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Emma Russell

BA (Hons) Supporting Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Top Up

I decided to do the programme because I work in a special educational needs team within a secondary school, particularly supporting children with autism. The programme allows me to tailor my studies towards autism, which has been useful in my current role, has been great for my personal development and it will hopefully also support further career development.

I’ve really enjoyed all the modules and have found them useful and relevant in my current practice. We recently completed a module around leadership and management which was perfect timing to help support my line management responsibilities and my dissertation has resulted in changes within my setting. I am incredibly passionate about remaining in a role that supports children with special educational needs, and I am considering building on my current knowledge with a Masters.

For my dissertation I chose to look at the impacts of Lego therapy on key stage 3 students with autism. For the research I surveyed staff on their understanding and knowledge around Lego therapy and their thoughts on its impact, I observed children before, during and after Lego therapy sessions and I asked the students to answer a questionnaire on how they thought the Lego therapy helped them. I found Lego therapy supported children with many aspects of their education, not just the expected benefits for communication and social skills, as it also helped with inclusion and had positive impacts on student attendance. It was the information from the students themselves that highlighted some of these additional benefits.

I have shared the findings from my research in my setting and now we are trialling Lego therapy sessions with other students, not just those with autism or stated special educational needs, who may benefit from support with communication or forming social bonds and making friends. I would also feel confident enough to recommend this elsewhere in the future.