Erin is a Special Needs Resource Teacher
The Resource Teacher at a childcare centre provides support to early childhood educators, children, and parents of children with special needs. Implementing inclusive practices and providing individually tailored programming and interventions for children with special needs is her chief responsibility. Erin collaborates with parents and with other professionals, including speech pathologists, occupational therapists and psychologists.
After graduating, Erin was hired at the Child Study Centre at Mount Saint Vincent University (the Mount) to replace a Early Childhood Educator (ECE) on maternity leave. When Erin expressed interest in working with children with autism her Director sent her to a training workshop on Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). The ABA training allowed Erin to provide a meaningful intervention for children with autism focused on increasing positive behaviours and individual success. As a result, Erin feels she has found a career that she is passionate about.
Though she does not follow a daily routine at the Child Study centre, Erin usually spends part of the day preparing materials, programs and activities for staff and children. Throughout the day she works with children with identified special needs which may include delivering one-on- one ABA sessions to children with autism, working one-on-one delivering strategies from the Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI) program with children in the classroom or providing other forms of support in the playroom and in the playground.
In addition to providing one-on-one sessions, Erin also attends group activities to ensure that each child is able to participate.“We want our activities to be structured, so that every child is getting something out of it,” says Erin. “If this doesn’t occur, I work with the teachers to modify the activities so that no child either stands out, or is left out.”
Therefore, a focus on Inclusion – making sure each child participates in a meaningful way – is an important role for Erin. “Watching children figure things out at any level, particularly the children with special needs, is the favourite part of my work,” says Erin. “Their hard work makes you appreciate all of the little things that we take for granted in life.”
In addition to her Bachelor’s degree in Child and Youth Study, Erin has taken a variety of specialized training courses and is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Child and Youth Study at the Mount. She also develops and teaches workshops and courses at other institutions and keeps up to date with current theories and practices such as EIBI for children with autism, ABA and the leading edge Handle approach.
“There is a great deal of opportunity for Child and Youth graduates who are passionate about helping children with additional challenges,” says Erin. “I know of many organizations that are looking to fill the role of Resource Teachers, Inclusion Facilitators and Resource Specialists.”