SCHOOL-BASEDJOB COACHTRAINING MANUALNebraska Department of EducationJob Coach Technical Assistance GuideRevised July 2002

AcknowledgementsThe Job Coach Training Manual for school personnel was developed toenhance the quality of work experience programs for students with disabilities.The job coach is a critical link between the school and employment communityand plays a pivotal role in the student’s transition into the world of work.This manual was developed by the following committee members, whoare committed to quality training for school-based job coaches:Mary Kay Anderson, ConsultantDenise Bengtson, Vocational RehabilitationTeresa Coonts, NTAC-HKNC*Sigrid Eigenberg, Educational Service Unit #9Barbara Fischer, Nebraska Department of EducationPatty Galbraith, Central Nebraska Support Service Program/Grand Island Schools*Sue McGowen, Central Nebraska Support Service Program/Grand Island Schools*Janet Miller, Career Solutions, IncorporatedJack Shepard, Nebraska Department of Education*A special thank you is extended to Patty Galbraith and Sue McGowen who tooktime to offer additional input and develop the modules of this technical assistancedocument; a special thank you to Teresa Coonts of the National Technical AssistanceConsortium for Children and Young Adults who are deaf-blind (NTAC). This documentwas developed with the support and assistance of Teresa and NTAC.Published ByNebraska Department of EducationSpecial Populations Office301 Centennial Mall SouthLincoln, NE 68509-4987402-471-2471Funded ByNebraska Department of Education under IDEA, Part B FundsThis publication does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of NDE, and no officialendorsement of material should be inferred.

C H A P T E R1O B J E C T I V E S :vvvvvC H A P T E R2O B J E C T I V E SC H A P T E R3O B J E C T I V E SvvvvvvvvvvvvvvTo describe how laws have shaped educational practices/IEPs/jobtrainingTo state how information gathered from job experiences can helpdetermine the direction of a student’s instructionTo state what is mandated by law concerning transition and educationTo explain the guidelines for unpaid work experiencesTo explain that the purpose of work experience is to meet theeducational needs of the student—not designed to meet the laborneeds of the siteTo list aspects of the roles of a job coachTo identify the responsibilities of the role of a job coachTo state the job description of a job coach/para-educator as includedin the school policy manualTo explain the difference between a disability and a handicap.To give an example of “People First” language.To state four general characteristics of a developmental disability.To state six teaching tips when working with a student who has adevelopmental disability.To explain the difference between a petit mal and a grand mal seizure.To state what should be done when a student is having a grand malseizure.To list 10 behaviors or characteristics that may occur in a student whohas a behavior disorder.To list four teaching tips for working with students who have abehavior disorder.To list five general characteristics of a student who has autism.To list five teaching tips for instructing students who have autism.To list three general characteristics of a student who has ADD orADHD.1

vvvvvvC H A P T E R4vO B J E C T I V E SvvvvC H A P T E R5vO B J E C T I V E SvC H A P T E R6O B J E C T I V E SvvvTo list six teaching tips for instructing students who have ADD orADHD.To list three general characteristics of a student who has a hearingimpairment.To list six teaching tips for instructing students who have a hearingimpairment.To list three general characteristics of a student who has a visualimpairment.To list four teaching tips for instructing students who have a visualimpairment.To describe what kind of information is found on a student profileTo discuss why behaviors are a form of communication and identifyfive messages that may be sent through behaviorTo state why proactive behavior management strategies are moreeffective than reactive strategiesTo identify and distinguish between proactive and reactive strategiesTo be able to find three proactive strategies that could be incorporatedinto a work siteTo state why it is important to teach social skillsTo give a reason why social skills should be taught not only in theclassroom, but also at the work siteTo list or identify five social skills that are valued by employersTo state the four stages of job trainingTo be able to place prompts in order from most assistance to leastassistance neededTo describe the recommended process to determine a student’sproductivityC O M P E T E N C I E SG L O S S A R Y2


