I am a qualified specialist SEN teacher (QTS) ASC ( 3- 19yrs) with 25 years of teaching experience in public, independent and PRU schools. My teaching experience ranges from HOD in mainstream secondary and primary schools, dyslexia specialist, specialist remedial (LD), (PFU) primary class teacher, lecturer, student and lecturer academic support and 1:1 facilitation in the transitioning of learners from PFU to mainstream (teenagers). I have mostly dealt with children who are bright, average to above average (including very gifted and talented) who are highly anxious, underachieving academical... Read More
I am a qualified specialist SEN teacher (QTS) ASC ( 3- 19yrs) with 25 years of teaching experience in public, independent and PRU schools. My teaching experience ranges from HOD in mainstream secondary and primary schools, dyslexia specialist, specialist remedial (LD), (PFU) primary class teacher, lecturer, student and lecturer academic support and 1:1 facilitation in the transitioning of learners from PFU to mainstream (teenagers). I have mostly dealt with children who are bright, average to above average (including very gifted and talented) who are highly anxious, underachieving academically; their academic performance does not match their capabilities and potential. My methodologies, strategies and approach to the child is to engage them and integrate them. To and bring them from a place of isolation to independency making them functional within a ‘normal’ mainstream environment. The approach is holistic working on Social, emotional and behaviour functionality. The ‘Hidden Curriculum’ but essential to the well-being of the child. Each child will be assessed according to need and the Educational and behavioural pathway plan for them bespoke to meet need. This will be monitored, reviewed and adjusted daily to ensure progression occurs. Parents will receive constant feedback and share in the input, discussions and development of their child. We work as a unit with the child at the centre.
I understand that children who are gifted and talented require a different approach; one that inspires and motivates them, and helps them to further develop their excitement of the world around them. My experience covers areas of
English, Reading, Spelling, Written language, Mathematics and non-verbal learning disabilities and children that may experience other barriers to learning such as: Gifted and Talented, Anxiety Disorders, Behavioural Needs, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autism (High Functioning), Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, CAPD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression, OCD, Bi Polar, children who are non-verbal, echolalia, have sensory issues, behavioural issues etc OT and Speech will be addressed as needed and built into the everyday routine of the ‘classroom’ environment we create, eg handwriting, core etc to re affirm, consolidate and develop the ‘ good’ habits, skills and thought patterns.
My sessions also address the 'hidden curriculum' the essential life skills one needs. Most children with learning disabilities need work in these areas. It is often their lack of these skills that separates them from their peers and makes learning overwhelming, challenging and builds a gradual hatred and dread for school and learning. Skills addressed would include organisation (in all aspects), planning, study skills, note taking (selection of relevant facts), time management, boosting self-esteem and confidence. Being the parent of an LD with multiple comorbidities child gives me a different insight when addressing a child's needs and working with the family dynamic. These different but ‘special’ children can have a huge effect on changing the family dynamic. In addition, as an experienced SEN teacher and familiar with the working environment (the internal and external players involved) I am well equipped to collaborate and work in a team, if needed. This stems from my experience
My 3 degrees broadened my subject teaching scope and base, especially when supporting SEN learners.
My specialist SEN and dyslexia training together with subject based knowledge of the curriculum has enable me to apply support mechanisms ensuring the child meets the required standards for progression.
I have lectured the teacher training degree across all 4 years of the degree course including the coordination their 5 weeks per year compulsory practical teaching component based in a school. I also founded and ran an accredited teacher training business specifically addressing SEN in schools.
Implementation of Inclusion/ SEN policy (legislative and statutory requirements) and through an IEP addressing specific special educational needs; dyslexia, ADHD, ASD, behavioural modifications, assisted devices, spelling, reading, comprehension to 1st, 2nd and 3rd language learners. 100 schools and their staff were trained nationally. A needs analysis was conducted to identifying the gaps and needs of the school and existing training packages were tweaked to suit them.
My interest in SEN stems from having a son who presented with learning disabilities; ADHD and other co-morbidities including perceptual difficulties, CAPD, Auditory analysis and discrimination issues, along with the anxiety, low self-esteem and behavioural issues that developed. This has given me more insight when addressing a child’s needs. My approach for dealing with SEN is holistic, I look at it and work from many angles; child in context; teacher (school); parents (family) and the wider community. My skills and experience supporting students in … My skills and experience supporting students with autism
- QTS ASC 3-19yrs. One on one at home and in a classroom setup. Taught in a specialised school for 5 years dealing with high functioning Autism (ages 8 years to 15 years). These children were above average pupils who were underachieving and not accessing the curriculum. While teaching the mainstream curriculum we simultaneously delivered intensive support to bridge and reduce the gaps and lags. The emotional issues, anxiety were also dealt with making them more resilient to cope when they returned to mainstream.
- My skills and experience supporting students anxiety , OCD , attachment disorder and mental health needs;
- One on one and in a classroom setup.
