Specialist Experience and Skills
I have 10 years' experience working in a variety of educational settings including state, independent and SEN schools. I am an enthusiastic, creative, energetic, highly motivated, experienced Early Years, KS1, KS2, SEN and Specialist Dyslexia teacher with a strong focus on meeting the academic, social and emotional needs of my pupils while recognising and respecting their individuality. My experience includes teaching children with a range of needs including Dyspraxia, Autism, PDA, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Speech and Language difficulties, ADHD, Global Developmental Delay, Sensory Processing Diso... Read More
I have 10 years' experience working in a variety of educational settings including state, independent and SEN schools. I am an enthusiastic, creative, energetic, highly motivated, experienced Early Years, KS1, KS2, SEN and Specialist Dyslexia teacher with a strong focus on meeting the academic, social and emotional needs of my pupils while recognising and respecting their individuality. My experience includes teaching children with a range of needs including Dyspraxia, Autism, PDA, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Speech and Language difficulties, ADHD, Global Developmental Delay, Sensory Processing Disorder, Health, Emotional and Behavioural difficulties.
My specialist SEN teaching experience:
During my years as a primary teacher in Early Years and KS1 I realised that my passion was helping children with special learning difficulties. I always made sure that all my students were able to progress and maximize their potential by incorporating a range of communication methods into teaching sessions with the flexibility to change and develop educational activities. I used visual timetables, prompts gestures, Makaton, written instructions to reinforce the spoken words and to aid understanding, social stories, interactive games and lots of practical hands- on activities. I supported students in accessing the curriculum through scaffolding activities, breaking down task and instructions into manageable chunks, with step-by-step symbols and picture cards to back up short, clear verbal explanation.
I always took into account the interests of my students and planned lessons so that they were full of a variety of engaging activities. For instance, very often in my teaching, I used role-play which I found an extremely strong method in helping my students to develop their social and communication skills. To be able to imagine a different world through creative play is a very important feature when it comes to expanding thought patterns, developing language, sharing, and expressing themselves, as well as empathy for each other.
Experience working with ASD and PDA:
Through my career as an ASD teacher I have had a wealth of specialist training such as TEACCH, PECS, Makaton, Widgit web tools, Clicker, behaviour therapy that help students with visual information processing, social communication, attention and executive functioning and verbal communication. I have an understanding of strategies and interventions to develop social communication and language skills through my working alongside speech and language therapists and occupational therapists. For example, I used Lego therapy, Playdough therapy and Theraphy box that helped to create opportunities for students to work towards their communication potential, helped them to discover and enjoy the benefits of communicating their needs.
Many students on the autism spectrum had also PDA profile and experienced high anxiety levels because they couldn’t be always in control of situations. In our setting we followed PANDA approaches (Pick battles, Anxiety management, Negotiation and Collaboration, Disguise and manage demands and Adaption) that enabled us to understand and help our students with PDA in order to meet their needs.
Experience working with children with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Dyscalculia:
My passion for helping children with special needs hasn't stopped and because I wanted to reach out to children with specific learning difficulties such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Dyscalculia as well, I decided to continue with my professional development. Two years ago, I gained OCR Level 5 Diploma in Teaching children with Specific learning difficulties and Dyslexia. In my current teaching role, I work as a Specialist Dyslexia teacher. I'm qualified to conduct informal, curriculum-based assessments and deliver specialist teaching programmes to learners with dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia.
I do multi-sensory teaching: small incremental steps delivered one at a time, with plenty of opportunity for repetition, so learners can proceed at their own pace and receive positive reinforcement as they learn.
I teach a range of strategies to help children to learn letter-sounds and spelling rules. Many children with dyslexia are kinaesthetic learners (they learn by doing), therefore I engage them in purposeful movement, using rhythm and visual activities to stimulate memory and trigger recall. As many dyslexic students struggle with working memory, short- and long-term memory I've created many memory games and have taught student different memory techniques.
My specific experience working with children with Dyspraxia, handwriting and organisational challenges:
Many dyspraxic children experience difficulties with handwriting, writing, planning, organisation and presentation of their work. Therefore, I focus on teaching different multisensory strategies such as 'bumpy paper', 'wet-dry-try technique, 'spacekid' to help with handwriting and presentation. For students who have difficulties to organise their thoughts and express them effectively in writing I firstly introduce ' Thinking C-A-P-S' code (content, audience, purpose, style) where we investigate all aspects of writing. Secondly, I focus on planning of writing. Students need to learn and use different types of plans for different types of writing and I try to match planning strategies to their individual learning styles. Learning to plan and to use planning strategies when writing is a crucial skill. I use two different approaches to planning- written plans which are written in note form (spidergram, skeleton essay plan) and graphic organisers which come in many forms such as pictures, shapes, mindmaps, frames, tree diagrams, webs. They are extremely effective for stronger visualisers as many children rely on visuals to help them think about what comes next and what to say when they write. Next, I introduce different writing frames as scaffolds to help students to organise their writing, build their own writing skills and reduce the fear of 'blank paper'. They can consist of starters, connectives and sentence modifiers which offer students a structure for communicating what they want to say. Lastly, I focus on drafting, review and revision, I teach C-O-P-S proofreading strategy (capital letters, omissions, punctuation, spellings) and 'writing detective' (checklist of questions for a good writing).
Experience working with children with ADHD, sensory processing disorder and anxiety:
More recently I have been working 1:1 with a student who was diagnosed with ADHD, sensory processing disorder and anxiety. He has experienced difficulties handling sensory input which affected his academic performance, his self-esteem, and his confidence. In order to help him to overcome his difficulties I have employed a range of multisensory approaches such as jumping activities, brain breaks, using alternative seating, visual schedules, handheld fidgets and lots of reassurance. All my lessons are planned around his interests which give him incentive to engage with activities in a meaningful way and it has proved to be a real success.
My specialist approach and other SEN teaching experience, including working with children with writing/ handwriting challenges:
I was always an advocate of taking learning outside of the classroom as much as possible. Especially, my students who lacked focus and concentration, or had difficulties staying and completing task, or had low confidence to attempt new tasks hugely benefited from the outside environment. They were happier, engaged, motivated and confident to experiment which is a fantastic way to learn. I also incorporated a lot of mindfulness exercises in my teaching that helped my students to improve their memory and attentions skills.For instance, breathing with a Pinwheel, blowing bubbles, five sense exercise, texture bags and others.
Since many of my MLD students struggled with writing exercise I planned a lot of activities that helped them to develop fine motor skills- muscle control in their hands and shoulders (grasp and release with tweezers, tongs, screwing/unscrewing lids, paper tearing, finger games etc). I also ensured that I included activities which particularly aid in development of gross and core skills (such as hopscotch, target tossing in phonics, jumping, skipping to teach counting in 2s, 5s, math scavenger hunts...) All these exercises helped to improve hand/eye coordination, strength of hand, wrist, shoulder, arm; balance, body and spatial awareness of my students.
I have great interaction skills with children as well as an appropriate level of humour when required. My kindness, caring, compassion, understanding, patience, and excellent behavioural management skills always help me to support those children with more challenging behaviour. I have ability to inspire children and help them through challenges. I always strive to create calm and safe environment because I strongly believe children need to feel secure and relaxed in order to fully engage in learning. My natural creativity drives me to make my lessons fun, engaging, and multi-sensory and I always try to link learning objectives to the child's interest.