Transition: It’s The LawWhat Does the Law Say About Transition?Students with disabilities need a better chance to succeed in adult life. TheIndividuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law, passed in 1990,that requires planning for transition to adulthood, including employment, for ayoung person with a disability, starting at least by age 14, as part of his or herIndividualized Education Plan. The transition service requirements of the IndividualsWith Disabilities Education Act recognize that education can improve the post-schooloutcomes of students with disabilities by doing a better job of planning and helping toprepare students and families for the challenges and complexities of the adult world.Transition is the process designed to assist students in their move from school into theadult world. The concept of transition is simple: First, to help students and families thinkabout their life after high school and identify long-range goals; second, to design the highschool experience to ensure that students gain the skills and connections they need toachieve those goals.The transition service requirements of IDEA provide opportunities to:ßHelp students and families think about the future and consider what they want to doafter high school;ßJointly plan how to make the high school experience relate to students’ dreams anddesired outcomes;ßHelp students and families make connections to services they will need after highschool; andßIncrease the chance that students are successful once they exit school.What Is an Individualized Education Plan?The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) provides the process to identify the student’sdesired goals and outline his/her high school experience. The IEP is a team process thatincludes the student, parents, educators, agency personnel and others. The team memberswill decide the services that will be provided to help the student achieve his/her goals.5

Everything that students do in high school should help prepare them for their own postschool goals. In essence, the IEP becomes a blueprint for the student’s future. That, insimple terms, is what transition is all about. Transition makes education relevant to thestudent.What Does the School Need to Provide?Students with different levels of disability have different needs. However, all curriculumactivities should be geared toward the outcome of life after school. There are threeimportant parts of a good high school foundation:1) Age appropriate/functional curriculum2) Community-based training3) Integrated settingsThe more severe the disability experienced by the individual, the more critical thesecomponents become.Why Do We Need Age Appropriate/Functional Curriculum?The tasks we teach students with disabilities should be directly related to the types of tasksthat their same-aged peers without disabilities are performing. For example, it would beappropriate and meaningful for a student to learn to sort laundry; however, it would be ameaningless activity for a student to spend time sorting colored pegs. Sorting colored pegsdoes not provide a useful experience or result in usable information.There are some skills individuals with disabilities may never learn. Therefore, it is criticalthat a decision be made as to when to stop trying to teach a selected skill and look at waysin which the student can function without it. For example, many times we see juniors andseniors in high school working on simple math facts. We must ask ourselves: “We havebeen working on this skill for 10-11 years. The student has not learned it. Why do wethink we can help him learn this in the next one or two years?” The answer is that weprobably cannot. Therefore, it makes sense to teach the student to live without the skill, orprovide accommodations such as the use of a calculator. Decisions such as this must bemade by the IEP team.6

Why Is Community-Based Training Important?The second important part of a good school foundation is that instruction takes place inthe setting in which the skill being trained is actually performed. For some students, onlyoccasional instruction in the actual environment is necessary. For others, the majority ofinstruction should take place in the natural setting. It has been discovered that studentswith mild disabilities can often take what they learn in one setting and apply it to another.This is called generalization. However, for students with more severe disabilities, talkingand discussing a particular skill would not be enough. For example, some students canlearn job-interviewing skills during a classroom discussion. Others will only learn the skillsthrough experience by practicing the skills in the community. They must be instructed atthe site where the skill is used and be allowed to experience the activity. In this sense, thecommunity becomes an extension of the classroom!What Are Integrated Settings?Integrated settings indicate that individuals with disabilities work in settings whereindividuals without disabilities work. Individuals with severe disabilities can learn workskills and become valuable employees. Work experience should always be conducted withan eye on the future so we can use the experience to determine the services and supportsthe student will need after he/she leaves school. We must be aware that just as students’educational needs vary, what they will need to maintain employment will also vary greatlyfrom student to student. It is always important to consider what the student will need totransition into the world of work.7

What Is the Intent of Work Experience?Work experience is more than learning a specific work task. Students may be placed on awork site for issues and needs related to the development of social skills or otherbehavioral issues. The work experience gives the student an opportunity to practice socialskills, functional academic skills, communication and motor skills in differentenvironments. A student’s performance on a particular job task may be slow or sporadic,and the “job” or task assigned may be beyond the student’s capabilities. However, thegoals documented on the student’s IEP will dictate what is to be addressed at the worksite. We must strive for improvement in the goal areas and increasing independence!It is not the intent of work experience programs to furnish employers with employees—infact, there are labor laws and educational policies that make that very clear. We mustalways see work experience as an extension of the classroom and ensure we have created alearning environment in the community that is directed by the needs of the student anddriven by IEP goals. We must always re-evaluate these goals and keep the student movingforward.What Student Work Issues Do We Need To Consider?Your supervisor must consider several issues when placing students on job sites in thecommunity. There are issues regarding federal and state labor laws for student workersand issues that relate to safety concerns for the student. Although your supervisor willhave the responsibility to ensure each work site is consistent with labor laws and districtpolicies, you should have a general understanding of the following issues: Students cannot work in hazardous jobs. The Department of Labor lists severalcategories of jobs which students may not perform. This varies with the age of thestudent. Your supervisor should have these regulations. Therefore, it is important thatas a job coach you do not allow the student to perform any other job than what thestudent is specifically assigned to do without checking with your supervisor.8

