About Me

I am a qualified SENDCo and experienced primary and SEND teacher, with seventeen years of practice in the state and private educational sectors. Other positions held in schools have been Mathematics and Computing Coordinator, and I have always loved teaching History and Geography. In fact, if I wasn’t in education, I’d be an archaeologist. My specialist skills and experience of supporting students identified as ASD and ADHD, and also students with behaviour needs, and speech, language and communication needs, has included delivering structured sessions that incorporate PECs, and Makaton to aid and develop communication and language skills. I ensure that sessions have a structure with meaningful activities to help develop independence. Additionally, sessions are differentiated to incorporate the individual learning styles of students, including a focus on play-based, visual and kinaesthetic methods and I am always keen to use technology that is educationally targeted to promote the learning aims of sessions.

 

£110 Per Hour

minimum 1.5 hour sessions

Specialist Experience and Skills

As a SEND specialist (qualified SENDCo with QTS, Masters in Special and Inclusive Education, and BA Ancient History), I have experience of planning, assessing and implementing fun and practical lessons specially adapted and tailored to the needs of individual students to ensure they reach their full potential. I have worked with KS1 through to KS5 and FE including young adults (aged 18-25).  Throughout my career I have worked with students identified as having: ASD (Autism), dyslexia, dyspraxia, challenging behaviour, ADHD, SEMH, Global Delay Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, and Downs Syndrome. ... Read More
As a SEND specialist (qualified SENDCo with QTS, Masters in Special and Inclusive Education, and BA Ancient History), I have experience of planning, assessing and implementing fun and practical lessons specially adapted and tailored to the needs of individual students to ensure they reach their full potential. I have worked with KS1 through to KS5 and FE including young adults (aged 18-25).  Throughout my career I have worked with students identified as having: ASD (Autism), dyslexia, dyspraxia, challenging behaviour, ADHD, SEMH, Global Delay Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, and Downs Syndrome. I focus on assessing students who have long or short-term learning difficulties in order to plan differentiated and appropriate activities for them. I ensure positive behaviour management strategies are in place for students that would benefit from this support.

How my sessions work: I believe in structured and focused sessions with clear targets and aims. Sessions are broken down to manageable segments depending on the ability of every student, and if needed short movement breaks can improve the overall concentration of students and the positive outcomes for the sessions. I like to ensure my sessions include lots of visual representations, including pictures, diagrams, Widgit symbols and flash cards, but also role–play and demonstrations. In short, they are fun and engaging but importantly are tailored to improve and meet the needs and targets of students. Additionally, depending on the ability of students it can be beneficial to keep language simple and include instructions that are short and clear and use simple vocabulary.  It is important to speak slowly and clearly and leave gaps between sentences to allow students to process what has been heard.  I use lots of repetition and encourage students to visualise what they hear. Sessions always include modelling and scaffolding, to ensure students have clear instructions and expectations of how to complete a task. Written tasks will include visual instructions and representations in order to allow the student to understand how to finish a task. It is important to cover as much as possible in each session, and homework can be provided on request. Inclusion of all students is important, and when working with students identified as being autistic or ADHD, it is important to encourage a problem-solving approach with the student rather than a judgmental one, but be assertive but, avoid sarcasm. I always make the effort to make an emotional connection with all the students I have worked with, but this is important when working with autistic and ADHD students. I have experience of promoting positive behaviour strategies to enable students to learn the skills to enable them to fully access the curriculum. In addition, my previous roles have included Mathematics and Computing Coordinator. Having worked in London as a primary teacher, I have lots of experience in supporting the needs of EAL students. I spent three years teaching English, Mathematics, Computing and PE in an international school in Hamburg, Germany and developed bilingual immersion programs for these EAL students. I am supportive, patience and understanding of all the students I work with. A holistic approach is the best way to fully meet the needs of all learners, enabling every student the best experience in reaching their full potential. When working with SEND students, I follow these action points:

  • Assess where and what a student’s support needs are;

  • Plan the strategies to be used with students and share this information with the learner and those who support them (including parents and carers);

  • Review and monitor the success and impact of support and strategies;

  • Decisions are reviewed and revised in order for the next steps to be implemented.


Inclusion of all students is important, and when working with autistic students, it is important to encourage a problem-solving approach with the student rather than a judgmental one. I always make the effort to make an emotional connection with all the students I have worked with, but this is important when working with autistic students. I have experience of promoting positive behaviour strategies to enable students to learn the skills to enable them to fully access the curriculum.

