Specialist Experience and Skills
I have met and have fallen in love with the SEN world first as a volunteer, as a care worker/support worker at children's homes coordinating extracurricular activities and following Individual Education Plans and Individual Educational and Behaviour plans. I have also been working as a SEN teaching assistant in special schools first as a supply SEN teaching assistant, later on as a SEN 1:1 teaching assistant, worked with children with speech and language impairment and diagnose of autism, under supervision and guideline of a speech and language therapist. I have also led teaching sessions... Read More
I have met and have fallen in love with the SEN world first as a volunteer, as a care worker/support worker at children's homes coordinating extracurricular activities and following Individual Education Plans and Individual Educational and Behaviour plans. I have also been working as a SEN teaching assistant in special schools first as a supply SEN teaching assistant, later on as a SEN 1:1 teaching assistant, worked with children with speech and language impairment and diagnose of autism, under supervision and guideline of a speech and language therapist. I have also led teaching sessions with groups of SEN children with diagnoses of ADD/ADHD, EBD, behaviour, social and emotional challenges, gifted and talented SEN children, within the primary, secondary setting and also did outreach.
I have lead 1:1, 2:1 interventions, small group sessions, coordinating activities, have been working with children in the autistic spectrum, high functioning, lower ability, diagnosed with Asperges, ADD, ADHD, hypersensitive disorder, hypo-sensitive disorder, supporting the development of receptive and expressive language, worked in mainstream schools under the guidance and supervision of SENcos and language and speech therapists, in special schools as a supply teaching assistant and learning support assistant. I truly believe that every child has the right to have the opportunity to reach their full potential, that is the responsibility of the education setting to promote a learning environment adequate for the child to thrive. In order to achieve that the professional, tutor, teacher, should be able to look beyond the limitations of any special child or young adult’s diagnose.
I am experienced in using PECS, Makaton, kinaesthetic learning, stimulating fine motor skills, art therapy, I am also a trained yoga for the the special therapist and, even though I am not a qualified music therapist I have used music, sound, instruments and movement to stimulate shared attention, motivation, interaction and to promote an immersive fun activity for children and young adults, although being mindful that some SEN children and young adults do have a selective sound sensitive syndrome.
My experience of working with very challenging behaviour occurred with children and young adults within the age group from 7 years old. I have experienced different crisis development being trigged in children by different occurrences. Such occurrences could be triggered by sensory sensitivity, frustration, depression, unmet needs, anger, which would elicit an increase of anxiety, attention seeking, fear, panic, fluctuation between passive-aggressive behaviour, often leading to a lost of rationality, leading to challenging behaviour actions, speech and even fight or flight responses. The skills I have developed and applied when working with individuals presenting very challenging behaviour are based in the premise that behaviour is communication, being it conscious or unconscious.
I strongly believe that an individual behaviour is performed in the space between internal (self) and external (educators, school, physical spaces) and each challenging behaviour incident has its underlining causes, that is up to the educator to tap into the behaviour, cognitive and emotional landscape of the child or young adult, and implement coping and self regulating strategies, so the individual feels as safe as possible, emotionally stable, so one can be open to academic achievement and social interaction.
I have used strategies such as implementation of a reward system in order to promote and support the internalisation of appropriate behaviour. I have played as a role model in the way that I relate with the individual and others, I have always built a positive relationship with the individual and family, so I could learn as much as possible about triggers, likes and dislikes and promote an empathic relationship with the family and the individual. I have used areas of interest both to support the individual to self regulate in moments of pre-crisis or crisis, used them to promote learning and always try to avoid triggers which would possibly cause pre-crisis or crisis moments. I have learnt to be very attentive to body language and breathing pace, as they often offer hints about the emotional state of the individual and, allow me to use de-escalating techniques within pre-crisis to try to avoid a crisis.
In addition, I have also used the child or young adult's favourite activities to promote social interaction, I have been using breathing exercises to either promote energy in moments of passivity, lethargy or, to promote self-regulation, reduction of anxiety and anger levels, as well as, have been using progressive muscle relaxation techniques such as triangular, square breathing, both sitting or laying down and have been using yoga for the special child breathing exercises, pranayama.
Furthermore, I have been applying Proprioceptive activities such as tug of war, wall push ups, log roll and yoga for the special child poses to promote self regulation and reduction of anxiety and stress levels - I have also done various physical activities such as running, football, tennis, basketball, cricket, swimming, to allow space for the release of hyperactivity, promote healthy physical activity , social interaction and bonding. I have also included music and musical instruments, when there are no sound sensitivity issues, share play to promote social interaction and building up relationships.
I have always been very cautious in not becoming myself a catalyst, a trigger of challenging behaviour on the individual, to ensure that my tone of voice, body language, respect of private space support the individual’s self-regulation in moments of pre-crisis and crisis, instead of instigating and inciting even more challenging behaviour through my own behaviour.
During my job as a game tester at SEGA Europe London I have contributed to the development of several video games titles and have become and avid gaming fan, a skill that I have been using to connect with children. In some cases the child's interest in gaming was so great that I have created a vision of possible future employability in the gaming industry, and use it has a motivation factor by making connections with academic achievement, boosting in this way the child's interest in academic life. My favourites games are FIFA, PES, NBA, Rocket League, Stellaris and Forza Horizon.