The Main Tasks of a Special Needs Assistant Within a School
In early September, in connection with the start of the new school year for Special Needs Assistants (Auxiliaires de Vie Scolaire) (AVS), the Department of Social Welfare and Social Services organised three afternoon group training sessions, as well as individual interviews and preparatory meetings in schools for all these staff members, i.e. 53 people.
This training consisted of two parts:
- a presentation by the Department of Education, Youth and Sport on the provisions for special needs pupils who attend the Principality's schools;
- a presentation by Dr. Marcelline Renaud Yang, child psychiatrist and head of the Day Therapies Activity Centre (CATTP), on child and adolescent development and associated problems.
As a reminder, the main tasks of a Special Needs Assistant in a school are to support pupils with their learning:
• help with understanding the instructions and the various tasks to be carried out;
• help with undertaking school activities (help with manipulation, communication, focusing on a task, etc.)
• help adapt the school activities carried out by the teacher (adapting learning aids and materials).
Special Needs Assistants can also take on the role of supporting the social life of the child, making it possible to:
• identify and prevent possible situations of isolation or conflict;
• build the pupil's confidence and help him or her establish reference points within the school;
• encourage direct, individual and group interaction (encourage pupils to speak, communicate with their peers and with adults, and engage in activities with other students).
Finally, in some cases, a Special Needs Assistant helps the pupil to carry out everyday activities, by:
• ensuring and contributing to his or her physical and psychological safety and wellbeing;
• helping him or her to undertake essential everyday activities (such as eating and dressing);
• facilitating the student's mobility in the various areas of the school, at various times of school life.
Special Needs Assistants are given annual training to help improve their skills.
This training is complementary to practical experience, which is essential for the appropriate care of the children entrusted to them and also reinforces a wide range of skills, so they can best meet the specific needs of each special needs pupil.
These staff members are under the supervision of the Social Inclusion and Disability Office of the Department of Social Welfare and Social Services.