Special Needs Assistant (QQI Level 6) – Attendance learning


  • Course Fee: Now only: €395
  • Part-Time Attendance course – 8 weeks @ two evenings per week.
  • Course fee includes all documentation, lecturing, supervised exams, learner registration and QQI certification fees. No other fees to pay.
  • Award Achieved: QQI Level 6 component Certificate in Special Needs Assisting (6N1957).
  • All our SNA classroom courses are limited to a maximum of 12 participants to ensure high quality support and adequate one-to-one tuition so book early to avoid disappointment.
  • New dates for April 2016 – See “Locations & Dates” for more.


Course Description

The purpose of this Special Needs Assisting programme 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 legalisation.

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.

Course documentation for this course is detailed, comprehensive and easy to read.

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 Certificate, Leaving Certificate or equivalent qualifications and/or relevant life and work experiences.
  • Students must be competent in both written and spoken English.
  • As part of the assessment criteria for this course students’ will need to carry out practical demonstrations, all candidates who enrol for this course must have the agreement from their supervisor/manager in the work place to oversee their practical work.


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.

QQI Distance Learning Courses

Delivery Format

This QQI Special Needs Assisting (6N1957) course is completed through 8 weeks of evening classes which are normally held on Tuesday & Thursday evenings from 6.30 to 9.30.

Courses will be run over the following dates: New Dates


  • Option 1: Tues & Thurs Evenings x 8 (6.30 – 9.30 pm) – Commencing Tuesday April 5th.
  • Option 2: Tues & Thurs Evenings x 8 (6.30 – 9.30 pm) – Commencing May 10th.
  • Location: Leopardstown, Dublin 18.


Some of the many benefits of studying with us on this course:

  • Full Tutor Support accredited by: QQI.
  • Quality – Our Trainers have delivered SNA courses to over 300 learners with 100% pass rates.
  • Pricing – Our Prices can’t be beaten – Why Pay more for the same QQI Award!
  • We only offer QQI  awards thus ensuring high Quality and Standards.
  • All our QQI Awards have been fully validated and approved by QQI.
  • Group Discounts Available. Ask for Details.