Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2022

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Special Education


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Shirley Johnson


Autism, Paraprofessional, Physical Education, Gross Motor


Students with autism often struggle in their physical education class due to the complex needs that arise in a gymnasium. When the TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication Handicapped Children) program is implemented, students are engaged with their peers and are able to be successful in a challenging environment through visual schedules, physical structure, and task organization. It’s important that paraprofessionals and physical education teachers are aware of this programming in order to decrease challenging behaviors and increase student success in the physical education setting.

Paraprofessionals are such a vital part of the special education team. They are able to see the student in different settings as well as in their special education classrooms and are able to see what works, what doesn’t, and they are able to provide support to the student throughout their school day. However, in physical education, students need paraprofessional support on a whole different level. Due to the needs that come with a disability like autism, students struggle with motor, sensory, and communication skills when in a gymnasium. The implementation of TEACCH in physical education through paraprofessional support will greatly impact student success and lead to a greater engagement level for students with autism.



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