1. Do you only work with children who have special educational needs?
No, definitely not. I specialise in working with children who have conditions such as ASD and ADHD, but I work with any child who needs my help. I have an interest in special needs due to my own life experiences, but I've spent over 12 years working in mainstream schools so I have a broad knowledge of working with every ability level.
2. What training have you had?
I have a degree in primary teaching including Qualified Teacher Status, which I was awarded by the University of Worcester in 2005. I was awarded the grade of black belt in 2015 by Combat Academy UK, which is affiliated to the Cobra Martial Arts Association. I have also been awarded my level 1 instructor qualification through the Cobra Martial Arts Association and, as part of this, I have an up-to-date first aid qualification, DBS certificate and public liability insurance.
I have undertaken recent child protection training and SEND training.
Recent courses I have attended:
Youth Mental Health First Aid (Mental Health First Aid England)
Practical Solutions for Dyslexia for Secondary and Further Education (British Dyslexia Association)
Practical Approaches for Children with Dyspraxia/DCD (Dyspraxia UK)
All qualification certificates can be viewed on request.
I also count my own life experience as some of my most valuable training. Having ADHD and ASD myself, I have a natural and thorough understanding of the difficulties that children with these conditions can encounter and strategies that can be used to overcome these difficulties or make them more manageable.
3. Do all sessions have to include exercise of some form?
Ideally, yes. The key concept of Kickstart Learning is the combination of exercise with learning. Some children detest exercise, but then it's down to me to try and find a form of exercise that will motivate and engage that child.
4. Will you come to our house to have sessions with our child?
Unfortunately not. The main reason for this is that, at the centre, I have access to all the resources I could need during a session. The gym which is at the centre is a key part of each session also. It often helps a child to come out of the home environment for sessions as there are less distractions and they understand that this is learning time rather than play time.
5. What age ranges do you work with?
The sessions are aimed at children from ages 7 to 13 (Year 2 to Year 8). I do occasionally work with children younger than this depending on their specific needs and I have worked with young people up to the age of 21. Please get in contact if your child is younger than 7 or older than 13 as I'd need to discuss your requirements first to see if I thought I would be the best person to work with your child.
6. How do you spread out the classroom based learning and the exercise within each session?
Each child is different and so each session is different also. I always have a plan for a session, but I respond to the child's needs as they arise.
I tend to start each session with a quick chat about how their week has been. This enables me to find out how the child is feeling and what frame of mind they are in. The session will probably develop differently depending on the child's mood as this will affect their levels of concentration, attitude and motivation. Occasionally, if a child comes to the session in a really bad mood or really upset, I might abandon what I had planned and instead work on helping the child to feel more calm and in control of their emotions. I would always communicate this to parents after a session, but it only happens in exceptional circumstances.
Each child's attention span is different and so I would use this to dictate when we switch activities or do some physical exercise. Some children will need frequent changes to keep them focused and engaged whereas other children will be happy to work for an extended period of time and just break once for a workout.
7. I suspect that my child might have a Specific Learning Difficulty. Are you able to diagnose him/her?
I am not qualified to diagnose your child with any Specific Learning Difficulty. I am able to conduct various screeners with your child which would show how likely they are to have a Specific Learning Difficulty but this is not a formal diagnosis. I can also offer an opinion from my own personal and professional experience but you would have to see an educational psychologist or other professional for an official diagnosis.
8. I think that I might also have difficulties similar to my child. Are you able to work with me also?
Conditions such as ASD, ADHD and dyslexia have been proven to have a genetic link so it is highly likely that your child won't be the only member of the family experiencing such difficulties. In fact, many parents only seek a diagnosis themselves after their child has been diagnosed and they recognise the traits in themselves also. I only work with children, but I am able to offer advice and guidance for any parents who need it. I can also put you in touch with professionals like myself who work more with adults.
9. Are you able to offer (such and such) service?
I am very open to suggestions and requests. If I can effectively accommodate a suggestion or request then I will and if I don't think it would be feasible or appropriate then I will explain why not.
10. Can I book tutoring and mentoring sessions for two children to attend at the same time?
Yes, this is possible, but it would depend entirely on what we were going to be focusing on in the sessions. It is usually more important for the children to be a similar academic ability or emotional level rather than a similar age. Please get in touch to discuss this further.