Your school district will have policies covering liability for students involved in workexperience in the community. Generally, school districts consider work experience anextension of the classroom and, therefore, consider students covered under theirgeneral insurance policy. This is particularly applicable for students who are not paid,and, therefore, are not covered by workers compensation, and for activities related topaid work that would not be covered by the employer's insurance (i.e. transportation).You should discuss this with your supervisor to ensure you understand your district'spolicies and procedures. Some school districts have chosen to add a specific rider totheir general policy for coverage of work experience.There are numerous other concerns and issues related to laws, district policies, and liabilityissues. It is not necessary to discuss these issues in detail.It must be remembered that the work experience is to meet theeducational needs of the student as outlined in the goals and objectivesof the student’s IEP, and is not designed to meet the labor needs of theemployer.9

What Are the Federal Guidelines for Students in Unpaid WorkExperience?Work experience for students may be paid or unpaid. If the experience is unpaid,generally, the student should not work in that specific position for more than 215 hours.Where ALL of the following criteria are met, the U.S. Department of Labor will notassert an employment relationship for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Participants will be youth with disabilities Purpose is for vocational exploration, assessment, or training under generalsupervision of school personnel Placements are clearly defined components of the IEP Students and parents are fully informed of the placement, participate voluntarily, andacknowledge student is not entitled to wages Documentation of the student’s enrollment in the program will be made available toDepartments of Labor and Education (other than IEP) The activities of the student do not result in an immediate advantage to the employerThere is no displacement of employeesStudents are under continued supervision by school or business employeesPlacements are made according to requirements of the IEPThe period of time at any one site or job classification are limited by the IEPGenerally, each component will not exceed the following limitation during any one schoolyear:Vocational exploration – 5 hrs per job experiencedVocational assessment – 90 hrs per job experienced10

Vocational training – 120 hrs per job experiencedStudents are not entitled to employment at the business at the conclusion of the IEP.However, once a student has become an employee, the student cannot be considered atrainee at that particular community-based placement, unless in a clearly distinguishableoccupation.11

What Happens After They Leave High School?A free, appropriate education for students with disabilities is mandated by law until theyare age 21 or choose to graduate. However, services after graduation are NOT mandated.As we consider the range of employment outcomes, it becomes apparent that thestudent’s community-based experiences will provide a wealth of information for thestudent, their parents, and any adult service provider who may provide post-schoolemployment services. The work experiences the student has while in school can be theguide and prescription for the student’s post-school employment needs. The informationgathered might determine who should provide adult services and help in thedetermination of eligibility for adult services. Most importantly, this information willdetermine what it will require to help the student achieve success.No Special ServicesSome students with disabilities leave school needing no assistance. They will be able toenter the work force with no special services. Most of the time, these students use thepathways available to all students to enter employment—that is, family and friends. Theymay also take advantage of services in the community which are available to all people.For example, they may attend some type of post-secondary training institute. Perhapsspecial accommodations are made, but for the most part, the students make the transitionsuccessfully using the services that their non-disabled peers use.Time-Limited ServicesA time-limited service probably describes the needs of the majority of students withdisabilities leaving the school system. Students leave school and take advantage of specialprograms designed to provide temporary services leading to employment. Services ofVocational Rehabilitation are a good example of temporary, time-limited services.Training programs at vocational-technical schools are another example. They are intendedto be short-term services leading to employment. For another example, a young adult mayenroll in a semester or year of auto mechanics. After the training, the young adult isexpected to be able to find employment in that area of training. He/she may needassistance in securing employment from agencies such as Vocational Rehabilitation, butafter the services have ended, the individual is expected to be an independent employee.12

On-Going ServicesSome students will need assistance in securing and maintainingemployment all their life. For the most part, these individuals includestudents with the more severe disabilities. However, just as instructional settings cannot bedetermined based on TYPE of disability, neither can the support necessary to make asuccessful transition. Rather, this decision should be based upon the needs of theindividual, regardless of disability.These on-going services have been defined as life-long.What Happens to the Information We Have on Students?Information gathered on students will help determine eligibility for adult services, whoshould provide adult services, and what it will require to help the student achieve success.13

