Paraprofessionals in Autism Resource and Achievement Project (PARAPro)

The VCU-ACE PARA Project provides professional development for paraprofessionals who serve students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the teachers with whom they work.

Woman speaking at a podium

The program is designed to create effective educational teams and increase the learning of students with ASD.

The PARA Project provides training and resources on a variety of topics that are relevant to the needs of districts, schools, and the paraprofessional. This includes:

  • Enhancing the knowledge of paraprofessionals related to the characteristics and learning needs of students with autism spectrum disorder
  • Building skills related to implementing teacher directed instruction and behavioral support strategies
  • Assisting local educational agencies in providing teachers and administrators with guidance on the supervisory relationship with paraprofessionals

A range of formats is used so information is easily accessible to anyone who may need it. Training is provided using both online and live formats.

If you are a paraprofessional and would like to take the online course, you can register online.

If you are an administrator, you may want to learn more about how divisions are providing training for their paraprofessionals.

PARAPro Introduction Video

Video transcript:  Plain text


Paraprofessional Training Standards Approved by VA Board of Education in January 2013

In April 2012, the Virginia General Assembly passed House Bill 325 which states:

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 approved Training Standards for Paraprofessionals Assigned to Work with a Teacher Who Has Primary Oversight of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (PDF) (Word) . In response to HB 325, VCU-ACE created an online course to meet these standards. For more information on HB 325 and the Virginia Department of Education's Training Standards, please see our House Bill 325 and Training Standards page.

Online Course for Paraprofessionals:
Autism Spectrum Disorder for Paraprofessionals: Providing Effective Instruction and Supports

VCU-ACE is pleased to offer an online course about ASD for paraprofessionals. This course meets the requirements of HB 325 and the Training Standards from the Virginia Department of Education. This course is designed to provide paraprofessionals with skills and knowledge needed to support students with an ASD in the school setting. For more information about this course and to register, please see the course details page.