Hello (from a T.A. soon to be a teacher)

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    Recently I was working as a teaching assistant on a supply basis at “Beverley School and Service for Children with Autism” in Middlesbrough for a period of 3 months. During this period I worked with students across a large age range and range of abilities. I really enjoyed my time at the school and formed so strong bonds with both the staff and students. Before starting at the school I was not really aware of autism (and related problems) but the staff were very helpful and good at managing the support I was providing.

    Through working at Beverley I learnt a lot of ways of working with autistic children and am now trying to also fill in the theory behind the techniques that I was using. Hence I have been reading various books recommended by the head teacher of the school. These are mainly by the authors Tony Atwood and Rita Jordan. I have also purchased “Freaks, Geeks and Asperger’s Syndrome” by Luke Jackson (though I haven’t read this yet) and “Multicoloured Mayhem” by Jacqui Jackson. This has helped me connect a lot of the work I was doing with the theory.

    I have now moved to a permanent job (though I will only be there until the summer – see below) at “Thomas Hepburn Community School” in Gateshead again working as a teaching assistant. One of the students I am supporting has Asperger’s Syndrome. However he seem to have good stratergies in place to help him cope in the school and the teachers all so he is progressing well. At some stage I plan on trying to have a talk with him to find out if he believes this is the case but I haven’t figured out quite yet the best way to approach this.

    Long term I am going into teaching. I have a place on Middlesbrough S.C.I.T.T. (School Centred Initial Teacher Training) starting after the summer (this September). I will be training as a science teacher in particular physics. (I have a Science degree from Durham Uni. – Half Physics and half Earth Sciences.) However I also have an interest in moving in to teaching S.E.N. students as soon as possible and long term would love to work in a school like Beverley. For this reason I am presently looking at what extra training I could also undertake that would be of benefit to my long term plans and also to the students I am presently supporting. One course I am considering is either a 3 or 5 day TEACCH course. However as I will have to fund this myself I would be interest to know if you think this would be of benefit to me.

    As I am begining to build up a wall of text I’ll leave it there for the moment. However I will happily tell you more about me if anyone is interested and will also gladly accept any advice. Thank you. David Baker.

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