House Bill 325 and Training Standards

In April 2012, the Virginia General Assembly passed House Bill 325 which requires training for paraprofessionals who work with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) within 60 days of assignment to such responsibility. Specifically, the bill reads:

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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) . 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. However, VCU-ACE provides an online course developed in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Education designed specifically to target these standards.