We must make the most of every work experience siteand help the student achieve the greatest level ofcompetency and independence. We must also be surethat we do not lose what we learn; written documentationof these experiences is critical to a coordinated system(schools and adult agencies) that builds upon eachsuccessive experience.Chapter Objectives14


The Role of the Para-Educator/Job CoachYou are a very important component in the overall success of a student’s learningtasks and appropriate social skills in the workplace. You are a valuable memberof the team and it is our hope that this training will supply you with additionaltools for the job.You are also important in the ongoing relationship between the community and yourschool district. The manner in which you deliver job coaching services will be viewed byindividuals in the workplace and can be very influential in affecting changes in the mythsabout persons who experience disabilities.What Is A Para-Educator?A para-educator is a school employee whose position is either instructional in nature, orwho delivers other services to students. A para-educator works under the supervision of acertified teacher. The teacher is responsible for the overall management of the classroom,including the design, implementation and evaluation of instructional programs andstudent progress. “Para” means “alongside” of an educator.What Is the Code of Ethics for a Para-Educator?A code of ethics defines and describes acceptable practices. The following code of ethicsfor para-educators outlines the specific responsibilities of the para-educator, as well as therelationships that must be maintained with students, parents, teachers, school, andcommunity.Accepting Responsibilities: Recognize that the teacher has the ultimate responsibility for the instruction andmanagement of students. You must follow the directions prescribed by him/her. Engage only in activities for which you are qualified or trained. You must not communicate progress or concerns about students to parents unlessdirected to do so by the teacher. You must refer concerns expressed by parents, students, or others to the teacher.Relationships with Students and Parents: You should discuss a student’s progress, limitations, and/or educational program onlywith the supervising teacher in the appropriate setting.16

You should discuss school problems and confidential matters only with appropriatepersonnel.You must refrain from engaging in discriminatory practices based on a student’sdisability, race, sex, cultural background or religion.It is important to respect the dignity, privacy, and individuality of all students, parents,and staff members.Present yourself as a positive adult role model.Relationship with the Teacher: Recognize the teacher as a supervisor and team leader. Establish communication and a positive relationship with the teacher. Discuss concerns about the teacher or teaching methods directly with the teacher.Relationship with the School: Accept responsibility for improving skills. Know school policies and procedures. Represent the school district in a positive manner.What Is A Job Coach?A job coach is usually a para-educator employed by the school district or educationalservice unit to work in employment settings with persons who have disabilities. Jobcoaching may be one of many responsibilities assigned to a paraprofessional/job coach.What Is The Role of the Job Coach?A job coach provides educational services in the work environment for students withdisabilities. Instruction is provided in the community work setting which allows thestudent increased opportunities to learn employable skills and behaviors. Your role is tofollow the Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals and objectives for each assigned student.Because of your importance in the overall success of a student’s work experience, it isimperative that you demonstrate professionalism in your daily activities. You will besetting an example for the student on the proper way to dress, behave and interact in theworkplace. There are numerous areas, therefore, that you should be conscious of whenyou perform your job as a paraprofessional/job coach.Part of your role as a para-educator/job coach will be to demonstrate the following: Proper dressing and grooming skills17

PunctualityAppropriate ways to interact with others in the workplaceAbility to pro-actively problem solveEffective communicationPatienceAbility to use respectful and “people first” language in all phases of support activities18

