Over the years I have gained a lot of experience working with children with a range of additional needs. This is an area I have a particular interest in, and I have completed a wide range of courses to supplement my experience with practical knowledge. The most important issue for all children, but especially those with special educational needs, is to feel confident and this is why I tutor in the familiar surroundings of their own home. I have experience working with children with dyslexia, autism, ADHD, and hearing impairments.
Dyslexia and Dyscalculia
Children with dyslexia and dyscalculia usually need to “overlearn” – that is learn the same thing more than once in order to process and retain it. I am always patient, and I find as many different ways as I can for children to learn the same thing, both to prevent boredom and to help grow additional pathways for storing and retrieving the information. My teaching methods make effective use of multi-sensory techniques, and I find that this benefits all children, but particularly those with dyslexia and dyscalculia. For an insight into how I teach, please read my articles on Teaching Times Tables, Teaching Number Bonds and Teaching Spelling.
Over the past few years, I have attended several training courses run by the British Dyslexia Association to improve my knowledge and skills in this area, and I regularly read online and magazine articles to keep up-to-date.
I have extensive experience working with people with autism and have a good understanding of the difficulties they face in learning. My first priority is always to put children at their ease to reduce anxiety levels. I always maintain the same calm mood and the same friendly attitude no matter how good or bad my day has been so that they can be sure the environment will be consistent.
I am completely flexible in my tutoring and can break away from the planned session at any time to address a particular point or skill that is causing them difficulty and taking up their attention. I make sure that my explanations are clear and understandable to avoid any misconceptions caused by children taking things literally. If they have special interests, I will relate the content to these as much as possible, to make the learning relevant to them and to increase their motivation. Please see this article on teaching English through writing a car magazine for an example.
I have also completed several courses with Autism West Midlands to further my knowledge.
I have worked with children with ADHD and understand that they can vary between being hyperfocused, and struggling to focus at all – sometimes in the same session. I am able to “go with the flow” and adapt my teaching to what they need at that particular moment. Sometimes an English session may be spent working on one style of writing or a whole maths session might be spent looking at how to approach word problems, other times it will be broken into lots of short snappy activities.
I have completed a distance-learning course about ADHD through the University of Derby and I read as much as I can about it to further my knowledge and to help me develop new ideas for teaching.
I have experience of working in a special school for Deaf children, and so I have a good insight into the difficulties children with deafness and hearing impairments have in accessing the curriculum.
I have passed my Level 2 BSL exam, and if children can sign I use this to supplement my teaching. I am aware of various ways to aid communication, such as positioning myself so that the light falls on my face and not behind me. I make use of teaching aids such as colour coding for English, and cubes, counters, play money, etc for maths to enable the children to make progress as quickly as they are able.
Other Special Needs
I am adding to my knowledge and experience all the time, so if you or your child have any additional needs not mentioned here, feel free to get in touch to see whether I am able to help