This module entitles me to extend my professional development as well as my personal development through action research by identifying an area for improvement or development within my practice. I will be using action research and methodologies throughout my proposal including, legislation, theorists and relevant literature I may come across. I am going to take you through the developmental stages of my proposal as regards to a PowerPoint presentation given beforehand as seen in appendix one, starting with my personal and professional background.
I left college with a Diploma in Child Care and Education and from here I applied for a position in a SEN primary school as a Learning Support Assistant (LSA). The school caters for children aged three to eleven years old with a variety of ethnical backgrounds, needs and disabilities.
After having been in the role of an LSA for six years, I decided that I wanted a new challenge which lead me to my current position as a Speech and Language therapy assistant (SALTA) and an imaginative play therapist. I have been in this role for just over two years now, to which I have gained more in depth knowledge into helping children to communicate. I am now in a communication office within the school, and I work alongside many professionals, such as, teachers, SALT, Occupational Therapists (OT), behaviourist worker and a family liaison worker. Overall I feel that I have developed a vast amount of knowledge and understanding within my profession and I wish to continue my personal and professional development with an interest in social interaction and behaviours of children with autism.
In order for me to carry out my proposed project, I need to consider and carry out what is known as action research. Caniff highlights that “Action research is a term which refers to a practical way of looking at your own work to check that it is as you would like it to be.” (Action Research for Professional Development, 1995, p6)
Therefore the purpose of action research is to bring about a change or to signal that a change is necessary within my professional practice, with hope that the children and staff I work with may possibly benefit from what I am doing. It is a cycle or spiral of ongoing, continuous research, knowledge and development and is a term that is quite often heard in today’s society, especially in educational settings.
Kurt Levin, (1890-1947) developed a four stage model of action research with the components of, reflect, plan, act and observe. I plan to follow this approach by reflecting on previous experiences and knowledge, planning how I intend to move forward, act on my plan and observe the results. These four stages can begin anywhere in the cycle and need to be planned and reviewed continuously.
The change that I propose to make is for a boy with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and behavioural difficulties to whom I will refer to as child A. “Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.” (The National Autistic society, 2013) Child A can present challenging behaviours such as scratching, biting, hitting and kicking at what seems to be anytime during the school day.
This then brings me to my proposed focus or question of, how can I help child A to interact more appropriately with adults?
I want to identify some of the possible triggers to child A’s behaviour to help put strategies in place as to how some of his behaviours can be developed into more appropriate behaviours dependent on their function. I also want to see if the adults currently working with child A are consistent in their approach when dealing with his behaviours as well as developing a way to help understand the functions behind the behaviours.
Child A has a behaviour plan already in place for his behaviour,...