What is shadow support?

A shadow support (sometimes called a shadow teacher) is a trained professional who can help a struggling student learn effectively and integrate in a mainstream school environment. Students with conditions such as high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder, severe language learning difficulties, mild cognitive deficits, and ADHD will struggle at some stage of their classroom lives. Yet, studies have shown that when these students are given the appropriate level of shadow support, they can thrive in a mainstream environment.

Under the guidance of a great shadow, academic goals are made possible, alongside skills of communication and organization.


A great shadow is a wonderful asset to a student’s learning experience in school. He/She can help in the following ways:

  • • Facilitate skills that enable the student to pay attention to classroom instructions.
  • • Train the student to cope with classroom curriculum on a “here and now” real time basis.
  • • Help the classroom teacher understand the student’s challenges and learning needs.
  • • Create situations where the student could practise social skills.
  • • Ensure that the speech language therapy, and occupational therapy goals are implemented in the classroom situation for better results.

What are its Advantages?

A fully trained shadow support is an asset to the student who otherwise would have trouble fitting in and adapting to the mainstream school environment.
Additionally, working closely with the therapist at the centre would mean that the shadow is equipped with the skills necessary to not just adapt, but truly learn.

How do I know if my child needs shadowing

A consultation with our Speech Language Pathologist, along with an assessment by an Educational Psychologist would provide us with an indication of whether the child requires shadowing.

Will this create a crutch mentality?

A great shadow possesses great dynamic skills that allow her to know when to step back and when to jump in. Focus is on building skills at every opportune moment, including classrooms and during breaks. Focus is also on building independence so that the shadow can be weaned off at the right moment.

Faciliating Independence

At every stage, the shadow will be fostering competency, and independence of learning.
Wherever possible, support would be gradually faded out so that the student does not develop a crutch when it comes to learning.