My experience helping children with autism understand emotions and feelings: ASD children can often find it hard to understand emotions and feelings. My experience of working with ASD children is to give them the foundations to build skills in recognising and managing their emotions. This might include using PECs, Makaton or social stories.

My skills and experience creating structure, routine and consistency for children and young adults with ASD (autism): Having learnt the importance of creating a structured environment for students and young adults with ASD, it is paramount to ensure a familiar routine including consistency. My classes when I was a form tutor would always start the day with sensory activities. These would include sensory music, which was followed by a register using photos of all students present. Students were encouraged to find their photo to affirm that they were in school. Next the class engaged in going over the daily PEC timetable, which would be displayed on the interactive whiteboard, to ensure all students could access the information. The use of familiar daily good morning songs encouraged the students to participate. At the end of the day, I would repeat with a goodbye song, and students moving their photos to indicate that they were going home. Additionally, a reward chart for each student was important to allow them to gain a sense of self-worth and to enjoy a pleasurable activity at the end of the day. In my experience creating a structured environment conducive to the well being of ASD students and young adults worked towards decreasing negative behaviours, lessen student anxiety, increase independence and increase efficiency. The overall aim is to create predictability, which is very important to all of us, but especially to ASD learners. Overall, creating an environment using routines and visual strategies, work systems to maximise efficiency and also the psychical layout of the classroom, including workstations all benefited the learning experience of ASD students and young adults.

My skills and experience working with students with autism to develop their play skills and social skills: Learning through play is an important developmental stage for all children. Encouraging children identified as ASD to explore and play is an important step. As a professional it is important to create opportunities to engage with the child at their level and find out what motivates them. In essence, some need to be taught to play. Understanding that ASD children might not interact or play as other as other children do, it is important to encourage ‘playing skills’. Introducing a variety of activities will help to encourage ASD children to learn how to interact and play. To develop social skills, role playing can be an important first step to encourage and develop positive social interaction amongst ASD children.  In my roles as a SEN teacher, this has been an important way to help children process their environment but also on how to socially interact with those around them, including their peers. Playing games together can also help to reinforce social skills, even something as basic as kicking a ball together, or playing hide and seek. Play based learning as defined by Vygotsky's 'zone of proximal development’, allows students the opportunity to engage in activities, whilst under the guidance of their teacher. Having been the tutor of a complex needs class, I have had the experience of organising and implementing a variety of play based learning activities which have included investigative games like finding toys and objects in sand, activities which help to develop fine and gross motor skills and outdoor play sessions which help develop and improve flexibility, muscle strength, and coordination. It can also help them improve body awareness, motor skills and balance. There are many benefits of allowing students the opportunity to engage in play-based activities.

My skills and experience planning and organising specialist activities for students and young adults with SEN - developing a structure and routine: It is always a pleasure to plan an organise events for students in a SEND environment. My experience has led me to organise a variety of activities. Previously, I have arranged and taken classes on weekly trips to urban farms. Many students loved interacting with the animals and looked forward to the trips. In another school I worked in, near the Thames, I would organise weekly walks to and around Ham House and Richmond Park. It is important to offer a variety of opportunities to students and young adults with SEN, including those that promote healthy living, exercise and exposure to the local community.

My skills and experience developing trusting relationships with students with autism and SEND: Building trust with any student, and particularly SEND students is of particular importance. I always build positive relationships with students by using humour but also by engaging in fun and structured activities. Being organised and creating a structured environment is key to providing a stable and nurturing environment. When students know what to expect, especially ASD students, it can help to lessen anxiety and boost morale. Additionally, as a teacher, forward planning of the layout of room can be helpful. Knowing where to sit each student will create a positive learning environment.

My skills and experience boosting students’ self-esteem and confidence: Leading on from the developing trust with SEND students, encouraging self-esteem and confidence is a vital aspect of my job. Experience has taught me that by allowing and providing opportunities for play based sessions, which are engaging, and fun can go a long way to boosting self-esteem. Also, creating a calm classroom, that is tidy and well organised will attribute to promoting student mental well-being. Keeping toys and resources in designated places, clearly labelled, including with labels that ASD students can understand (Communicate In Print).

My experience of teaching students with language delay: I have worked with many students with SLCN over the course of my career, mostly in a SEND school setting. It is important in a classroom setting to ensure that the student or students are appropriately seated in the classroom. This would entail, placing them so that they can clearly see the teachers face when they are talking. Additionally, I use Makaton to communicate, and use lots of visuals to support their learning. These might include visual timetables, symbols and short video clips to supplement a lesson. It is vital to allow time for students to process requests or questions, and to also allow ample time for them to respond or to complete a task.

I use and follow the Positive Behaviour Strategy (PBS), of which I have been trained in. PBS is a person-centred approach to people with a learning disability who may be at risk of displaying challenging behaviours. It is backed by evidence from behavioural science and provides support based on inclusion, choice, participation and equality of opportunity. It is important to understand the reasons for behaviour so that unmet needs can be met. Equally important is considering the person as a whole - their life history, physical health and emotional needs. This is so that understanding behaviour can focus on being proactive and preventative, concentrating on the teaching of new skills to replace behaviours that challenge. It is also important to focus on teaching new skills rather than containing behaviours that can be described as challenging.

My skills and experience working with students with dyspraxia: Having worked with students identified as having dyspraxia, there are various ways in which to support these students. Providing the correct types of pencils, especially those that have rubber grips or are weighted, and oversized can enable these students to better coordinate their writing. Providing other forms of recording information, such as on an iPad, or a computer can make a change to activities that involve writing. Additionally, ensuring they can easily see the whiteboard, or have visual access to information relating to a lesson/activity is a necessity, with clear guidelines as how they can achieve the lesson objectives. Scaffolding a task is important to allow students the opportunity to see how a task can be completed.  Lastly, providing breaks, which include fun, but educational activities can break tasks up into manageable sizes.

My skills and experience of working and supporting students with ADHD: Throughout my career in both primary and SEND education, I have worked with and supporting many students identified as having ADHD. My approach has always been to develop structure in a familiar setting and to always be prepared. This also included sticking to routines. It is also additionally important to help students to become organised themselves. This can be as simple as ensuring they have a sharp pencil and rubber ready to start work, rather than looking around the classroom for a pencil to use. Other strategies include seating ADHD students in appropriate areas in the classroom, where there is less of a possibility of them becoming distracted, like at the front of the classroom, away from doors and windows, or pairing them with students who are more focused on learning. In a SEND setting, it is good practice to support ADHD students by letting them work at a workstation that is enclosed, to limit possible distraction and to have all the work and tasks ready and stored in a small mobile set of draws. Everything they need, including rewards is at hand. Movement breaks, which can be important for ADHD students can be worked into their routine. Especially for SEND students, the use of a timer, is a visual indicator of how much time they have for a reward or movement break.

Using physical activity in my sessions: Having taught PE and being a keen sportsman, I like to promote the message of engaging in as much physical activity as possible. Moving in any way possible is important for health. For me, making PE activities fun is key. I take a high tempo approach where possible, making students, as much as they can, work hard. Also important are calming activities and sessions, such as yoga which include correct warm up and warm down activities.

Teaching life skills including cooking: In many of my previous roles, I have taught cooking, with an emphasis on healthy eating. Teaching life skills is an important part of SEND education. To enable ASD students and young adults were able to make the most of these sessions, I always printed the recipes and instructions using Communicate In Print (Widget) and started the lessons by exploring the smells, and textures of the ingredients and also and type of cooking utensils that were going to be used.

My experience of teaching English: Having started my career in primary teaching, I have worked in state schools, but also spent three years teaching in an international school in Germany. For me, it was important to engage and immerse the children that I taught in a range of creative activities beforehand. For example, using art, sculpture or drama linked to an English topic. This allowed children to develop their vocabulary, which in turn gave their reading fresh purpose and meaning. When I was teaching in primary school, for me it was important to expose children to a range of different literature and texts, even from an early age to introduce the concept of grammar. Children begin to understand grammar concepts, and start to apply them in their own writing, when they start to read with a writer's mind. Punctuation rules and techniques are drawn from shared texts; texts which the children have already been immersed in and have a good understanding of. Exploring these and embedding them creatively is how the learning takes place. The teaching of phonics and spelling is also vital. I try to make all phonics and spelling activities fun, multi-sensory and as physical possible, the aim being to meet all learning styles in the class. Additionally, homework lists were as personalised to the child as possible to ensure that the spelling patterns stick in a meaningful way.

