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An industry piece, SNA tutor Colette Cronin

We are absolutely delighted to share an insight into the vital role of Special Needs Assisting from one of our dedicated tutors Colette Cronin who has been teaching on our courses for the last 12 years in one of our regional centres in Cork city.

Special needs assistants are a vital part of full inclusion for children with special needs, within the primary school services or that of a special unit placement. The SNA aids the child to transition successfully into the school environment and is a constant figure to provide routine and a sense of security.  Many children require specific instruction to access the class curriculum, for example through a laptop /ipad or many children with Special Needs have the curriculum differentiated to suit their needs so  support may be needed  to keep the child on task. At all times the student should be encouraged to be as independent as possible and the goal of the SNA goal is to fully support the child while making them as independent as possible.

For many children with SEN or ASD, socialisation can be the most difficult part of their transition; and so, the SNA is there to encourage this especially in the yard at lunch times.  They are an important advocate for the child and can build self esteem and give much needed reassurance which may be lacking. The SNA is part of that vital link between home and school and is a major part of the success of inclusion for the child.

The courses offered by Portobello Institute offer an extensive insight into the role, together with the qualities and skillsets required to becoming a great SNA. Courses outline specific strategies to aid within the workplace in all areas of special needs. During the course, work experience allows the student to shadow an experienced SNA and see firsthand their daily routine which is invaluable when starting a new career in the sector.

Portobello Institute also prides itself on smaller class numbers to allow all students the opportunity to have more contact hours with their tutor. All Students irrespective of past education success are encouraged to reach their full potential and with many mature students returning to education are also given both time and continued support in their new educational journey.

“I personally am very proud as a tutor at Portobello Institute at the level of success and job placement   our students have received over my 12 years tutoring in Cork. Many of our students receive part time or full time placement as a result of their work experience within the same school. As a tutor I endeavor to make each class enriching while providing support when needed and I am very proud to be a part of the Portobello Institute Team.”  

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