Special Education M.A.

Number of Pages


Year Approved


First Advisor

Strand, Charles

Second Reader

Karin Farrington;


The number of students that have been affected by trauma is increasing. Trauma impacts students’ developing brains, including concentration, memory, behavior, self-regulating ability, perception and cognitive deficits, and impaired academic performance. Teachers are learning how to cope with the lack of students’ academic success and behaviors who have been affected by trauma. When staff is not adequately trained, some consequences include secondary trauma, lead to burn-out. Paraeducators, also known as paraprofessionals, support staff, teacher aides, and educational assistants, are vital academic community members, especially with students in special education. Paraeducators (paras) work closely with students and provide various services to students and support to teachers. Paras are typically hired with little to no training and work closely with students with the highest need, including one-on-one support. Para’s responsibilities include delivering lessons, creating materials, collecting data, and managing behaviors, to name a few. Inclusion of all staff is essential when training how to work with students that have experienced trauma. When staff understands why students who have experienced trauma act a certain way, they are able to provide more independent instruction and support to best meet their needs. When working with students who have experienced trauma, school staff, including administration, teachers and paras, must provide consistency for students to feel safe. The reason for this thesis is to emphasize the importance of including paraeducators in training when working with students who have experienced trauma in their lives.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis