Course Overview

During this course, you will learn about development and learning in children with special needs and about the role of an SNA. You will learn about child development and behaviour theories.

Learners will also explore different activities that promote physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development in children with a variety of disabilities. You will learn about EPSEN Act and Irish Legislation and how to implement Individual Educational Plans (IEP’s).

This course will explore the role of the Multi-Disciplinary Teams to ensue integration, inclusion, and equal opportunities. This course also includes an overview of the primary and secondary school curriculum.

Course Modules

Indicative content covered as part of these modules are….

SNA Level 5 Programme Syllabus – 5N1786

  • History of Special Needs in Ireland
  • The role of the Special Needs Assistant
  • Medical Conditions
  • Communication
  • Confidentiality
  • Working as part of a Multidisciplinary Team
  • Professionalism & Accountability
  • Legislation
  • Health & Safety

Children with Additional Needs Programme Syllabus – 5N2396

  • Child Development
  • Physical Disabilities
  • General Learning Difficulties
  • Specific Learning Difficulties
  • Hearing & Visual Impairments
  • Understanding & Managing Difficult Behaviour
  • Theories of Learning & Behaviour
  • Communication & Language Development

SNA Level 6 Programme Syllabus – 6N1957

  • The Role of the SNA
  • Assessment Procedures
  • Observation, Recording, Report Writing & Data Protection
  • Disability Awareness
  • The Primary & Secondary School Curriculum
  • Equal Opportunities
  • Legislation
  • Literacy Skills
  • Professionalism

All our tutors are highly qualified in their field and have a wealth of experience in the field of special needs education. Our tutors are extremely supportive to all learners who are new in their journey in the area of special needs assisting.


This course consists of three component certificates:

QQI Level 5 Component Certificate in Special Needs Assisting (5N1786)
QQI Level 5 Component Certificate in Children with Additional Needs (5N2396)
QQI Level 6 Component Certificate in Special Needs Assisting (6N1957)

Progressive College’s QQI Level 5 & Level 6 Minor Award Special Needs Assisting Course is a qualification that will allow you to work as a special needs assistant in different settings. This combined SNA course consists of three modules: Special Needs Assisting (Level 5 5N1786), Children with Additional Needs (Level 5 5N2396), and Special Needs Assisting (Level 6 6N1957). The SNA combined QQI Level 5 & 6 course provides the learner with an in-depth understanding of children with additional needs, the role of a special needs assistant, and Irish Legislation.

The purpose of this course is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to work effectively, under direction, with young children with additional needs. Moreover, this combined SNA course equips the learner in the theory and practice underpinning the education and care of those who present with special educational needs.

Completing this SNA course will ensure you gain valuable insight from all three modules which makes you stand out when seeking employment. Upon completing this course, you will hold a QQI Level 5 & Level 6 Minor Award in Special Needs Assisting enabling you to work as a special needs assistant.

Budget 2021 has allocated €2 billion to special needs education. This has resulted in the creation of 990 additional SNA posts, bringing the whole time equivalent (WTE) number of SNA posts to 18,000 for the 2021/22 school term. Read more about the news here.

Entry Requirements

The minimum age is 17 Years. All learners must have a good standard of English.

Currently, the Department of Education and Science stipulates that all those gaining full-time employment in schools must have at least 3 passes at Junior Certificate or equivalent.

Applicants should also indicate how they plan to obtain their work experience during the course if they are not already working in the area.

As per QQI requirements, if you wish to use previously achieved modules to complete your Major Award, then they must have been achieved within the last five years.  You must provide the College with copies of these certificates in order to go forward for certification once you have completed your programme of training with us.


Continuous Assessment

You will be required to complete 60 hours of work experience. This will give you hands-on practical experience and enhance your overall learning experience. You will be required to secure your own work placement.


SNA Tutor

ECEC Degree Lecturer

I have achieved my- Level 8 BA honours Early Childhood Education and Care Degree- As well as achieving my CACHE N.N.E.B Nursery Nursing Diploma and also my CACHE Level 4 NVQ Qualification’s in Children’s Learning Care and Development 

I currently hold a vast and wide range of experience having worked within the field of Early Childhood Education and Care for the past 25 years.

Working with and supporting children and their families within various- different professional roles both here in Ireland and in the United Kingdom.

Specialising in supporting children with SEN and their families within the  professional roles of Area Special Needs Co ordinator, Early Support Officer and Key worker.

I am trained in specific packages of SEN support for children with SEN and their families such as Portage, PECS, Makaton, Intensive Interaction.

Garda Vetting

Garda Vetting is a legal requirement under the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 for the vetting of persons carrying out work with children or vulnerable persons.

Students must complete the Garda Vetting process before commencing work placement.

Students who have spent more than 6 months living outside of Ireland will need to provide a copy of their Police Clearance Certification for all international addresses that they have lived at, before starting placement.


Course Enquiry

Course Enquiry

Delivered through the following channels

This course is delivered fully online and can be started anytime.
    26 Weeks
    blended online
    Delivered through live online webinars, pre-recorded lectures, and access to associated reading material.
    • Live interaction with the Lecturer
    21st February
    18 Weeks
    Study in a classroom environment one evening a week.
      8th February
      20 Weeks
      Select Location


      Pick Your Location. 9 Locations to choose fRom.

      • Open for Enroling
      • 22nd February 2023
      • Wednesday
      • 6.30 pm – 9.30 pm
      • 20 Weeks

      *Course includes 6 recorded lectures

      • Open for Enroling
      • 8th February 2023
      • Wednesday
      • 6.30 pm – 9.30 pm
      • 20 Weeks

      *Course includes 6 recorded lectures

      • Open for Enroling
      • 8th February 2023
      • Wednesday
      • 6.30 pm – 9.30 pm
      • 20 Weeks

      *Course includes 6 recorded lectures

      • Open for Enroling
      • 22nd February 2023
      • Wednesday
      • 6.30 pm – 9.30 pm
      • 20 Weeks

      *Course includes 6 recorded lectures

      Course Enquiry