Australasian Journal of Special Education


Teacher Assistant Supports in Inclusive Schools: Research, Practices and Alternatives

Michael F. Giangreco 

University of Vermont, USA


In this article, I summarise the primary content included in a keynote address I delivered via videoconferencing in July 2012 at the national conference of the Australian Association of Special Education, held jointly with the annual conference of the Tasmanian Principals Association in Hobart, Tasmania. The address focused on three major topics pertaining to the utilisation of teacher assistants in inclusive schools: (a) persistent and emerging research trends, (b) contemporary conceptual and data-based concerns, and (c) ideas about what schools can do to provide improved educational opportunities and supports for students with special educational needs in inclusive classrooms. The article concludes that the potential overuse or misuse of teacher assistants is a symptom, not cause. Building integrated models of general and special service delivery in schools can address the challenges associated with questionable teacher assistant utilisation.


  • inclusive education;
  • service delivery;
  • teacher assistants;
  • paraprofessionals


Correspondence: Michael F. Giangreco, Center on Disability & Community Inclusion, University of Vermont, 208 Colchester Avenue, Mann Hall 301A, Burlington, Vermont 05405–1757, USA. E-mail: