Roles and Responsibilities of a Special Needs Assistant (SNA) (2023)

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For this assignment I am going to discuss and evaluate the role and responsibilities of an SNA and the legislation that is in place to protect people with disabilities. All children have a right to an education whether they have a Special Need or not.

In this project, I will cover all the topics that are relevant to the job of an SNA and the information, that all the people working with children with special educational needs should have. I will also carry out a questionnaire with 2 SNA professionals to find out their perceptions and view of the job. I will write about legislations and policies that are relevant to the profession, good practice guidelines, theory that applies to the Special Education and all aspects of the SNA profession. These include stressors in the workplace, the role of the SNA, and the qualities that an SNA should have. Through completing this assignment, I will learn the theory which supports strategies. This I can use to offer children with Special Needs, care and support specific to them.

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My purpose of doing this assignment is to provide the reader an overview of a Special Need Assistant (SNA). Also, to understand that, to do the job well as an SNA you must be equip in the knowledge about the area, understanding the role of the job and what it entails and how they can help meets the children’s needs. Knowing the current legislation, theory and knowledge about Irish Educational system is vital to become a competent and effective Special Needs Assistant.

“According to Flood all children have needs, e.g. Physical, safety, security, love and belonging, praise and encouragement. Children with Special Needs have these same needs together with some additional ones. Special Needs can be defined in different ways. They are often categorised according to the area of development affected with their Needs. (Flood, E., (2013)


From doing this assignment I will gain the information that is related to Special Education and have a better understanding of Special Needs Assistance. The knowledge I will gain from the completion of this assignment will help me to do my job effectively.

Role of an SNA

Special Needs Assisting provide care and support role that is non-teaching in nature and works under the guidance and supervision of the Principal or class teacher, to provide the best care necessary for the child in a safe and caring environment. (National Council for Special Education (NCSE) (2014).

(Video) QQI level 5 Special Needs Assisting (SNA) - Introduction

“Special needs assistant (SNA) works with children with either significant care needs or severe emotional or behavioral needs in either mainstream, special class or special school setting”
- (Flood, 2013).

In addition, The Special Needs Assistant needs to be qualified in Special Needs area and has experience in working with children. Also, The Department of Education and Skills outlines the role of an SNA as, assisting children with special needs in various situations like:

  1. To board and take off children from school buses;
  2. During out of school visits;
  3. With clothing, feeding, toileting;
  4. With typing or writing for students with physical disabilities (NCSE, 2014).

The roles and responsibilities of an SNA consists of assisting the class teacher in:

  1. Preparation and tidying up the classroom where a student with special educational needs is being taught;
  2. Accompanying individuals or small groups who may have to be withdrawn temporarily from the classroom.
  3. Supervision of students with special educational needs during assembly or play;
  4. Duties of non-teaching nature (SNA cannot substitute the teacher at any circumstances)

(Department of Education and Skills, 2019)

In general, all these definitions are accurate, although it can be argued the role of a Special Needs Assistant is underestimated within this definition. Even though the role of the SNA is to meet the needs and facilitate student’s learning in school, this is a very difficult task without the following additional abilities. The SNA must have huge knowledge about the student and their condition and have the skills to be able to work effectively with the pupil. Also, the SNA’s must have qualities, that will make their work more efficient, some of them includes: Being caring, patient, calm, flexible, non-judgmental, consistent, fair, organized, open to new ideas, reliable and professional. (Flood, 2013)

From doing my questionnaire my respondents confirmed that all above qualities are very important in their work, a person not having those qualities cannot effectively work as an SNA. As for the role of the SNA, it depends on the setting, as one of my respondents stated role is exclusively meeting the needs of the child, while the other replied that her role in addition to meeting the needs is also taking part in the planning and organizing activities for children.

Key principles in Education

Each educational institution having contact with children and young people must have appropriate policies, that determine good practice, that must be used by staff, also by the SNA (Flood, E., (2013). Below I will outline some principles which are most important, and which should be applied in each organization catering for children:

  • Recognize children’s right to be protected, treated with respect, listened to and have their own views taken into consideration;
  • Acknowledge that the welfare of children is a paramount;
  • Adopt a child protection policy;
  • Adopt and consistently apply clearly defined methods of recruiting staff and volunteers
  • Suggest that early intervention is important because it can prevent children not to be vulnerable to the abuse at later stage;
  • Provide child protection training for workers.
  • Share the information about the concerned child with parents and other child care worker and protection agencies and professionals to achieve the best possible solution to the concern (Department of Health and Children, 2002).

Good practice guidelines in education

(Flood, (2013) states that the good practice principles include confidentiality, use of appropriate language, access and inclusion, independence, advocacy and boundaries.

  • Confidentiality is a foundation for everyone working with persons, who handle private information. Certainly, it is a duty of a SNA to protect child’s identity or not to discuss the issues work outside.
  • Use of suitable language is vital when talking about or to children with special needs. SNA should promote use of appropriate language because it affects self-image of children with special needs and other children will adopt our language.
  • Access is about letting the children with special educational needs into the mainstream schools, removal of physical barriers so children can get around within the school environment.
  • Inclusion is more about removing of the social barriers so the children can participate and avail their right to education.
  • Positive self-image is very important for children with special educational needs, because they are often made to believe that they are uncapable to achieve their goals because of their condition. Giving children bit of freedom (if the condition allows in it) will result in gaining more independence and the child will grow in their self-esteem.
  • Special Needs Assistant is working on behalf of the child therefore he/she needs to know the child and his/her condition so that the child can reach their best potential.
  • Having professional boundaries set is vital in any career but is especially important when working with children with special needs. Both SNA and the child with SEN needs to use of appropriate language. There should be physical boundaries set – physical contact kept to a minimum for carrying out task i.e. helping with writing.

Theories of Special Education

There is number of theories that applies to special education. Some of them are: Gestalt, Connection Theory, Gagne’s Conditions of Learning, L. Atincronbsch and R. Snow, Component Display Theory, Cognitive Load Theory, Sign Learning Theory, Vygotsky’s Social Constructivist Theory.

Vygotsky’s Social Constructivist Theory

Lev Vygotsky (1869-1934) He argued that children become competent learners through activities, interactions and experiences rather than sitting down in a classroom completing work sheets.

Vygotsky’s zone of Proximal Development focuses on three main ideas for learning:

  1. Where is the student at?
  2. What is the next point of their learning?
  3. Teach in depth

These strategies are built on effective teaching where planning and curriculum includes being based on children’s knowledge, differentiating learning according to child’s needs, focusing on deep connected numeracy understanding.

Vital in working within a child’s ZPD is the role of the adult. The adult working with children lay the foundation for scaffolding.

“Scaffolding connotes a warm, pleasant collaboration between a teacher and a learner while the two are engaged in joint problem solving activity. During this collaboration the adult supports the child’s autonomy by providing sensitive and contingent assistance, facilitating children’s representational and strategic thinking and prompting children to take over responsibility for the task as their skill increases.” (Hayes, 2013)

(Video) Special Needs Assistant

Vygotsky believes in the importance of scaffolding and how much adults can be positive supports for children to learn.

He also put across the concept that both cognitive and social development work together and building on each other, learning leads development, through this, the child learns as social being, with the support of others.

Vygotsky argued that children’s learning takes place through the process of socialization. He therefore placed great emphasis on the role of adults and other children in a child’s learning. Because of the social aspect of Vygotsky’s learning theory, it is often referred to as a social constructivist theory.

