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1:1 Aide (Initial IEP)

Maria Mendi


I had my son’s Initial IEP meeting just last week.  He is 6 years old and minimally verbal.   The IEP team tried to dictate the whole meeting and decided that speech and language therapy would be the services he gets. I asked about a 1:1 aide because throughout the Eligibility meeting and the IEP meeting, it was obvious that he struggles to stay on task and measured between 6-10th percentile while his peers measure at the 50th percentile, etc. It was almost quickly shut down because my son can feed himself and doesn’t use a diaper and he’s “independent”. Is a Para Educational Aide strictly for students who struggle with basic life skills? My understanding is that a 1:1 aide is there to assist the student with his academics as well as encourage him develop social skills (I am super new to this and am just learning as I go). After repeating my request for a 1:1 they said they will begin the assessment to see if he is eligible for that service. I am at a loss. Any advice? 

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An aide, para, etc. is not defined in IDEA. Nor is "life skills" actually.


The main tenet of IDEA and IEPs is I--individualized. If your son has needs identified that would warrant a 1:1, then you're to have to make the case for it, ask, then ask for a PWN.

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To answer your question: no a para is not only for daily life skills.  The school should provide him 1:1 with the areas he needs it for.  My son's IEP is for his reading and math.  He has an aide for both classes as well as visual aides but the rest of his classes he does not have an aide.  My son is high functioning and verbal.  I agree that you have to make a  case for the 1:1 and definitely ask for a PWN.  Also keep any and all communication in writing.  I print everything out that I receive from the school regarding my son and his educational needs.

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