Undergraduate Psychology student, studying at the University of Surrey.
Once I graduate in July 2015, I'm looking to specialise in either Child or Educational Psychology. But before I do this, I would like to take a gap year in order to build my experiences working with children of all age ranges and abilities.
My inspiration and experiences so far:
Firstly, my two younger brothers with Aspergers and ADHD have to be my biggest motivation to support the development of children with learning difficulties. One of my brothers is now 16 and at college, but the lack of help he has received in further education has inspired me to try and help bridge the gap between school and further education for adolescents with SEN.
During my placement year I worked at an independent specialist school for boys aged 8-18 years, who may be bright but struggle in a mainstream school due to a specific learning difficulty. I feel my work there has really motivated my plans for the future, as I want to be able to make a difference to the lives of children with learning difficulties.
This has also inspired the focus of my dissertation research, which aims to address how children with autism make sense of themselves and their secondary school experiences. Due to the personal experiences I have with my two younger brothers, it is fair to say that autism and ADHD are the primary difficulties that interest me. In particular, I'm interested in the social aspects of these difficulties.
Furthermore, I currently work at a nursery in order to gain more experience working with younger children. It's invaluable for me to work with children of this age group as it provides me with a chance to see learning difficulties as they begin to emerge in young children, as compared to their typically developing peers.
What experience am I looking to gain?
My gap year will provide me with the perfect opportunity to do some volunteer work, and so I'd like to focus on the following:
- Currently I've only encountered mild-moderate difficulties, and so I'm interested in working with more severe learning difficulties.
- I'm particularly interested in therapy-based work, or improving social skils and relations for children with learning difficulties.
- Working in further education SEN settings e.g. college, sixth form.
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