Gagne’s Conditions of Learning

Robert Gagne (1916 –2002) was an American psychologist, who worked in the areas of human’s learning and memory. During his work, he identified 5 different kinds of learning, which to be effective, needs different kinds of instructions:

  • Verbal information – describing in own words what was taught, naming or listing. For this kind of learning to be successful, student must be provided in opportunities to practice, the context needs to be explained. In special education, this would also include amending the curriculum to make it more available for the child.
  • Intellectual skills – differentiating between various qualities, like two musical notes. In special education, this would be playing on child’s strengths and interests to make the learning process more effective.
  • Motor skills – to perform certain movements of the body to do something like writing, kicking ball, playing guitar. Observing a model doing a task and having plenty of time to practice is helpful to acquire the skill. In special education, this would be teacher or another child modelling how to do certain thing for the child with special educational need to learn.
  • Attitude – choosing to behave in a certain way. Modelling certain behaviors by observing others. Inclusion of children with special educational needs into mainstream schools allows them to observe their peer in an example for special education.
  • Cognitive strategy – creating ways to make the learning process easier to somebody. In special education providing a student to solve the problems using their strengths.


Connectivism is a learning theory that explains how Internet technologies have created new opportunities for people to learn and share information across the World Wide Web and among themselves. These technologies include Web browsers, email, wikis, online discussion forums, social networks, YouTube, and any other tool which enables the users to learn and share information with other people (Flood, 2013).

A key feature of connectivism is that, much learning can happen across peer networks that take place online. In connectivism learning, a teacher will guide students to information and answer key questions as needed, in order to support students learning and sharing their own. Students are also encouraged to seek out information on their own online and express what they need. A connected community around this shared information often results. This can be good way for all students to learn not just those with SEN (Flood, (2013).

Connectivism Theory

This a modern theory which stresses that digital technologies of today have impacted people’s life’s, that is, the way we communicate and learn. Important feature of this theory is that people are using the internet to study and to communicate via a network. This theory is relevant to special education, as the computer technologies can assist persons with special educational needs by making the learning interactive or helping people to overgrow own disability. For example, when persons with visual impairment can use audiobooks, or students with hearing impairment can communicate with their peers over the internet. (Flood, 2013).

Stressors in the workplace

Stress is an emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension (MedicineNet, 2019).

Special Needs Assistants in their profession are exposed on different types of stress. These include; challenging behavior, lack of appreciation, lack of support, lack of resources, heavy workload, and isolation in the setting. (Flood, 2013)

It is understandable that the lack of resources to do a good job can lead to frustration and stress. Sometimes educational institutions due to lack of funds does not have the financial resources to purchase materials or equipment to work with children. This is the obstacle, which is difficult to overcome and that stops the educators achieving certain educational goals. For example, the lack of money to buy art materials for child with visual impairment, who like to create art (Flood, 2013).

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Sometimes SNA’s work is not seen as something important (Flood, 2013). They are excluded from the creation of an Individual Educational Plans or kept from contact with children’s parents. The ECCE Quality Frameworks and Curriculum which talk about how parentership with parents for educators is very important in a child’s life. SNA’s who often work on a very personal level with the children aren’t included in creating the IEP. Yes they are non teaching staff but in a whole holistic sence, a child’s physical needs, incuding toileting/feeding/personal hygiene/writing or scribing are just as important for providing an environment which allows for learning. Maslow’s hierarchy of basis needs (Learner Resource Park (2016).

Teachers / SNA, this also leads to underestimation and stress.

Children with Special Educational Needs often display challenging behavior, that SNA must directly deal with. Sometimes due to lack of experience or training the SNA finds it difficult to manage. Often helpful in this situation can be support from other staff, but if not received this can lead to a sense of powerlessness and stress (Flood, 2013). This is confirmed in the survey conducted by me with two Special Needs Assistants since both of my respondents confirmed that dealing with challenging behavior would be the biggest difficulty in their profession.

Both physical health and mental health is important for people and good performance of work depends on it. Some professions are more vulnerable to stress associated with the job and some are less.

Some professions who regularly work with challenging behaviour, with little supports, opportunities for debriefing etc, are known to be very stressful. Professions are heavily exposed to stress in the workplace.

It is very important to have the ability to cope with stress, because its exposure to chronic stress can lead to serious disturbances in the functioning of the body (Flood, 2013)

There are many ways to help with managing stress, some of them includes:

  • Good self-care – healthy diet, mindfulness, sports;
  • Ability to “leave work at work”- this means to place a boundary to differentiate between personal and professional life;
  • Asking for help – support from co-workers is vital in dealing with stress, even having a simple chat about the problem will lead to clearing negative emotions;
  • Good work practices like setting boundaries between professional and child will help to avoid stressful situation. When everyone knows their responsibilities and duties it is easier to maintain balance.

(Learner Resource Park, (2016)

Educational options for children with Special Educational Needs in Ireland

The Department of Education and Skills is responsible for educating in Ireland (Flood, 2013). The EPSEN Act 4 states that children with Special Educational Needs have the right to be educated among their peers, unless their condition doesn’t allow it. Children with SEN have 3 options for education in Ireland:

  1. Special Education Settings – Advantages: children with SEN have access to appropriate educational materials due to better funding of those settings, low adult-child ratio, low level of education; Disadvantages: children with SEN are isolated, with no possibilities of contact with children without disabilities, no chance for inclusion into community.
  2. Special classes attached to mainstream schools – Advantages: Children with SEN have the contact with their peers, Disadvantages: limited “mainstream” time, it can cause frustration when child needs to go back to the special class because there is time limit
  3. Mainstream schools, that are having an inclusive approach to Special Education. There are advantages both for children with and without disabilities. It gives the children the true picture of society, it gives the children the true picture of society, it makes the children conscious, emphatic, friendly, openminded. (Learner resource Park, (2016)

Legislation Relation to Special Needs in Ireland

The need for understanding and acceptance of Special Needs in Ireland have come through 3 stages: neglect and denial; era of special schools and era of integration and inclusion (Learner Recourse Pack). The last one was made possible thanks to relevant legislation that was created and ratified in Ireland. Today there is lots of policies and legislation that would relate to Special Needs. Some of them are: Constitution of Ireland, Education Act 1998, Education (Welfare) Act 2000, The Equality Status Act 2000 & 2010; EPSEN (Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs) Act 2004; The Disability Act 2005; Vision Statement for intellectual disability in Ireland for the 21st century (2009); Childcare Act 1991 & 2001; United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) 2006; Aistear (2009); Siolta (2006) (Flood, E., (2013), (Learner resource Park, (2016)

Below I will discuss 3 selected legislations, which I consider most important.

EPSEN Act 2004

This is the most important piece of legislation, as it focuses exclusively on educational needs of persons with disabilities. The Act explains that “A child with special educational needs shall be educated in an inclusive environment with children who do not have such needs unless the nature or degree of those needs of the child is such that to do so would be inconsistent with,

The best interests of the child as determined in accordance with any assessment carried out under this Act, or the effective provision of education for children with whom the child is to be educated.” (Flood, (2013)

(Video) Special Needs Assistants - Rosmini

(EPSEN Act 2004), (Flood, (2013).

The Act emphasizes the right of children with special educational needs to be educated among their peers, where possible in an inclusive environment. It also makes available for parents to be more involved in education of their children. Moreover, the Act sets out services to be provided for persons with SEN, like assessments or education plans.

(Learner resource Park, (2016).

United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), (2006)

Ireland ratified the Act, which states that persons with disabilities have the same right to be educated and reach their full potential. Also, it says that persons with SEN should have an opportunity to access general education, to develop their talents and interests, and mental and physical abilities (UNCRPD, 2006).

The Disability Act (2005)

The Act was introduced by Department of Justice. The Act imposes an obligation on public authorities to allow access for people with disabilities to services and buildings. It also states that persons with special needs have the right to have their health and educational needs assessed. Likewise, it gives the right to complains. (Flood, 2013)

Self -Reflection

Working on this project made me even more reflective in my practice as a childcare worker and wonder what other strategies can be introduced to create inclusive, nurturing and stimulating environment for all the children. All that I have learnt so far about the work of the SNA is very interesting to me. I feel happy to find out more about the special needs and how to help children with SEN feel competent learners so that they can reach their potential. I am pleased that these days access to education for people with learning difficulties is recognized as the right it is, both in theory and in practice. This situation has been created via the creation of relevant laws and thus an inclusive approach to education. As an educator I believe that all people working with children should have an additional training in the area of Special Needs, because it allows a better practice and giving children with SEN better opportunities for learning and development.

