CATTS Ireland have been delivering courses to parents, and educators for years. We have been asking those who attend our courses what it is that they feel they are missing or would help them in their schools better assist pupils who require additional supports.
We asked, made suggestions, got feedback, ideas to improve, and – Here we are!
SNAs / Special Ed teachers often don’t feel they have the groundings or support with the difficulties they need to assist pupils in school. Especially if they have changes in pupils they need to support mid way through the year.
💡 Our suggested solution:
Online Modular OnDemand training portal for SNAs, Special Education teachers, class teachers, with online therapist & peer support available.
Based on teacher, SNA feedback, the Portal has to be:
(Which Education Nation delivers)
- Accessible to ALL school staff/ support members when they need it – no requests to 3rd party to access (other than school principle, secretary or other nominated person at individual school level).
- Available anytime, so that if an SNA / Teacher needs to quickly brush up on something, it’s there for them
- Live updates as new research and techniques emerge
- Allow new skill training when they know they will get a pupil with that specific need into their class
- Live & real time management of courses taken by Principle, Lead SE teacher.
- Allow school to add/remove staff members access based on staff changes.
- Direct feedback loops to training provision so requests for help new resources can be added to on the go throughout the year.
- Free to teachers or staff at point of access, e.g. no need to request funds to attend training etc.
So how does this work in practice?
Education Nation has TWO main components:
- Online Training portal (which you are viewing now)
- Closed secure Teacher/SNA staff Facebook group for peer and healthcare professional support and access.
Online Training portal
The content style was requested to SHORT modular courses focused on the ‘how to’ and practical steps and tips for classrooms etc.
SNAs have told us that it needs to be a catalog of modular courses (updated regularly), so that someone can just do an hour or 2 specifically on a topic: e.g. how to quickly help a pre-verbal kid who is joining your class.
However, the feedback was that they also didn’t have, or had the basics too long ago to be of use, on the key clinical difficulties they encounter in the classroom. As such, we have foundation 101 courses on each key area.
All topics have same structure:
- Basics 101s (designed to be understood by anyone.) -> Parents can access these at FULL cost on our main site. (E.g. Autism 101 is €35 for 1 person/family to access).
- Specific focused & Practical courses/ “What to do’s” split into versions for;
Preschools, Special Schools, Mainstream and Secondary School focus.
(To be used like a menu, staff pick the bits they feel they need as for the kids they have been given)
Current and requested courses by teachers and SNA, (Live by early September 2019)
Down Syndrome 101
AAC devices 101
Types of Communication issues
Understanding Speech Sound Disorders (SSD)
Practical Follow-on briefings and supports
Matching SLT recommendations to the curriculum
Matching OT recommendations to the curriculum
Matching Psych recommendations to the curriculum
AAC devices in the classroom.
Supporting someone with ASD in the classroom
💡 Closed secure Teacher/SNA staff Facebook group
Live Here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CATTSTeacherCarerSupport/
Courses are useful, but access to SLT, or other professionals when they needed support was vital.
Not to replace existing planned school onsite access, but to provide on-call support.
– Asynchronous access to peers
– Asynchronous access to SLTs
– Optional Virtual therapy support as extra*
*Optional Virtual therapy support still requires same rules / permissions as an onsite visit by a Speech Therapist, so the teacher would need parental consent etc.
Biggest question on this: Why Facebook?
Facebook was chosen for a number of reasons:
1.Ease of use (even non-technical people can use Facebook – not another new system to learn)
2.Security (yes, even with data privacy issues) as data is held in Clonee data center in Meath
3.Scaling. It is highly unlikely it can be offline when someone needs it.
4.Allows FB Messenger video chat and access, so online support can be provided.
(Online Messenger chats can be deleted afterwards for confidentiality)
5.Parent support group runs in tandem, with similar content types, but aimed at helping parents understand techniques etc, so they can reinforce topics and techniques at home. https://www.facebook.com/groups/LetsTalkKidsSpeech/
Allowing Parents (who want to engage) to reinforce the techniques being successfully implemented in school increases the chances of success tremendously.
At CATTS, we regularly hear parents say “the school is using XYZ with John, but we don’t use it at home?” When asked why, usually they didn’t know how to do replicate it for home, or feel they could.
What does the Facebook Group offer?
- Closed Facebook group (accessible at school or individual level) to allow sharing of tips, ask questions etc, and to get help. SLT (later other) professionals give communal help, Q&A etc, including live videos etc, on pertinent topics. (Live videos based on needs of group get baked back into the online training platform to help build the body of resources available).
- Online direct supports.
- Facebook AI bot to help SNA, Teachers etc, troubleshoot issues: -> direct to relevant live video or training if it exists, and/or go to secure message chat with a therapist. (Chat function allows secure sending of live or pre-recorded video, so as long as the SNA has followed the schools policy on recording and got appropriate permissions, they can share what is happening and get assistance and things to try).
- Live supports (essentially a virtual SLT visit to the school) to observe, give recommendations etc at class level. Individual assistance with pupils is possible but highly dependent on the abilities of the pupil, the school and SNA time to support, as they have to be the SLT’s body in the room. Only for extreme cases where a local SLT is not available to visit the individual to help soon enough.
(Live online support is a separate chargeable service which needs to be discussed on a case by case basis depending on whether the school is paying, or the pupil’s parents)
How much does this system cost our school?
We try to keep it as accessible as possible, however there is a cost to running a system such as this, as well as paying and securing talented professionals to create, deliver and give permission to record their training.
That said, if we can get most Irish schools to use this system, the cost per school, per year will be negligible.
Starting off, we have 2 Pricing tiers.
- Monthly Access per school €55 per month, billed monthly.
- Yearly Access per school €350 per year, billed yearly. (= €29 per month)
If your school is interested, you need the following details:
- School Roll Number
- Named Administrator for your School (Suggest School secretary or principle)
- Credit or Debit card for Monthly billing, or PO or authorization for Yearly. Bi-Annual access
You can click here to access the JOIN UP page. (At present, it will ask you to register your interest so we can let you know when it is officially LIVE in August).
Frequently Asked Question on Billing!!!
Can a third party (Parents Association, or local business) pay for access for my school?
Yes, someone outside your school can pay for access for you school for a Yearly or Bi-Annual plan. We plan on a Sponsors page on this site, so they can add their logo, etc, and use it for follow on marketing etc, if they so wish.
They will be leveling the playing field for the children who most need it in your community, so should be applauded for doing so.