What do you think of 1:1 Aides?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
What do you think of 1:1 Aides?
Wed, 06-25-2003 - 9:55am
Our son has had 1:1 aides, on and off, for years. In general, they're "required" for him to be in a typical or semi-typical school setting to keep him on task and socializing appropriately, and to keep him from bolting when he gets upset. We've been fortunate to have some good folks, with some good skills, providing 1:1 support.

I've got to say, though, that I feel they're mostly for the teachers--who just don't have the time and/or skills to deal with one individual child's quirks! I'm not sure, too, whether having an aide for so long is really helping him to build independent skills.

What is your take on the 1:1 aide for "our" kids? Good/bad/indifferent?



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2003
Wed, 06-25-2003 - 10:07am
Tim will be in 7th grade this year. For years he's had an aide but

they more or less stayed in the background, not constantly near him unless

the time called for it. He mainly needed help during unstructured time,

even in the hall getting to and from classes. (sometimes there was a student

helper to help with that). I agree with the independence worry with it though.

Maybe the aide can kind of wean away for a few minutes, then add more time away

the next day and so on??

Now, I think Tim has an aide Nearby on the playground, lunchroom,

field trips (Definately!)

and not so much in classrooms lately. At the first of the school year

though, he'll probably have one real close for a few weeks.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-25-2003 - 1:49pm
In our district they are called "Independence Facilitators" and if that is in fact what they are doing then I am all for it. They should be helping the child become more independent and supporting when neccessary, but back off when able. They should be helping to provide the child with the tools to be as independent as possible. While I understand that teachers are busy for our kids "quirks", teh aide shouldn't be there as a babysitter. I have seen many that will walk around holding the kids hand like they were a toddler not really helping them become independent and age appropriate kids. Also, regular teachers are required and trained to deal with at least a certain amount of quirks and providing modifications. Plus, most aides in most districts do not have a great deal of higher education or training. Not that you can't have a good aide (although since it is typically not a great paying job many of the good ones leave pretty quickly), but they should not take the place of educating the child. That is still the teachers job, they should only be there to help the child become more independent and support the teacher.

My dh has had a good point on this. Kids are required to have the least restrictive environment, but that doesn't always mean automatically going to the mainstream. For some kids it is more restrictive to their growth and abilities to have the followed by what we like to call the "babysitting hover aide" than to be in a smaller classroom setting where they could be more independent.

Of course, this year Cait had an aide who was useless. She was way to into the independent thing and didn't intervene when it was needed, which is the other extreme. I think the idea of an aide in theory is quite good especially if it helps the child be able to participate in the "typical" environment. however, in practice it is sometimes less than satisfactory.

Just my 2 cents.


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-2003
Fri, 06-27-2003 - 2:56pm
My son, Jacob, will have a 1:1 aide this fall in Kindergarten even though the school district tried hard to convince us that a "Classroom Aide" would be better for him. They argue that he'll become too dependent on an aide who's "right next to him" but couldn't really argue with DH and me saying that a good aide wouldn't allow him to "learn helplessness".

So we'll see how it goes. He's been in a SDC preschool for over 2 years with a very good adult:child ratio, including quite a bit of 1 on 1 time. And the SDC teacher took him twice a week to the regular Kindergarten for recess and sharetime for the last half of the last school year. We're hoping that his aide for next year realizes that recess and lunchtime (fullday K class) are probably going to be the times he needs the most help.

A book that was recommended to me is "How to Be a Para Pro: A Comprehensive Training Manual for Paraprofessionals" by Diane Twachtman-Cullen. Here's a link to a book review that summarizes it. I found it very helpful.


Any more advice from you BTDT parents on how to make sure the aide does a good job would be appreciated!