I also think it was very necessary to conduct a survey with practitioners practicing SNA’s because it gave me ideas about the practicalities of the workload and practice of an SNA.

I carried out a questionnaire with 2 SNA’s, I asked each of the respondents 2 questions directly related to the work of the SNA. I received very similar answers on most of the questions. Both respondents agreed that the important features of the efficiency of the SNA are: being caring, friendly, patient, approachable, fair, organized, non-judgmental and good observer. Respondents replied that the biggest challenges in their job, is dealing with challenging behavior and workload as well as work-related stress such as feeling powerless. Despite some challenges related to the job, both of my respondents seem to be pleased with their work. They speak of feeling that they are needed, that they are helping others, that they feel satisfaction and fulfillment from their roll. The questions to which answers were quite different was about the role of Special Needs Assistant and what it involves. One of my respondents said that her role is only on meeting care needs of students, such as helping in the toilet and bringing them to the mainstream schools. On the other hand, the second respondent stated that his role is to accompany the child in the classroom, “keeping the child on track” during lessons and also assisting teacher to plan activities for the child.

The result of my survey shows that different schools allows the SNA’s in the classroom work, seeing them as valuable support to learners.


Starting this course, I was not fully aware of what to expect and what exactly will be involved in the course. I thought that it will be mainly focused on different types of disabilities and how to work with children with SEN so that they can reach their potential. The contents of this course positively surprised me and let me realize that in addition to knowledge the different conditions, it is also very important to have a backup information such as legislations and policies, education system, different options of education for children with disabilities, good practice guidelines.

When doing this course, I also learnt the role of an SNA in educational institutions. Until now I thought that SNA is involved in planning and carrying out educational activities. However, from the content SNA training and conducting my surveys I found out that the role of SNA is exclusively on meeting the needs of the child, such as the toilet, eating and dealing with challenging behavior. However, my other respondent stated that she is involved in planning, but her main job is to support the child. Surely, it depends on the setting and management in the place. My overall view is that the content of this course is very relevant, and it’s prepares students for the role of an SNA. In the future I will surely consider SNA as an extra career as I feel well prepared for this role.


  • Flood, E., (2013) Assisting Children with Special Needs: An Irish Perspective. 2nd Edition, Dublin: Gill & Macmillan
  • Flood, E., (2010) Assisting Children with Special Needs: An Irish Perspective. 2nd Edition, Gill & Macmillan
  • Dare, A., O’Donovan, M., (2009) Caring for Children with Special Needs. 3rd Edition. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes
  • Department of Health and Children (2002) Our Duty to Care: The Principles of Good Practice for the Protection of Children & Young People [Online] Available at: Department of Health and Children, available at : Accessed on 9/9/19.
  • Tassoni P., Beith K., Eldridge H., Gough A., (2002). Child Care and Education: Harcourt Education Limited.
  • Hayes, N. (2013) Early Years Parctice. Getting it Right from the Start Dublin: Gill & Macmillan
  • NCCA, (2009). Aistear. Dublin: National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.
  • Sìolta, (2010). The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education, Second Edition. Dublin:
  • Our Duty to Care: The Principles of Good Practice for the Protection of Children and Young People; accessed at on 16/9/19
  • accessed on 2/9/19
  • accessed on 2/9/19
  • accessed on 2/9/19
  • accessed on 4/9/19
  • MedicineNet, (2019) Stess [Online]. Available at:
  • Accessed on 9/9/19.
  • Department of Education and Skills (2019). Role of an SNA [ONLINE]. Available at: accessed on 12/9/19
  • accessed on 12/9/19


What is the role of a special needs classroom assistant? ›

Day-to-day tasks

As an SEN teaching assistant, you could: prepare learning materials. adapt teaching support according to student's needs. look after children's physical, social and emotional welfare.

