't even need to directly ask paraprofessionals to do something for me. They just see me with work to do and volunteer their assistance!

How paraprofessionals have helped me recently (in the last week alone!):

  • Two different ones offered to help me with my mound of shredding. "If you tell me where it is, I'll take care of it."


  • When working with a paraprofessional who was working with a student while I was pushing in for therapy, I mentioned about finding time to print some icons in Boardmaker. "Just tell me what you need, and I'll make them for him." Sure enough, the icons were printed, cut, and placed on my desk the day after the request!


  • Making sure speech folders go home. I barely have time to write in folders, let alone make sure they go home with the kids at the end of the day. "If you get them to me before 2:30, I'll make sure they go in backpacks."


Not a day goes by that the paraprofessionals in my building don't ask me if I need help with something or if there is anything they can do for me. Their schedules many times are just as crazy as mine, yet they never hesitate to help when needed. If you need help with something, just leave it to a paraprofessional, and it'll get done! I vow to continue my mission to find help!


I have been fortunate in my career to have had parapro assistance either shared with special ed teachers, or part or full time all to myself. They have done everything from prep materials, make copies, tally data, change bulletin boards, and helping with therapy groups. I know I am spoiled. :) Good for you for being open to receiving the help you need.

Nikki November 8, 2012 11:37 AM

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About this Blog

    Speech in the Schools
    Occupation: School-based speech-language pathologists
    Setting: Traditional and specialized K-12 classrooms
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