Dynamis recently delivered a series of trainings for a special needs school in London which looks after children in primary and secondary education who are living with significant learning disabilities.    After a pre-training site visit to discuss the training needs and the environment of teaching with both the Assistant Head and the Executive Head Teacher, including a walk-around to see the teachers and TAs in practice, Dynamis was tasked with designing an appropriate training programme.   This involved looking at the appropriate content and formats through which the relevant special needs learning and skills development could be promoted.

A number of engagements across multiple days was planned and groups of staff, from Primary, from Secondary, from the TA team and the classroom teacher team were engaged in appropriate levels of content and practice which was designed to fit the school environment, the culture of learning and specifically the emphasis the school has on finding early-stage interventions which are non-physical, when a special needs child becomes distressed or overstimulated.

Our training content involved, amongst other key topics:

  • maintaining emotional equilibrium in high-stress moments
  • the alerting systems required to ensure proper assistance is available to special needs staff in an incident
  • body language strategies to assist communication and enhance safety (incorporating Makaton gestures)
  • adapted communication strategies for use with non-verbal special needs children
  • duty of care issues in self-care and operating from a secure emotional base
  • the principles of reasonable force for control, holding and shielding from assault
  • issues specific to early-years education and the physical challenges in working with young children

The training was delivered using our highly refined ‘blended’ format in the most part, however full day “theory and practice” sessions were also included for those members of the special needs teams who it was decided would benefit most from immersion in the topic.

Feedback has been very positive, as the following considered thoughts from just one special needs educator demonstrate:

Great mix of practical and theoretical learning. Focus on spotting first signs of possible violent behavious and preventing the situation from becoming violent. Learning how to assess the situation, stay calm and not get involved emotionally was really important for me and strenghtened by gaining a legislative and practical knowledge. All theoretical learning was clear and directed on learning how to asses the situation and how to ballance the response. It was a tremedously helpful course.

It meant a lot that the trainers commented on how it will be more difficult in practice – for example how it will be difficult to escort out a person who has an adrenaline rush and is moving. It was a fantastic course. It would be great to have some links to further research or outside of school training suggested. Although this might not be inscribed in the nature of the course – for me, as a TA, it would be great to hear a little about play fighting, importance of it and the dangers of it. Those are just the cherries, the course was excellent!

To learn more about Dynamis training in Positive Handling Strategies for Special Needs or for environments which look after Children with Learning Disabilities, please visit our dedicated webpage at http://www.positivehandling.co.uk/send-training-special-educational-needs-disability/