My skills and experience working with students with autism to develop their fine-motor skills: Having worked closely with occupational therapists in schools to help promote fine motor skills with ASD students, I incorporated these activities into daily routines. They can be fun, and also act as stimulating, playful activities. Some of the activities I have used to promote fine motor skills have included:

  • Looking for hidden objects in Playdough;

  • Make slime or another resistive texture to allow the child to pull apart and squeeze;

  • Use a squeeze toy;

  • Use magnet tiles or construction blocks to pull apart and piece together;

  • Put Velcro strips on the back pieces of puzzles for there to be some resistance when pulling;

  • Use clothespins or tongs to pick up small manipulatives to sort;

  • Use a squeeze bottle to water plants;

  • Put coins into a piggy bank;

  • Lace blocks/beads of various sizes onto string or pipe cleaners;

  • Use broken crayons to facilitate a proper pencil grasp;

  • Peel stickers;

  • Use a hole punch;

  • Cut out simple shapes or along a line;

  • Build letters out pipe cleaners.


My skills and experience working with students who are non or minimal verbal or with a speech delay: I have had lots of experience throughout my SEND career of working with students who can be identified as being non, or minimal verbal or having a speech delay. As a class teacher, I have had numerous students in my class who could be identified as this. It is firstly important to recognise that this is a broad spectrum, and that many students will have some ability to read and write. Additionally, it is important to understand that all students fall into one continuum of literacy skill development, progressing through the following stages: Early emergent, later emergent, transitional, beginning conventional, to later conventional. In order to enable non or minimal verbal students to access the curriculum I encouraged students to use an augmentative or alternative communication (AAC) system to assist with learning. This is often in conjunction with the SLT in a school. Use of AAC facilitates literacy learning and literacy skills in turn can facilitate more sophisticated communication. Both lead to increased self-esteem, opportunities, and independence. PECS are another useful tool to enable students to communicate their needs. They are best used in combination with a SLT. I have always used PECS, not only with non or minimal verbal students but with any student that might benefit from their use. I used Communicate in Print, part of the Widget family, to make my own PECS which could be designed to work with every individual student. I use PECS throughout the day, for example starting the day off by choosing the correct day of the week or choosing the names of all students present in the class that day. They are really useful for reinforcing a visual representation.

 My specialist skills and experience teaching students with sensory processing disorder: Throughout my career I have taught many students identified as having sensory process issues, including those students with hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity. It is important to provide resources that will enable them to regulate emotions in order to best access the curriculum. These resources might include a weighted lap pad, weighted vest, a wiggle cushion, or other OT-approved sensory tools. Some students would benefit from earplugs or ear defenders to help with noise sensitivity. I always encourage students to use handheld fidgets. Additionally, it is important to keep routines as normal as possible. Have a daily routine that changes as little as possible is an important coping strategy. For example, as a teacher I would

  • Give advance warning of routine changes;

  • Build in brain breaks throughout the day;

  • Establish clear starting and ending times for tasks;

  • Post visual schedules, directions, class rules and expectations; make sure the student sees them;

  • Use visuals with pictures of sensory input choices.


My experience supporting students to prepare and transition to employment: Working with older students within a SEND further education setting, I have worked to prepare them for college and future employment. This involved preparing and marking ASDAN work and profiles, but also teaching functional Mathematics, English and Computing in order for students to gain accreditation in order to prepare them for the adult world. Additionally, I have helped students to find work placements and work experience to give them a practical sense of work, and also helping and assisting them to create a CV.

My experience ensuring that young adults develop their overall wellbeing, including independence and healthy eating: In education these days is a focus on the well-being of students, including mental and physical well-being. Quite rightly so. Building and prompting independence is a corner stone of SEND education. As a practitioner to promote independence I have in the past:

  • Provided choices. One easy way of starting to build independence is to give students choices. This might be choosing what they eat for lunch;

  • Avoid doing things for students and to keep giving students the opportunities to practice and improve their skills. This includes things like tying shoelaces or doing up a jacket;

  • Provide challenging and stimulating activities to develop skills;

  • Use assistive communication devices. To use communication devices to support students and help them to be more successful and independent;

  • Set goals. Find out what they’re interested in and what they want to achieve, including those students who are non verbal;

  • Allow opportunities for students to get out and about into the local community, use shops, libraries, leisure centres, and to go swimming (depending on covid risk assessments in the current climate).