What is the role of a special needs assistant Ireland? ›

Special needs assistants (SNAs) play an important role in assisting the teacher to support students with special educational needs who have significant care needs. They are allocated to the school and work under the direction of the principal/teachers.

What does an additional needs assistant do? ›

Special needs teaching assistants help children with a range of learning, physical or behavioural difficulties. You may work in a special school that supports children with a range of moderate, severe or complex special educational needs, or with an individual pupil or small group of pupils in a mainstream class.

What is the most important role of an SNA? ›

The primarily role of an SNA is to help children with special needs access all areas of the curriculum. Although it is a non-teaching role, SNAs provide support and guidance in the classroom and become a friendly face they can turn to.

What is the role of a special needs worker? ›

Encouraging children's confidence, self esteem and independence. Helping children understand instructions, through repetition, re-phrasing or demonstrating. Putting into practice individual education, social, behavioural and personal care programmes. Encouraging children to communicate with one another and with staff.

How do I prepare for an SNA interview? ›

Do you have any prior experience in working with children/children with disabilities? What specific qualifications do you have? Can you offer any future plans for courses and, if so, outline how these might help in work as SNA? What are your personal interests and hobbies?

What does an SNA do in school? ›

Special needs assistants (SNAs) are allocated to schools to work with children who have specific care needs. They provide non-teaching care support. SNAs support pupils who have care needs resulting from a disability, behavioural difficulties or a significant medical issue.

What skills and qualities are needed to be an SNA? ›

Communication and Interpersonal Skills • Is an excellent communicator who is able to motivate, encourage and instil confidence. Has the ability to quickly build rapport. Is respectful and displays high emotional intelligence. Is resilient, has patience and energy to persevere.

What skills do you need to work with special needs? ›

Top Skills Needed to Work with Developmentally Disabled
  • Organization and Adaptability. These may seem like two separate—even opposite—personality traits. ...
  • Patience. Again, this is a skill that is needed for working with children of any ability. ...
  • Kindness and Empathy. ...
  • Optimism. ...
  • Communication Skills.
9 Dec 2021

What makes a good learning support assistant? ›

To be a good fit for a Learning Support Assistant (LSA) role, you will need to be positive, calm, motivational, flexible, creative, and innovative. You must be able to demonstrate that you are trustworthy and ethical, that you have a supportive nature, as well as being assertive, confident, and resourceful.

How do you assist learners with special needs? ›

Make learning participative. Encourage peer learning. Break tasks down into smaller steps that will incrementally build into the task objective. Use learners' own words, language, materials and personal context - be clear about activity purpose and how it relates to the skills needs of the learner.

Which is the way to assist students with special needs? ›

Successful Strategies for Teaching and Supporting Students with Disabilities
  • Lean on others. ...
  • Stay organized. ...
  • Don't reinvent the wheel. ...
  • Know that each student is unique. ...
  • Keep instructions simple. ...
  • Embrace advocacy. ...
  • Create opportunities for success. ...
  • Don't feel pressure to be perfect.

What is the best way to support a person with special needs? ›

General Etiquette Tips
  1. Practice the Golden Rule. Treat everyone as you would like to be treated. ...
  2. Always Ask Before Giving Assistance. Just because a person has a disability, they don't necessarily need or want your assistance. ...
  3. Think Before You Speak. ...
  4. Avoid Showing Pity or Being Patronizing.

What are the basic roles of special education? ›

A Special Education Teacher educates children who face physical, mental, emotional, and learning disabilities. These teachers work in various settings, such as schools and child care centers.