- This is my area of strength. Anxiety ‘kills’ engagement and participation which none requires to learn. The emotional issues are addressed simultaneously with the academic needs. The teaching strategy and methodology will be curtailed to suit each child’s need to ensure they engage and work towards independence. There are no quick fixes but slowly one (I) will reduce the input of emotional support as the child grows in confidence and self- esteem improves until they are coping with the normal academic timetable and not even aware that they achieved it.
- Head of Home Learning - working with LA’s, parents, specialist ensuring the child’s needs were met through an Educational Pathway and Behavioural Plan in relation to the EHCP. Focus was to get the child to engage, stay engaged and enjoy their educational experience.
- Regular feedback to parents and the LA. Monitor progress, review and adjust the programme to ensure the child is benefiting an need are being met.
- Needs analysis drawn from initial communication with parents and child; reports ( Annual Review’s , Educational psychologist, psychiatrist , Speech therapist , Occupational Therapist etc ); Communication with the specialist and working collaboratively with them identifying the needs and ensuring the strategies within the ‘Provision Plan’ I draw up are aligned to address the child holistically (SEBMH). This will be reviewed after each session and revised as needed. This I will discuss with the parents; a full report back after each session, adjustments and revisions as required to meet need and ensure progress.
- My skills and experience helping students to develop motivation and engage in learning;
- Work from a place of direct ‘interest’ of the child to promote engagement. Apply some behavioural modifications into the teaching programme. Identify the ‘triggers’ for withdrawal and engagement and then modify the behavioural patterns over time using a cognitive behaviour modification approach to ensure positive behaviour patterns are reinforced and retained and unwanted behaviours are changed. This is done in conjunction with the relationship building as trust increases. Have structure but make the lesson fun. When one enjoys the lesson, one engages, time flies and there is ‘FLOW’.
- Children with ADHD are particularly vulnerable as their educational experience is fraught with ‘ negativity’ due to their educational These children need to be handled differently. They think differently, do not follow the norms but they have insight, new ways of thinking and handling problems. They need structure but room to grow, they can be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
- My skills and experience developing trusting and meaningful relationships with students with SEN including autism;
- Always challenging with Autism, PDA and ADHD. Developing a trusting relationship with the child falls under what I call the ‘Hidden Curriculum’ , as learning is emotional. Hence engagement and trust are paramount and reliant on developing and building a solid trusting relationship with the child. This is the key. I have worked successfully with all types of SEN, including autism due to the trusting relationship established between us. The parents too, often need empathy and support and so building a trusting relationship with them is just as important. This is a family matter. A child with SEN changes the dynamic of the family, the parents need guidelines and support to reinforce the teaching I would do. We work together as a unit.
- Having an awareness of their comorbidities’; anxiety, sensory issues, constantly addressing the ‘ Hidden Curriculum’ of social skills, behaviour and developing a child that will be ‘functional’ and able to work with them towards independence.
- My role as Head of Home Learning - we dealt with children with complex SEMH needs in addition to all their other needs and diagnoses. Most of these children due to previous 'bad ' experiences had much mistrust for adults and any educational facility and hence had been out of formal schooling for months and even years. Anxiety level were extremely high preventing socialisation. Our job was to re engage them and ultimately return them to formal schooling. most of these children required additional services which we linked up with the parents, LA'S etc according to their EHCP'S or we motivated for additional assistance. The majority of these additional services we provided for through our school network. We internal escalated the case to our expert panel. We provided online therapy sessions or specialist tutors to meet very specific needs. We monitored these daily, weekly with our tutors and adjusted the Educational and Behavioural Pathway Plan as needed.
- My skills and experience working with teenagers and young adults and My skills and experience teaching study skills and revision techniques.
- Experienced secondary and tertiary teacher (20yrs) dealing with specific subject matter and study skills. Worked successfully with all ages of teenagers. Examples: I have facilitated the transition of a teenager from a specialist SEN school to Reddam House. I worked with this teenager for 18mths on every aspect of his educational career; I was his PA, family liaison between school and parents. He met all criteria for progression and passed each year. I worked 16 year old child with study skills delivering History lessons (his interest) to engage him, kept it fun. The young man was highly anxious, diagnosed ASD, no motivation or engagement when I started. I have done many study skills sessions for tertiary aged teenagers for Economics and have prepared and lectured students training to be teachers for their theoretical and practical component of their course.
- My skills and experience teaching study skills and revision techniques
- The above paragraph highlights this.
- I am experienced with age 8 – 25yrs.
- My skills and experience boosting students’ self-esteem and confidence.
- ‘Hidden Curriculum’ again. This underpins all lessons and as a teacher I am astutely aware of this and boost confidence and build self-esteem continually. We work from a point of dependency to independence, in thought and action. I am an expert reader of body language and voice. Anxiety needs to be addressed before learning can occur and this is something I am particularly good at. Most SEN, if not all SEN children present with anxiety. Children with SEMH and if they are being home schooled or tutored have anxiety as the underlying condition; comorbidity.
- My skills and experience teaching children with ADHD
- Extensive experience with ADHD. I can speak of my experiences as a mother and educator as I have a son who was diagnosed ADHD.
