Helping or Hovering? Effects of Instructional Assistant Proximity on Students with Disabilities

Michael F. Giangreco, Susan W. Edelman, Tracy Evans Luiselli, Stephanie Z.C. Macfarland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

214 Scopus citations


This study presents data on the effects of the proximity of instructional assistants on students with multiple disabilities who are placed in general education classrooms. Based on extensive observations and interviews, analyses of the data highlighted eight major findings of educational significance, all related to proximity of instructional assistants. Categories of findings and discussion include (a) interference with ownership and responsibility by general educators, (b) separation from classmates, (c) dependence on adults, (d) impact on peer interactions, (e) limitations on receiving competent instruction, (f) loss of personal control, (g) loss of gender identity, and (h) interference with instruction of other students. The article concludes with implications for practice related to policy development, training, classroom practices, and research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-18
Number of pages12
JournalExceptional Children
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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