What is expected of an SNA? ›

The Department of Education and Skills defines the role of an SNA as supporting students with additional needs and assisting the student's teacher to do the same. Their duties and responsibilities involve: Preparation and tidying up of classroom(s) in which the pupil(s) with special needs is/are being taught.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a special educational needs coordinator? ›

In mainstream primary schools the key responsibilities of the SENCO may include: Overseeing the day-to-day operation of the school's SEND policy. Coordinating provision for children with SEND. Liaising with and advising fellow teachers.

What motivates you to work with persons with special needs? ›

#1: A Rewarding Career

By working with individuals who are intellectually disabled, you are helping someone with special needs to conquer the daily challenges life can throw their way. You can celebrate their successes and help them through the difficult times.

What are the 3 most important roles of a special education teacher? ›

Special education teachers typically do the following: Assess students' skills and determine their educational needs. Adapt general lessons to meet students' needs. Develop Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for each student.

How many modules does SNA have? ›

Moreover, this combined SNA course equips the learner in the theory and practice underpinning the education and care of those who present with special educational needs. Completing this SNA course will ensure you gain valuable insight from all three modules which makes you stand out when seeking employment.

Can an SNA be alone with a child? ›

Appendix 1 of the SNA contract clarifies this: “Assisting the teachers in the supervision of pupils during assembly, recreation and dispersal form the classroom for one reason or another.” This means that if a teacher is present and supervising, an SNA may assist. However, an SNA may not supervise by themselves.

How do you handle conflict at school? ›

Handling Conflict
  1. Focus on the problem, not on the personalities. ...
  2. Be courteous, but don't sugarcoat the problem. ...
  3. Keep your conversations or decisions strictly confidential. ...
  4. Rather than impose a resolution, look to the participants to come up with one together.

Why is communication skills important as an SNA? ›

Communication is an essential skill for a special needs assistant to develop. A special needs assistant may have strong communication skills with adults, but it's also crucial to know how to speak with children in a way they can understand. In your role, you may explain complex terms and situations to children.

What top 3 skills do you believe you need to be successful as a special education assistant? ›

The qualities identified with top workers in the field of special education often mimic those exhibited by parents: patience, compassion, consistency, acceptance and an passion to see their children do well. Assistants need these qualities and more, as they will be called upon to advocate for their students.

What are special needs examples? ›

Qualifying for special education services

intellectual disability. hearing impairment, including deafness. speech or language impairment. visual impairment, including blindness.

What are the four areas of special needs? ›

The four broad areas of SEND need are:
  • communication and interaction.
  • cognition and learning.
  • social, emotional and mental health difficulties.
  • sensory and/or physical needs.

Why is it important to support children with special needs? ›

Special education is of great importance for children with learning disabilities, because it gives them the opportunity to get quality education in line with their unique needs. Special education enables every student to gain a high level of independence and reach their full potential.

Why you should work with special needs kids? ›

Working with special needs students gives you the opportunity to impact the lives of children who have disabilities, learning disorders, and developmental delays. Not only are you making an impact in the lives of students by giving them tools and resources to learn according to their learning style.

How would you deal with an aggressive child with special needs? ›

What Can We Do?
  1. Walk the talk! ...
  2. Do your best to keep your home life calm, supportive, and respectful.
  3. If your child is acting aggressively, reinforce alternative or competing behaviors. ...
  4. Be sure to praise good behavior immediately and often.
  5. Help your child articulate his or her feelings.

What are your strengths as an education assistant? ›

A great teaching assistant will have a passion for working with and developing children, whether that be in early years, SEN or mainstream primary and secondary. An energetic approach will create an exciting atmosphere in the classroom, encouraging students to want to learn.

What are the two main roles of a teaching assistant? ›

An assistant to a teacher has two main jobs: supporting the teacher in charge and supporting students in the classroom. As the job title implies, teacher assistants assist the lead teacher to ease their workload and help out with everyday classroom tasks, such as grading homework or taking attendance.

What are four responsibilities that an educational assistant has in the classroom? ›

Education assistants are responsible for performing duties like supervision, class preparation, behavioral monitoring, taking attendance, paperwork management, and more when helping teachers.

