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My name is Adena O’Hanlon, I am currently studying QQI level 5 in SNA. I wish to complete this course as my daughter was born with Diaphragmatic Hernia. As she may need the help of an SNA when she goes to primary school, I want to further my understanding of what she may need. I am her full-time carer and when she starts primary school I want to be able to work around her. Also want to learn about other disabilities and become an SNA.
1. Practical Tasks
As an SNA there are several important steps to take in feeding a child with a need, as every child is different as special needs vary. As an SNA an apron should be worn while feeding the child. The SNA should be aware of any food allergies the child may have for E.G nuts and celiac etc. Foods must be checked if it’s the right temperature, the consistency is right for the Child’s age and needs. They may need additional assistance such a bib being put on, easy-grip cutlery, non-stick plates etc. The child with a disability such as Cerebral Palsy may need assistance using cutlery as they may not be able to feed themselves. After the child’s done eating the SNA should assist the child with clean up, by wiping the child’s face and neck with a soft cloth and clean up any remaining food. After meals, a record must be taken for the food intake.
All SNA’s should wear an apron and gloves, use the anti-bacterial gel in between washing your hands. Explain to the child that you are taking them to the toilet, close the door behind you, and look away from the child if they are feeling self-conscious. If a child is a non-verbal try to use a picture book, sequence posters or an app to show them the different stages when going to the toilet. Have a spare set of clothes if the child has an accident. I was told by my friend her daughter is Austic that her daughter still wears a nappy when going to school. So when she gets to school her SNA would change the nappy and then throw away her apron and the nappy and dispose of them in the bin. Wash and dry their hands. Fix the child’s clothing if they cannot do it themselves depending on their need. Also, take a record of their bowel movement at what time and what they did.
General Hygiene Procedures
This is when the child may need the help of the SNA when going to the toilet and washing their hands. According to Siolta, it states’ how children are supported to develop personal hygiene routines such as establishing routines regarding hand washing, cleaning after toilet use, nose-blowing, waste disposal etc.’
Dressing a child with an additional need can vary such as a child with Autism, I know this because my friend’s daughter has it and she has problems with certain materials and while a child with Cerbal Palsy may have difficulties with zippers and buttons. But some may want to dress themselves to have more confidence in what they are doing by getting dressed. These can lead to frustration for the child. It is important as an SNA to know the child’s needs, which will make dressing less difficult and communicate with parents and child to see which way is best to assist them properly. As an SNA try to encourage independence during dressing as it is important to let the child feel accomplished. Clothing and shoes with Velcro instead of buttons and zippers is a huge advantage for independent dressing e.g. putting on coats and shoes.
2. Interpersonal/Personal Skills
According to David Howe, ‘it is important to understand people’s feelings and behaviour.’ As an SNA it is crucial to understand how a child is feeling at the moment of time.
To stay calm e.g. a child with Autism will take a lot longer in learning to hold a pencil than a child that is not. Patience is essential as an SNA as every child learns at different stages. Quote from Edmund Burke ‘our patience will achieve more than or force’.
To be friendly and considerate. It is important as an SNA to show kindness as it makes the SNA more approachable to the child. Quote from Jackie Chan ‘sometimes it takes only one act of kindness and caring to change a person’s life’.
This is talking between two or more people. But as an SNA you have to speak very slowly when speaking to a child e.g. saying no. According to Bovee and others’ Verbal communication is the expression of information through language which is composed of word and grammar’.