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Special Needs Teaching

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by fmorrison1989, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. Hello,

    I'm new to this, but I'm hoping that somebody can help me out.

    I'm currently a second year student studying English Literature and I want to go in to special needs teaching. I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on how to do this. I want to move to Australia as soon as possible, does anyone have any information about whether it would be possible (or expensive) to do my training out there?

    Thank you in advance for any help or advice,

    Fiona Morrison
  2. I'd recommend that a good place to start would eb to try and get a voluntary placement at a special school or a school with a decent sized SEN dept. You will probably have to be quite persistant and try loads of places as schools get lots of requests for people wanting to gain some experience. You might have to pay for your own CRB, which can take a bit of time as well. I'd also recommend doing as much background research as you can. The Lamb report from last year on the future of SEN provision might be a good start, also investigate websites such as www.autism.org.uk, www.senteacher.org, and the SEN sections on this site are all pretty good. You might also, if you haven't already, want to read 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime' by Mark Haddon, it's a fantastic book that gives an insight into how an autistic child may percieve the world. This research should give you a lot of info to help you field tricky questions in interviews for courses/jobs about how to deal with difficult situations. As to teaching in Oz I don't know a lot but I do know that the UK QTS (qualified teacher status) is not recognised there so obviously doing your training their would suit your plans better - but I reckon it would be expensive. Hope this helps. Not sure why the message decide to turn green half-way. Best of luck and I hope you suceed as i think being an SEN teacher is one of the most rewarding jobs you can do.
  3. Thank you so much for replying. I'm currently Googling special needs schools where I live and asking if they have any voluntary positions available, and I've just ordered the book from Amazon. I am truly grateful you took the time to reply- I'm not sure why I didn't get a notification through my email, otherwise I would have replied sooner!

    Thanks again, Fiona
  4. jazz2

    jazz2 New commenter

    No it isn't.
    And if you are going to include reading it as part of your preparation, bear in mind it is very specifically only one narrow interpretation of how an autistic child may perceive the world.
  5. R13

    R13 New commenter

    The suggestion of being a volunteer is a good one. I would add that you shouldn't need to pay for a CRB in such a case as schools can get them done for free for volunteers
  6. ScotSEN

    ScotSEN Senior commenter

    another intesting book which looks at life from the point of view of someone with Cerebral Palsy is My right to Play by Robert Orr.
  7. I'd second jazz2's comment. When investigating specific developmental 'conditions', bear in mind that although many, such as dyslexia, autism and ADHD, are recognised as medical disorders and have formal definitions, they remain umbrella terms for complex syndromes of symptoms. We don't know what causes them and different children might have different causes for the syndrome they exhibit and thus very different experiences of the same so-called disorder. This is why it's important to look at an individual child's profile and give relevant support.
  8. RamC

    RamC New commenter

    To teach SEN in Aus, their teachers require a degree, masters AND teaching qualification specialising in learning disabilities etc before they can teach.

    Unlike the UK, they consider SEN to require specialist knowledge and teachers. However, I don't know what steps you would need to take to train there, but you most certainly need to ensure you get a wide range of experience with children who have been identified as having a learning disability, communication disorder such as Autism, or sensory impairment.

    There are some masters courses courses around to improve your knowledge, such as a masters in PMLD at Manchester University, or many of the fab courses they run at Birmingham. No course can tell you if you can hack teaching SEN- you've got to love it :)
  9. I agree with the two people who said that book isn't great, it is interesting but it isn't necessarily a true reflection of how a child with Aspergers would be. Worth a read but don't take as gospel. Another good book is 'The Horse Boy' this is a true story about how a child's relationship with animals helped his mum and dad tap into the child behind the label. I found this was more of a true reflection of the type of children I work with.
    I, like you, was determined to become an SEN teacher so I completed my NQT year with a mainstream class then I went onto supply and asked the agency to send me to any special needs places available. From that a school offered me a term one to one with a little boy on his trnasition from an autistic unit to a special school. After that when a maternity cover came up there I got it. Using that one year experience last year I went for a job in a special needs school as an ASD teacher and they gave me the job. They said the main reason they gave it to me was because I had a great rapport with the children and fantastic enthusiasm to learn more about the job. Although experience is helpful there are other traits they value as well. I am now in my perfect job with my lovely little class. Good luck!

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