House Bill 325 and Training Standards
In April 2012, the Virginia General Assembly passed House Bill 325 which requires that by September 2014, paraprofessionals who are assigned to work with a teacher who has primary oversight of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) receive training in student behavioral management within 60 days of assignment to such responsibility. Specifically, the bill reads:
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
That the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted by adding a
section numbered 22.1-298.3 as follows:
§ 22.1-298.3. Students with autism spectrum disorders; training required of personnel. By September 1, 2014, each school board shall ensure that aides assigned to work with a teacher who has primary oversight of students with autism spectrum disorders receive training in student behavior management within 60 days of assignment to such responsibility. School boards may provide such training to other employees, including transportation employees. The Board of Education shall provide training standards that school divisions may use to fulfill the requirements of this section.
- That the Board of Education, in consultation with Virginia Commonwealth University, shall develop online training that school divisions may use to fulfill the requirements of § 22.1-298.3 of the Code of Virginia. Such training shall be made available to local school divisions free of charge.
In January 2013, the Virginia Board of Education passed the training standards related to this bill. The document, entitled Training Standards for Paraprofessionals Assigned to Work with a Teacher Who Has Primary Oversight of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (PDF) is now available. These training standards were developed in collaboration with VCU-ACE and feedback was obtained from stakeholders throughout the Commonwealth. Because behavior management is complex, competencies to be demonstrated include those beyond basic fundamentals of behavior, and include principles and strategies to reduce interfering behavior, build positive skills, enhance communication, and deliver individualized instruction.
School divisions may meet these standards through a variety of training methods, including school division developed training. VCU-ACE provides training which meets these standards through an online course and in limited live training opportunities.