Impact of a Teacher-as-Coach Model: Improving Paraprofessionals Fidelity of Implementation of Discrete Trial Training for Students With Moderate-to-Severe Developmental Disabilities

J Autism Dev Disord. 2017 Jun;47(6):1696-1707. doi: 10.1007/s10803-017-3086-4.


Ensuring educational progress for students with moderate-to-severe developmental disabilities requires exposure to well executed evidence-based practices. This necessitates that the special education workforce, including paraprofessionals, be well-trained. Yet evidence regarding effective training mechanisms for paraprofessionals is limited. A multiple baseline design across five teachers was used to evaluate the impact of online instructional modules and a Practice-Based Coaching (PBC) model with teacher-as-coach on their paraprofessionals' fidelity of discrete trial training (DTT). Implementation of the instructional modules yielded little to no change in paraprofessionals' DTT fidelity, however, a clear functional relation between PBC and improvement in paraprofessionals' fidelity of implementation of DTT was demonstrated. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.

Keywords: Autism; Coaching; Developmental disabilities; Discrete trial training; Paraprofessionals.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Developmental Disabilities / psychology*
  • Developmental Disabilities / therapy
  • Education, Special / methods
  • Education, Special / standards*
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Educational*
  • School Teachers / psychology*
  • School Teachers / standards*
  • Students / psychology*