Special Needs Assistant (SNA) Course – (QQI Level 6)

329.00 or 165.00 / month for 2 months

  • Award Achieved: QQI Level 6 Certificate in Special Needs Assisting (6N1957).
  • NFQ Credit Value: 15 credits.
  • Format: Online eLearning course supported with fully qualified tutors & accredited by QQI.
  • Course Fee: Special Offer price: Only – €329.00 or
  • Easy Payments: Only €165 per month over 2 months with our unrivalled Easy Payment Plans. Enrol using your Debit / Credit Card or call us on (+353) 1 206 1828 to avail of this offer.
  • Course fee includes all documentation, lecturing, assessments, learner registration and QQI certification fees. No other hidden accreditation or certification fees to pay!
  • Students can complete this course within 8 weeks which is ample time and can start it at any time of the year that is convenient.
  • No classes to attend.
  • Live Online tutor-led support sessions (weekly).


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Course Description


The purpose of this QQI Level 6 Special Needs Assistant (SNA) online course is to equip the learner with the skills necessary to ensure adults or children with special needs are offered the same opportunity to access education compared to those who do not have special needs. Learners will examine the different educational options available for children in Ireland under current legislation.

This programme will outline the importance of the difference between an inclusive and integrated educational environment. The learner will also study the impact of special needs on behaviour and understand the different techniques to help with maladaptive behaviour. Learners will also understand the importance of stress management.

This distance learning QQI accredited course means that students can study flexibly at home, or at work, while gaining an Internationally Recognised Qualification.

Students receive a comprehensive Course Manual, Assignments, Efficient Studyguide, and unlimited one-to-one Tutor Support for the course duration.



Course Details


Topics covered include:


Provision of education under current legislation:

  • Current legislation – summary of main points
  • Process of assessment – NEPS report, local SENO
  • Summary of aids and help available.

Education Options for people with special needs:

  • Access to provisions – SENO
  • Educational options
    i.        Mainstream
    ii.       Special needs school
    iii.      Special needs area within mainstream
    iv.      Home tutoring
    v.       Special needs preschool
    vi.      State exam provisions
    vii.     Resource hours
    viii.    Special Needs Assistant hours
    ix.      IEP.

Theories, skills and processes relevant to curriculum implementation:

  • In-depth knowledge of different special needs
  • Understanding of the multidisciplinary team
  • In-depth knowledge of child development theory.

Differences between integration and inclusion:

  • Environments willing to change in order to accommodate students with learning or physical differences compared to those who expect students to adapt to their system.

Learning opportunities in order to promote independence and responsibility:

  • Importance of independence
  • Consequences of a lack of independence
  • Learning opportunities based on child’s ability rather than disability
  • Making choices
  • Personal hygiene and care routines
  • Garden projects – individual plants, vegetables.

Individual Education Plan:

  • What is an IEP
  • Importance if the IEP
  • Current issues regarding the National Council for Special Education
  • Who is involved in the IEP
  • How are goals met
  • Shelf life
  • Child’s input (promotes independence and sense of agency).

Skills needed to aid the teacher:

  • Relationship to the teacher
  • Role in the school / preschool environment
  • Communication skills
  • Working on initiative as well as working with direction.

Behaviour management techniques:

  • Conditions associated with Behavioural Difficulties
  • Causes of Behavioural Problems
  • Withdrawn behaviour
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Behaviour Modification.

Manage meaningful activities that are suited to people’s needs and connect with their experiences and interests in the learning environment:

  • Importance of alternative communication methodologies
  • Understanding of individuals abilities and interests
  • Allowing the child to be the active agent in their learning
  • Allowing activities which promote independence and confidence.

Identify strategies for dealing with stressors within the work place:

  • Stress
    i.        Impact of stress
    ii.       Important of stress management
  • Highlight the stressors while working with children who have special needs
  • Stress management techniques.


Who should complete this course?

  • People who wish to enhance their personal and professional development of the person working within the area of Special Needs Classroom Assistants.
  • People looking to gain a QQI Level 6 Major Award in Early Childhood Care and Education – 6M2007.


Entry Requirements / Prerequisites:

  • Level 5 Award or equivalent in a relevant subject area (Childcare) and/or relevant practical experience (3 years minimum) – Please ask about our requirements surrounding Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for entry.

  • Students are recommended to undertake a practical supervised work placement (20 hours minimum over the duration of the programme – approx. 4 – 6 hours per week) within the relevant vocational area – i.e. Primary Schools or Childcare Facilities for Children with Additional Needs. This is not a mandatory requirement to complete this module. 

  • English Language Requirement: Students entering programmes leading to awards at Level 6 are expected to be able to: fluently read, draft, prepare and understand complex information, including quantitative information, that is personally relevant and reflecting a broad knowledge base. For example, this might include text and other information relating to abstract theoretical ideas, concerns or procedures, such as local planning concerns in relation to broader spatial strategy, political issues in relation to particular agenda, budget plans/ specifications.

  • Learners undertaking this programme must have basic IT skills and access to the necessary equipment to enable them to undertake an online programme: computer, broadband, email, Microsoft, recording equipment necessary for some skills demonstration tasks, and where applicable any other specialised software/equipment. 

  • As this programme is delivered through distance learning or eLearning, students must be capable of studying on their own initiative.

  • For more details on participation suitability of this course click here».


Progression to further Studies:

  • This course leads to a level 6 award on the National Framework of Qualifications.
  • Students who successfully complete this programme may use this Level 6 credit towards completing a Major QQI award in Early Childhood Care and Education 6M2007.



This course is assessed through a number of assignments which students must complete to demonstrate their understanding of various topics.

Project 50%
Skills Demonstration 50%




Learners are required to research and examine the Education of Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004. They must outline the assessment procedures for the child with a disability as stated under the above bill. As part of the study, they are required to evaluate this process and devise the benefits of the assessment procedure. They must choose a special need to base their project on. The project must be compiled in line with the assessment criteria outlined in briefs that will be issued with the programme.


Skills Demonstration:

This Skills Demonstration is divided into two sections:

  • Section 1 – the learner will be required to demonstrate their knowledge with regard to working with those who have a special need. 
  • Section 2 – the learner will be assessed on the practical elements of working with those who have special needs.  For this section the learner will be observed by their supervisor and marked by the tutors through learner journals and reflection diaries in which they must give a detailed description of the tasks they were involved in.



Pass 50 – 64%
Merit 65 – 79%
Distinction 80 – 100%



  • Following successful completion you will receive a QQI component Certificate in Special Needs Assisting (6N1957) at Level 6.
  • QQI (Quality & Qualifications Ireland) is the national awarding body for further education and training in Ireland. The Open College is registered with QQI to offer programmes leading to QQI awards in the National Framework of Qualifications in Ireland. Click here for details of the National Framework of Qualifications.
  • Click here for more detailed Accreditation information.
  • All Registration & Certification Fees are included in the course price. No other fees to pay.

QQI Distance Learning Courses


Delivery Format


This QQI Special Needs Assistant (6N1957) course is completed through online eLearning Course and there are no lectures to attend.

Students can complete this course within 8 weeks which is ample time and can start it at any time of the year that is convenient. If students need to extend this period for any reason during or near the end of the course they can request an extension through the college.

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