Job Coach ResponsibilitiesTypically, Job Coach responsibilities may include the following: Become familiar with each student’s IEP and vocational objectives designedfor the work site. It is your responsibility to carry out these IEP goals and objectivesas assigned. Communicate with your supervisor about job training sites on a systematic andconsistent basis, including problems and concerns. You will be expected to“troubleshoot” problems that occur in work sites, such as production problems, themethod of performing tasks, relationships with co-workers, boredom, frustration, etc.These problems need to be addressed and communicated with your supervisor. Maintain confidentiality about all personal information and educationalrecords concerning students and their families. As a para-educator/job coach, youwill have access to confidential information concerning the students you work with. Itis very important that this information be treated with utmost discretion. You will bein settings with numerous individuals outside of the school building. People mayapproach you with questions about the student’s disability or other types ofinformation about the student. Your response to these individuals should be made insuch a way as to focus on the abilities of the student rather than specifics about theirdisabilities. You should not talk about any student, staff, school personnel, etc. thatyou are working with when you are in a public setting, especially not referring to thatindividual by name. Never leave written materials that you have about the student inany public area unattended. Keep all information at school in a designated area. Follow district policies for protecting the health, safety, and well being ofstudents. These policies may vary among school districts; therefore, you will need torefer to your district’s policies. It is imperative that you follow your school district’spolicies and procedures for confidentiality very carefully. Collect and record data about student performance. It is important, too, for youto understand that your job is a part of a much larger picture in the overall life of thestudents you are working with. Each job site enables those students to gain valuableskills. It will be extremely helpful for you to maintain detailed reports on how thestudent is doing at the work site. The information should include any changes notedin the student’s behavior, their attitude about doing the work, the speed with which19

they are able to pick up assigned tasks, and how well the student is able to do theassigned tasks when you are not directly prompting them. Later, this information willbe valuable to adult service providers in helping to determine the types of work skillsthat best match the student’s unique skills, interests and abilities. Follow through with suggestions and procedures given by your supervisor.These instructions may come to you in the form of a task analysis, where specified jobtasks are broken down into smaller, teachable increments. Remember that thecommunity work experiences are to be learning experiences for the student. Your rolewill be to assist them in learning the appropriate social skills and the necessary workskills as outlined in the student’s IEP. Facilitate communication with employers, as appropriate. This would include,among other things, schedule adjustments, changes, and feedback of student and staffperformance. Serve as a link between the school and community work site setting. Remember,you are a public relations ambassador. A job coach may be asked to transport students. A job coach may also be a part of the student’s IEP planning team.20

Who Is My Supervisor?You are an assistant to the Vocational Coordinator (Vocational Counselor, or otherperson designated at your school). Your first responsibility is to perform the tasksassigned by the Coordinator and to communicate all questions and concerns to theCoordinator. He/she is here to help you maximize the student’s success. Your supervisorwill specify what skills the student will be working on in a specific work setting.Chapter Objectives21


DisabilitiesDisabilities Which Qualify Children and Youth for SpecialEducation Services Under the Individuals With DisabilitiesEducation Act (IDEA)The Education of the Handicapped Act, Public Law (P.L.) 94-142, was passed byCongress in 1975 and amended by P.L. 99-457 in 1986 to ensure that all children withdisabilities would have a free and appropriate (to meet individual needs) public educationavailable to them. It was again amended in 1990 and the name was changed to IDEA.IDEA defines “children with disabilities” as having any of the following types ofdisabilities: autism, deaf, deaf-blindness, hearing impairments (including deafness), mentalretardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairments, other health impairments,serious emotional disturbance, specific learning disabilities, speech or languageimpairments, traumatic brain injury, and visual impairments (including blindness).AutismAutism is a developmental disability, diagnosed by a medical doctor, which significantlyaffects verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evidentbefore the age of three, that adversely affects educational performance. Othercharacteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities andstereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines,and unusual responses to sensory experiences.23

General CharacteristicsAutism affects all aspects of a person’s life, particularly a person’s ability to communicateto and have relationships with others. Students with autism may relate to people, objects,or events poorly. They may not be able to start or maintain relationships with others theirown age, or show appropriate behavior under normal circumstances. They seem to preferisolation and self-stimulation, but may develop an attachment to others over long periodsof time. Physical, social, self-help, and language skills may be delayed, and there is aninability to learn that can’t be explained by health or intellectual reasons.Tips for Instructing a Student with AutismIt is best to provide a routine structure. The student will need consistent instruction over along period of time with tasks taught in small steps. Teaching routines will help thestudent to adapt to the school and work settings. It’s important to keep the environmentconsistent so that the student will be able to find his/her own materials. Feelings andverbal descriptions make no sense, so you must be concrete with descriptions. It is best todraw a picture, go to the actual setting, or examine the actual object. Social skills must betaught and positive behaviors should be consistently reinforced. Self-stimulating behaviorshould be ignored, unless it is harmful or interferes with learning or productivity. Becauseof difficulties with verbal communication, provisions for other modes of communicationshould be provided. Remember to be patient. The student is not doing things to make youmad, he is j

The Job Coach Training Manual for school personnel was developed to enhance the quality of work experience programs for students with disabilities. The job coach is a critical link