Specialist Experience and Skills
I am a skilled, qualified SEN teacher with over 13 years experience gained in mainstream primary and specialist settings in Hertfordshire. The pupils with SEN that I have worked with have included: Autism (ASD), Moderate learning difficulties, dyslexia, dyscalculia, challenging behaviour, ADD, OCD, ADHD, PDA, anxiety and general behaviour difficulties, speech and language delay, anxiety, Tourette and attachment disorders. As well as supporting these children socially and educationally I have supported their parents to attain a diagnosis and/or put an EHCP in place. I have liaised with a wi... Read More
I am a skilled, qualified SEN teacher with over 13 years experience gained in mainstream primary and specialist settings in Hertfordshire. The pupils with SEN that I have worked with have included: Autism (ASD), Moderate learning difficulties, dyslexia, dyscalculia, challenging behaviour, ADD, OCD, ADHD, PDA, anxiety and general behaviour difficulties, speech and language delay, anxiety, Tourette and attachment disorders. As well as supporting these children socially and educationally I have supported their parents to attain a diagnosis and/or put an EHCP in place. I have liaised with a wide variety of professionals for safeguarding, LAC (looked after children) and supported parents during medical appointments. I am passionate that each child, regardless of obstacles and difficulties, is able to achieve their best possible outcome. I do not believe in placing glass ceilings on a child. Through patience, encouragement and fun lessons are engaging and build a child’s self-confidence. Once their confidence starts to grow they will have the confidence to start to use strategies that allow for greater independence.
My skills and experience teaching children with dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia:When working with children with dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia I like to promote understanding through the use of practical activities and concrete materials, I will limit the demands on the child’s on memory through the use of visual aids and keep explanations short and precise. Going back to basics on all subjects is always a good starting point to ensure that the child has a secure understanding of the foundations of a subject before moving them on, as gaps in their learning lead to confusion and misunderstanding. I will always teach all subjects in small progressive steps with careful control over the difficulty of the work, this ensures that the child feels a sense of achievement with every lesson and helps to develop their self-confidence. I use lots of games when teaching to make sure that learning is fun and engaging. Depending on the child’s need I may introduce adapted resources e.g. pens, scissors, writing slopes, to support the development of their fine and gross motor skills. The most important thing when working with any child is getting to know their strengths and the areas they need support and personalising the strategies to meet their specific needs.
My skills and experience teaching children with working memory, processing difficulties: Children with working memory difficulties or processing difficulties often need their confidence built. Using a tailored approach children can be taught strategies that they can use to help overcome their challenges. The first and foremost is time, time and more time...., repeat instructions and task directions, provide outlines and summaries of lessons, encourage overlearning, get them to work it out on paper, one question at a time, chunk assignments into shorter tasks.
My skills and experience teaching Maths and English: I have had a lot of experience working with children who have difficulties in both maths and English. These difficulties often coincide with anxieties around the subject. My initial step is to find out where the gaps are, through assessments, school feedback or other professionals’ feedback, I would carefully plan and deliver lessons accordingly. Assessments throughout the sessions would then inform planning for the next steps. I like to make sure all learning is fun and engaging through the use of concrete objects, technology, multi-sensory approaches, visuals, appropriate scaffolding and special interests. If football or animals are motivating, these will feature heavily in our lessons. I often find that children are incredibly creative and through encouraging this leaning becomes engaging. As a result, the child achieves academically but, most importantly, with confidence and increased self-esteem. Writing and math become a positive experience.
My skills and experience working with students to develop their independence: One of my ultimate goals when working with all children is to develop independence. I will model how to carry out exercises using strategies we have learnt such as using visual reminders etc, then scaffold the level of support I give them. Through developing independence student gain a sense of ownership over their learning, they become far more confident and will start to challenge themselves. Using a visual reward system to encourage independence in daily tasks gives the child a sense of achievement which they can share with other and celebrate their success.
My skills and experience working with students with autism: I have worked with a vast number of children with autism and no two children with this diagnose are ever same. On paper, the suggestions and strategies provided by educational psychologists and paediatrician often appear very similar and these are always effective. However, the delivery of these suggestions and strategies always needs to be adapted to suit each individual child in order for them to be effective. I have learnt that building a good relationship is the key to that child making progress, through gaining a child’s trust they are more willing to try new things and push themselves outside of their comfort zone. During every session I reflect on the strategies I use and adjust these accordingly to ensure the child is fully engaged. Many of the children I have supported and taught have had additional needs alongside their autism. I always make sure I fully understand each child’s needs so that these can be supported as well.
My skills and experience working with students with challenging behaviour, social and emotional needs and CAMHs: The Primary Support Base (PSB) was a specialist unit that supported schools in St Albans and the surrounding areas to ensure pupils with social, emotional and mental health difficulties received the correct support to enable them to achieve in education. Through working in and being the Lead of the PSB I have developed strong behaviour management underpinned with nurturing principles. Building trust in relationships with pupils has allowed me to challenge them without causing conflict. Within this role it was important to identify barriers to learning and devise strategies to enable the children to engage in their learning, develop their self-worth and take ownership of their own behaviours. I devised a reward system and set personal learning goals for each child which were linked into learning outcomes from EHCPs. I supported the families to work with CAMHS, attending appointments with them and filling out reports.
My skills and experience working with students with ADHD: I have worked with a vast number of children with ADHD. Through patience, creativity and consistency I have found strategies to help the children focus, stay on task and learn to their fully capacity. Many children I have worked with can become overwhelmed so thinking about seating arrangements, distractions, how much information is provided to them at a time etc is very important. Additionally, repeating instructions and giving visual cues to support the tasks, using charts pictures or colour coding. The recommendations and strategies are endless, but as with everything in life, what works for one child may not work for another. In addition, what is working well one week for a child may not work as well the following. So, building strong, trusting relationships with the child and really getting to know them is the most important first step.
My skills and experience working with students with OCD: Anxiety is often the biggest overriding factor for children with OCD and can result in them having difficulties learning and coping with activities in day-to-day life. Through getting to know a child and really understanding their symptoms and triggers, I can offer a supportive approach to put in place strategies for them to manage the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. Helping the child to build resilience and in turn independence.
My skills and experience supporting students to self-regulate: Many children often find self-regulation very difficult as they do not fully understand what is happening to their bodies during emotional periods, in addition they do not fully understand their emotions. I have used a vast array of self-regulation techniques and having successfully taught self-regulation strategies to children 4 - 11 years old. The strategies taught have helped the children to recognise their emotions and manage their behaviour when upset, anxious, angry, excited etc. Over time, this helps children to learn to take responsibility for their own actions and behaviours, while providing them with personalised strategies to manage situations that trigger unwanted behaviours. Ultimately this leads to improved confidence and self-esteem. It is also an important factor when developing emotional independence.
My skills and experience supporting students with speech and communication needs: Over the years as a SENCo I worked closely with the speech and language therapists to provide a consistent approach for teaching children with speech and language difficulties within the school. Visuals aids and multi-sensory approaches were adopted by all teacher and deemed very successful. I have worked with bilingual children, children with English and an additional language, non-verbal and children with hearing impairments.
My skills and experience working with students who have anxiety: Anxiety can affect children in many ways and each child’s behaviours are a result of their anxiety will be displayed differently. Some become extremely introverted and other extremely extroverted subsequent displaying challenging behaviours. Building up strong, trusting relationships with a child is key. I am an exceptionally patience person and will always take my cues from the child. I understand that children with anxiety need time and to feel safe to explore any issues that they might be facing. My experience has taught me that being reliable and trustworthy is essential.