Which is the best method to teach children with special needs? ›

Thematic linking: Here, a single theme is tied into multiple subject areas, so that they are no longer regarded as discrete subjects. This method of teaching is very effective in special education classrooms.

How do you calm a special needs person? ›

Emotional regulation can be hard, so our Occupational Therapist, Manny, has put together five simple strategies for soothing disabled children.
  1. Listen to calming music. ...
  2. Use sensory toys. ...
  3. Read a book together. ...
  4. Set aside regular time for high energy activities. ...
  5. Create a 'calming space' in your house.

How would you care for a patient with special needs? ›

5 Strategies When Caring for Patients with Special Needs
  • COMMUNICATION. Patients with special needs may communicate in nontraditional ways, requiring clinicians to adapt to the situation. ...
11 Jun 2019

How do you assist and respond to a customer with special needs? ›

7 Things You Can Do For Your Customers With Special Needs
  1. Use the Braille System. ...
  2. Treat them equally; in an inclusive manner. ...
  3. Raise awareness and inclusivity through training. ...
  4. Make pathways wider; more convenient. ...
  5. Be patient. ...
  6. Provide accessible and spacious bathrooms. ...
  7. Don't treat them differently.

What are the requirements of a SEN classroom assistant? ›

What qualifications do you need to become a SEN Teaching Assistant? A Special Educational Needs Teaching Assistant needs to have a high school diploma or GED. You must also be at least 18 years old and pass all of the required drug tests, background checks, health examinations, and other screenings in your area.

What qualifications does a special needs assistant need? ›

You can receive several appropriate qualifications to qualify for a special needs assistant position. You may be eligible if you have a QQI level 5 or 6 certificate that includes teaching and learning in a school setting. You can also obtain a level 5 or higher qualification in childcare and early years education.

What do you say in a SEN interview? ›

​25 Common SEN Interview Questions (And How to Answer Them)
  • Tell me about yourself. ...
  • Why are you interested in this position? ...
  • What do you know about special education? ...
  • How would you work with a student who has ADHD? ...
  • How would you deal with a parent who is angry and upset?
27 Mar 2022

How do I prepare for a SEN interview? ›

Here are 7 key things you should keep in mind when answering SEN TA interview questions. Use examples of how you have helped SEN students in the past. Be honest about your level of experience and knowledge. Highlight any additional training or qualifications you have that are relevant to working with SEN students.

What are the five key responsibilities of an educator? ›

In this article, we would like to share the five main responsibilities and obligations of a childcare educator.
  • Build a trustable relationship with the Child. ...
  • Ensure Holistic Learning. ...
  • Prepare the Environment. ...
  • Assess the child's learning. ...
  • An Educator Must Ensure Ongoing Learning and Self-Development.
19 Feb 2021

What makes a good SNA? ›

Communication and Interpersonal Skills • Is an excellent communicator who is able to motivate, encourage and instil confidence. Has the ability to quickly build rapport. Is respectful and displays high emotional intelligence. Is resilient, has patience and energy to persevere.

Can an SNA supervise a class? ›

Appendix 1 of the SNA contract clarifies this: “Assisting the teachers in the supervision of pupils during assembly, recreation and dispersal form the classroom for one reason or another.” This means that if a teacher is present and supervising, an SNA may assist. However, an SNA may not supervise by themselves.

Where can a special needs assistant work? ›

As an SNA, you can work in primary and secondary school classrooms or special schools. Professional development courses for SNAs is often available from the National Council for Special Education.


1. Teaching Special Needs Children : How to Become a Teaching Assistant
2. Discover Careers: Special Needs Assistant | Sortyourfuture
3. SNA Induction training 14 08 2020
(Department of Education)
4. Teaching Assistants Supporting Students in Special Education Programs
(Questar III BOCES)
5. Special Needs & Education | Explained By Prime Time
6. Special Needs Assistants Speak Out
(Rebel Telly)
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