Seeing students develop and gain in confidence and independence can be a very rewarding and worthwhile career for those who enjoy working with children. It is important to remember that as with every career path it can be both emotionally and physically draining so before embarking on this path you need to be sure that you have both a positive outlook and most importantly when working with children a good sense of humour!
The state currently makes extensive provision for the student with special needs in the school system. This runs throughout the schooling of the child and is applicable to the child even in an infant class. Every child with an identified special need has an automatic entitlement to special provisional supports which include the assistance of a Special Needs Assistant (SNA).
Research over the past 30 years has shown that appropriate intervention especially at the early stage of development will maximize the opportunity for learning and prevent further deterioration and ensure the maximum degree of independence in adult life even if it does not remove the disability. The education act of 1981 and 1993 recognised the importance of parents with the school in the education of the child:
From 1993 onwards the role of the SNA was defined and overtook the Classroom Assistant’s role. This new role was to be paid directly by the Department of education and science and not by the local boards of management of specific schools.
The College of Progressive Education have been delivering for many years the most widely recognised Special Needs Assistant course. There are many of our past learners employed in the Irish school system and in centres for children with special needs. We constantly hear from employers that they always look firstly at the CV's of candidates who have our qualification.
Our course is designed to equip the learner with a comprehensive portfolio of skills so they can seek employment in an sector where there are children with special needs.
The course is split into two parts.
Special Needs Assistant
Children with Additional Needs
On completion of this part of the programme the learner will gain the following certification:
Certificate in Special Needs Assistant Training awarded by the College of Progressive Education
Component Certificate in Special Needs Assisting FETAC Level 5
Component Certificate in Children with Additional Needs FETAC Level 5
Allows learners from the College’s certificate programme a progression route onto the College’s advanced studies in Special Needs Assistant. The programme is based on the learner successfully completing 100 hours (Part 1 & Part 2) of tuition time specifically under the direction of the college and at least 60 hours (30hrs part 1, 30 hrs part 2) of work experience. On completion of this part of the programme the learner will gain the following certification:
In addition to acquiring the above, which is adequate for learners to seek a position as a Special Needs Assistant, we would encourage learners to enhance their knowledge by acquiring additional childcare skills. Learners can do this by completing other FETAC Level 5 and 6 modules.