- The specialist school I taught at which had above average pupils intelligence to gifted children, 99 % had ADHD along with other diagnosed conditions which prevented them from functioning ‘ normally ‘ and fitting in ‘ to a mainstream school environment.
- My skills and experience teaching Maths
- Class teacher at a specialist school where children presented with Dyscalculia.
- Many had spatial issues, crossing the midline, handwriting , reading and comprehension issues preventing them understanding questions, processing issues, CAPD, working memory, etc the list goes on as to all the other factors and conditions that many presented in addition to Mathematical difficulties that we dealt with. One would analyse the difficult areas identified and present the material to compensate and work on the area of need to reduce gaps and lags.
- My skills and experience teaching English; My skills and experience teaching English including reading and writing
- Paramount subject – experience to first language, 2nd and 3rd language learners and SEN pupils.
- Without English one cannot do the other subjects. The foundations are important. Basic spelling rules, phonics, all the tricks to help them make sense of materials and complete tasks. Learning to read with comprehension; for recall. Comprehension skills - identify the area the child finds difficult and work on that. This you can do as cross curriculum, teaching the curriculum keeping abreast but addressing the issues that the child needs attention on. Grammar and language skills using a fun drill. Building vocabulary and the ability to answer questions (all exams work this way) by selecting the relevant material.
- Handwriting aids were brought in for grip and posture. Wobble cushions for core.
- Handwriting fun activities as worksheets in-between lessons to improve skills.
- Books could be adapted for crossing the midline, size and shape and spatial issues affecting the handwriting, positing in letters and numbers which can affect the outcome of the desired result.
- Reading: paired, speed, times; many techniques to develop this.
- Syllabification, punctuation, etc
- Aids to help them stay on the page, line etc
- I am an Irlens Screener so I can perform an Irlen’s Screen if I pick up perceptual difficulties and if needed, supply an overlay.
- I founded and ran my own accredited training company to upgrade teachers in CPD in SEN. We ran specialised Reading, spelling and comprehension courses to schools.
- Enrolled presently in Dyslexic SpLd Level 7 course.
- My skills and experience planning and delivering fun and engaging sessions in accordance with the national curriculum;
- Qualified teacher - QTS so it would come naturally to do so.
- Experience from junior phases all the way through to tertiary and adult learning.
- Focus in the core concepts that are needed for the educational ladder higher up. This way the child can progress through the grades with sufficient skills and knowledge and simultaneously work intensively reducing the gaps and lags.
- My skills and experience teaching children with processing difficulties; memory difficulties, sensory difficulties;
- Extensive teaching experience (primarily in junior and primary phases ).
- Taught for 5 years where we had FM systems installed into our classrooms for those with CAPD.
- Daily speech therapy exercises given. Games for memory, story recall and sequencing etc.
- The majority of children taught during this tenure had working memory and CAPD issues.
- Many of the children I taught presented with Sensory difficulties as comorbidities eg Autistic, ADHD etc
- My skills and experience teaching essay writing, including structured written English;
- In primary schools we gave this a lot of focus ( age 9 up ).
- I developed and used the ‘hamburger’ as my analogy for teaching essay writing.
- Planning – using ‘mind maps’ or whatever form of ‘learning technique’ or learning style ( I would identify) applied to the personality of each pupil. Plans can be creative, elaborate and even an art form. So much more fun!
- The children learnt to work from a marking grid in preparation for higher up in the educational ladder and to self-evaluate themselves and get a realistic expectation of their output and where to work on and improve. This gives them the chance to work towards independence in their studies.
- In the high school I taught Biology which requires essay training.
- Worked with pupils in all subjects on this eg History
- My skills and experience teaching children with speech and language delay/ disorder;
- Worked one on one with a child with Autism, whom had speech delays. Initially, the child was non-verbal. We worked extensively on communication, expression and control of his emotions due to the frustration with his inability to communicate verbally. Challenging but once a routine was established, and he knew and understood the (few) rules we could work around it. Behaviour, participation and engagement improved and learning took place. Social skill development. I have worked with selective mutism. Bipolar children exhibit this on their ‘ day off’ in the classroom.
- My skills and experience teaching children with Down’s Syndrome and chronic illness;
Limited experience with Downs' in a formal capacity.
I was asked to aid a child / teenager who was removed form mainstream for this illness ( kidney disease and on permanent dialysis x3 a day or as needed) to teach and prepare him for his final economic exams. He was placed in a small private school where I went in and taught him one on one. I liaised with his mainstream school to obtain mock papers to work in conjunction with external exam government timetables as this school did not offer Economics. We did well and he passed despite his challenges.
Similarly, in one of the schools I taught ( 55yrs as a specialist remedial teacher) we took in many children who due to their illness had fallen behind. We accommodated them (that was our role and purpose) especially emotionally. We had mostly children with different forms of cancer. Some children were off for a whole term due to treatment and we ensured they kept abreast but not exerting any additional stress on them or their families. It was very rewarding for us as teachers, management and the children in the school. My son actually made a video for one of the Cancer children, as a favour to me to cheer him up as he was isolated, hospital bound, getting depressed and missing school.