My experience of healthy eating has been to involve parents as much as possible, including acting on their feedback. This has included planning cooking lessons involving healthy eating and respecting the dietary needs of all students, including religious dietary needs. Overall, taking a holistic approach to teaching and learning and incorporating these aspects into planning has worked for me to promote a sense of overall well-being for students.

My experience working with students with challenging behaviour: Throughout my career I have worked closely to help support students that at times have displayed challenging behaviour. I believe that as a teacher and tutor, my role is to understand the reasons behind certain behaviours in order to best support students in order for them to lead a meaningful and purposeful life. It is vital to facilitate and provide students with the necessary tools and coping methods to achieve this.

My specialist skills and experience teaching students with sensory processing disorder: Throughout my career I have taught many students identified as having sensory process issues, including those students with hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity. It is important to provide resources that will enable them to regulate emotions in order to best access the curriculum. These resources might include a weighted lap pad, weighted vest, a wiggle cushion, or other OT-approved sensory tools. Some students would benefit from earplugs or ear defenders to help with noise sensitivity. I always encourage students to use handheld fidgets. Additionally, it is important to keep routines as normal as possible. Have a daily routine that changes as little as possible is an important coping strategy. For example, as a teacher I would

  • Give advance warning of routine changes;

  • Build in brain breaks throughout the day;

  • Establish clear starting and ending times for tasks;

  • Post visual schedules, directions, class rules and expectations; make sure the student sees them;

  • Use visuals with pictures of sensory input choices.


My experience providing teaching students in nursery or early years: Having originally trained as a primary school teacher, I started off teaching the lower years. My first class was a year three class and that experience of having to break down tasks for so that they are accessible is a useful skill that I find particularly useful working with SEND students. Overall, I worked for six years in primary education. My experience also entailed a block of working within nursery and early years for my teacher training.

How I provide feedback and communicate with parents: Communication with parents and careers is an important aspect of working in SEND education, especially for those students who are non-verbal or with limited language skills. As a teacher, I would communicate daily with parents by writing in a home communication book, giving a brief but concise outlook of that day and what their child had achieved. Another way of communicating with parents was by a phone call on Fridays to touch base and answer any questions parents or carers might have. Parents evenings were another important face to face way of communicating and allowing parents to ask questions regarding the curricula, student progress and any other questions they might have had. Responding to parental emails within 24 hours is also an important standard for a teacher which demonstrates a professional working manner.

My Teaching Philosophy

My teaching approach is holistic and includes a student-centred approach, assessing the specific needs and tailoring lessons and activities to suit the needs of individual learning styles. I put an emphasis on using PECs, flashcards, Widget symbols and Makaton to support learning and utilise a wide range of different structured educational focused methods and resources. These include using technology, incorporating iPads but also sensory and tactile activities

Achieving a level of independence is an important life skill. I believe in creating opportunities to allow students to develop their independence and life skills, this could be as simple as encouraging students to go for walks in their local community, utilise shops, and to pay for goods to develop money skills. Of course, with the current situation around Covid, risk assessments must be adhered to and good hygiene encouraged.

 

Something Sensational About Me

Having lived in Germany and Australia, I am always keen to explore new places and meet new people, including trying out local delicacies. Having been a keen rugby player I maintain keeping fit by jogging and regularly working out in my local gym.

 

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    Availability

    • Monday 8.00am - 12.00pm
    • Tuesday 8.00am - 5.00pm
    • Wednesday 8.00am - 12.00pm
    • Thursday 8.00am - 12.00pm
    • Friday 9.00am - 5.00pm

    Qualifications and Training

    • Qualified SENDCo;
    • Masters in Special and Inclusive Education;
    • Qualified Primary Teacher (ages 5 -11);
    • BA in Ancient History;
    • Positive Behaviour Strategy (PBS) trained;
    • TEACHH Certificate (Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication-handicapped Children).
    ... Read More
    • Qualified SENDCo;
    • Masters in Special and Inclusive Education;
    • Qualified Primary Teacher (ages 5 -11);
    • BA in Ancient History;
    • Positive Behaviour Strategy (PBS) trained;
    • TEACHH Certificate (Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication-handicapped Children).

    Choose me if…

    • You want a calm, fun and methodical approach to supporting the progress of SEND students.

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