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Pro's and cons of supporting a child with SEN

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by Newee, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. Please can you let me have your experiences of working on a 1-1 basis with a statemented child, both postitive and negative? That time of year has come where support staff are required to indicate their preferences for the forthcoming school year and I would appreciate your feedback. Thank you.
  2. Wow, your staff can state a preference for next year!! I'm currently working with an SEN child 1-1, who isn't statemented due to County policy and his age (4½). Sometimes it's great and very rewarding - especially when he meets an IEP target or says something new. At other times, it's a slog and I feel as though we're going backwards! I have the scars to show for some of my efforts, but I also have a greater knowledge and wider understanding of the particular problems this child has and ways to help him get over them.
    It's good experience and something that shouldn't be avoided - as long as the support network is there for you too! I'm fortunate that everybody works together in the setting and we're all supporting each other and would say that this is essential.
    Would I do it again - yes!
  3. I have worked 1 to 1 with a child for the last 18 months on a part-time equal job share basis. It has been extremely rewarding and the relationship he has built up with myself and my colleague has resulted in some incredible progress both academically and socially.
    We do have very good support both from the head and the class teacher and we have both been given some superb training opportunities, without which we may not have been so successful.
    I also am not sure whether I could have done the job full time as it can be quite intense and a little isolating at times to the point where you can sometimes end up feeling a bit like "Grace Poole"!
    I would re-iterate what the previous poster mentioned about the contract issues, another colleague of mine had a bitter experience following a change of contract from TA to INA and lost her job mid term as the child was suddenly moved to another school.
  4. Pros
    It can be very rewarding and a great relationship can be built up with the child and his or her parents.

    Sometimes very frustrating for you and the child! Extremely hard work.

    Make sure you know exactly what will be expected of you and that plenty of support for you both is in place. If you and the child don't gel, make sure that your HT can reallocate you and the child. Don't try to do everything on your own, ask for help if you need it.
  5. Can you express a preference for the child too?

    I much preferred being a class TA to one-to-one work. It's more varied, whereas I've found one-to-one to be quite draining and, at times, frustrating. Having said that, some of my colleagues really like it. I suppose it depends on your personality and the child you are working with.

    It helps too if you can develop a good relationship with the child's parents. Fairly obvious, but could make a big difference to how much you enjoy the year!

    Also, would you mainly be working on behaviour management, or providing learning or physical support? Maybe think about how much you would enjoy any of these roles and see if that influences your decision?

    Hope that helps.
  6. Hi, I am currently supporting an autistic 7 year old girl in y2, I have been with her since the start of primary school in reception class, she came with a fulltime statement. I absolutely love supporting this girl, she is a gem. for the sake of this forum I'll call her G. G struggles with the national curriculm for her class and is still working at reception level, I find my role very challenging and rewarding as I teach her myself. Yes I am only a T/A but since day 1, most if not 99% of her teaching I have provided, I work in a very small mainstream school and she is the only statemented child here. She is now reading cvc words and books and is very knowledgeable about most other subjects and catagories, to which I am very proud of her for. I wouldn't give my job up for anything and pray I can stay with her until she leaves education.
  7. Working with SEN children is not for everyone,however it is a worth while and rewarding job.| have worked with SEN children on a one/one basis for many years and I have found the trick to always getting the most from your job is simply enjoy being with the child and the rest will follow.
    There are many training courses available(see your SENCO)The EarlyBird Programme is a fab one to attend if your child has a statement and is of primary age.It is best to learn Makaton sign language early on as this will improve your communication with the child and increase your success in the classroom.
    Be sure to check your contract as I have seen friends loose their hours because the child have moved on to another school-be aware however that standard procedure is to offer a contract attached to that specific child as the funding comes from the LEA and not the general school budget.
    Good Luckxx

  8. It's great that you have the opportunity to have a discussion about your options for next year, we have something similar where I work as well. I have known from the start that if the child leaves, my jobs ends, so there is no confusion. I would love more training, and I agree with a previous comment that it can at times be lonely - you're in the classroom, the child is settled and working/socialising, what do you do? Well, of course, there's always something to do, if you are happy to help out and the class teacher and TA are comfortable with it.
  9. I have only ever worked with statemented children, with little training! I find it mostly rewarding but very draining.The first child had behavioural issues, i spent 18 months with him and i had physical and mental scars to prove it!!
    working full time is draining with one child, it doesnt happen at my school but i think t.a's need to occasionally 'swap children', good for both , i think!
    Make sure you give the child your full attention as many teachers seem to 'use ' their sen support to support the low ability groups with the 1;1 child and you then spend more time with the others and not the one you are supposed to be supporting!!!!!

  10. I agree with the point that working one to one can be quite isolating at times. At the request of the parents and despite me feeling it's not neccessary, my role requires me to supervise my pupil during lunch and break times. This means that I hardly ever get to spend time with my colleagues. As I only work part of the week anyway this further serves to make me feel out of the loop. Furthermore a lot depends on the teacher you are working with. For example, I have to differentiate my pupils work to ensure that she can be included in the class activities - some teachers are good at facilitating this, whilst others tend to think 'oh well the one-to-one's here she can just get on with it'. Also because of the lack of general support staff in most class rooms, I am quite often 'expected' to help with others in the class. Whilst this is actually very enjoyable it does make it difficult sometimes with my one-to-one and I feel torn. However, I do enjoy working one-to-one and have a very good relationship with my pupil. When she does well it feels almost as good as when my own kids do.

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