Related Service Professionals

Related service professionals

  • Special Educator (high-incidence)
    • Special education teachers who work with students in high-incidence disability areas (learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, and speech-language disorders) may work in both an inclusive or resource environment.
    • In an inclusive environment they co-teach with a general education teacher, permitting students with disabilities to stay in the general education classroom during the school day.
    • Resource environments permit the special education teacher to pull students out of the general classroom and teach them in a quieter, more controlled location.
  • Special Educator (low-incidence)
    • Special education teachers who work with students who have more significant cognitive or physical needs often work in a self-contained classroom with the support of a teaching assistant. Low-incidence classrooms usually serve students who are working on communication, basic literacy, and functional skills. While the general course study is used to guide curriculum, the curriculum is often subject to modifications (as opposed to adaptations) in order to merge standard objectives with functional skills.
  • Behavior Specialist
    • Special education teachers who specialize in emotional or behavioral disorders work with students who exhibit a wide range of characteristics, including but not limited to aggressive behaviors, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, depression, and anxiety or conduct disorders. Teachers serving these students may do so in the inclusive classroom, in a pull-out/resource model, or in a self-contained classroom environment depending on the nature of the behavioral characteristics being exhibited.
  • Autism Specialist
    • Special education teachers who work with students identified on the autism spectrum will also find a range of environments from full inclusion in the regular education classroom to a self-contained classroom with additional teaching supports. As autism characteristics include significant communication delays and deficits and an inability to relate to others or social situations, special education teachers who work with this population need to have a strong working knowledge of communication and behavior, as well as content areas and functional skills, since cognitive disabilities may or may not be present in the individual student.
  • Speech-language Pathologists
  • Speech-language pathologists (sometimes called speech therapists) assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent disorders related to speech, language, cognitive-communication, voice, swallowing, and fluency. Speech-language pathologists (SLP) who work in schools, may work with students within their classroom or pull them out to an office or resource room.
  • Occupational Therapist
    • Occupational therapists help individuals improve their ability to perform tasks in living and working environments. In an educational setting, they work with students with cognitive, physical, developmental, or emotional disabilities. Occupational therapists use treatments to develop, recover, or maintain daily living and work skills. The therapist helps students not only improve their basic motor functions and reasoning abilities, but also compensate for permanent loss of function.
  • Physical Therapists
    • Physical therapists provide services that help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease. They restore, maintain, and promote overall fitness and health.
  • School Counselor
    • Educational, vocational, and school counselors offer individuals and groups with career and educational counseling. They assist students of all stages, from elementary school to postsecondary education, and advocate for students by working with organizations to promote the academic, career, personal, and social development of children and youth
    • School counselors help students evaluate their abilities, interests, talents, and personalities to develop realistic academic and career goals.
    • Elementary school counselors observe children during classroom and play activities and discuss with their teachers and parents to evaluate the children’s strengths, problems, or special needs. In conjunction with teachers and administrators, they make sure that the curriculum addresses both the academic and the developmental needs of students, particularly in the areas of social interaction and behavior.
    • High school counselors advise students regarding college majors, college and university admission requirements, entrance exams, financial aid, trade or technical schools, and apprenticeship programs.
    • Vocational counselors, also called employment or career counselors, provide mainly career counseling outside the school setting. Their chief focus is helping individuals with career decisions. Vocational counselors explore and evaluate a person’s education, training, work history, interests, skills, and personality traits. They may arrange for aptitude and achievement tests to help the individual make career decisions.
    • Rehabilitation counselors help people deal with the personal, social, and vocational effects of a variety of disabilities. They evaluate the strengths and limitations of the individuals, provide personal and vocational counseling, and arrange for medical care, vocational training, and job placement. Rehabilitation counselors interview both individuals with disabilities and their families, evaluate school and medical reports, and confer with physicians, psychologists, occupational therapists, and employers to determine the capabilities and skills of the individual. They develop rehabilitation programs by conferring with clients; these programs often include training to help clients develop job skills. Rehabilitation counselors also work toward increasing the client’s capacity to live independently.
  • Assistive Technology Specialist
    • An assistive technology (AT) practitioner or specialist evaluates students with disabilities in order to help them become more independent and productive with the use of appropriate assistive or adaptive technology. They conduct assessment evaluations to determine a student’s needs, recommend hardware and software, suggest products to address a particular functional need, assist in procuring the technology needed for trials, provide professional development and training on the product, collect data, and provide telephone and classroom technology support to students, teaching staff, and families. Their expertise helps them assist in accommodating the physical and cognitive limitations of students with disabilities.
  • Teacher Assistant (paraprofessional)
    • Teacher assistants provide instructional and clerical support for classroom teachers, allowing teachers more time for lesson planning and teaching. They support and assist children in learning class material using the teacher’s lesson plans, providing students with individualized attention. Other responsibilities may include supervision of students in the cafeteria, schoolyard, and hallways, or on field trips; recording grades; setting up equipment; and helping prepare materials for instruction. Teacher assistants also are called teacher aides or instructional aides. Some assistants refer to themselves as paraeducators or paraprofessionals.

Related service professionals

All information was obtained from

For more information please visit Selected Job Profiles in Special Education

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