Across the United Kingdom there are thousands of children and adults alike who are in need of assistance because of medical, emotional, or learning difficulties. Many of these difficulties are categorised under the umbrella of Special Needs.
What are Special Needs?
Special Needs are conditions or debilitating illnesses that require round the clock care and attention or at least a degree of assistance from another individual or group.
Here are some of the most common:
Children in need of medical care
Special Educational Needs (SEN)
Physical Disabilities may include any conditions that make it difficult for an individual to move or walk; this can also include sensory impairments. These disabilities often require that the individual has someone with them to help with motion, lifting and handling, personal hygiene and other day to day tasks that they simply cannot perform on their own.
Children in need of medical care often need someone to look after the administering of medication, changing of bandages and dressings, and again perhaps assistance with day to day tasks that their medical condition prevents them from carrying out. It is important to note that there are differences between an individual being physically disabled and being in need of medical care. Whilst a person may be in need of medical care they may have motor function and can perform rudimentary tasks for themselves.
Special Educational Needs often refers to those individuals who – for one reason or another – are not performing to expectation within the school environment. Many of these conditions related to emotional or behavioural difficulties and while these individuals are able to function normally with speech and movement they may find it difficult to interact with those around them or maintain a level of concentration necessary to learn.
Who Qualifies for Special Needs Assistance?
Any of the aforementioned groups – or individuals falling into those groups – qualifies for Special Needs assistance. In the case of children your Local Education Authority in conjunction with Social Services will normally carry out home assessments in order to make the relevant assistance available.
For adults Social Services and other welfare and medical groups may be called upon to give assessments and make suggestions as to what care – and what level of care – is needed.
Special Needs Volunteers
Special Needs volunteers are people who have often themselves been predisposed to family members or close friends who have suffered from a disability or medical condition. Of course this is not always the case but it is likely that if you are a Special Needs volunteer you will have already come into contact with individuals in need of Special Needs assistance or will have had some prior training.
Special Needs volunteers are required to give assistance to those needing it either at home, in a school environment or in an environment where supervision is needed such as day centres, physiotherapy sessions etc.
Can I Become a Special Needs Volunteer?
Anyone can become a Special Needs volunteer but it should be noted that being such a volunteer requires a lot of determination and the ability to remain composed at all times.
You do not need to have any formal training as you will be given the relevant training before you are assigned to provide assistance but as always when it comes to dealing with children, the elderly or others categorised as vulnerable you will need to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
If you are interested in becoming a Special Needs Volunteer you can contact your local Social Services department or Local Education Authority (LEA) who will have lists of organisations and centres where Special Needs are catered for.
You will be expected to complete a set number of hours training before you are allowed to tend to an individual’s needs alone but you will have at all times a supervisory figure to call upon should you need help or support.
How do i apply to become a special needs volunteer ?
Tanya - 31-Mar-17 @ 6:02 PM
I'm interested to work with special needs children in Slough. I'm working as a volunteer with girlguiding.
non - 21-Mar-17 @ 10:38 PM
I have a degree in health and social care and looking at moving forward in my career. I am 30 years old and for the past 7 years since graduation back in 2010 I have had 3 children however they are at the age now where I am ready to do some volunterring work to gain experience before looking for a long term job once my youngest starts school.
I am based in North east. So sunderland Newcastle south shields durham are all around me.
could I have more information on how to get into volunterring please
Sharan - 9-Mar-17 @ 10:36 AM
Hello am augandan aged 29 years holding ababachelors degree in COMMUNITY BASED REHABILITATION I like working with special needs children but I would like to start as volunteer in UK
Eunice - 9-Mar-17 @ 9:39 AM
Hello am augandan aged 29 years hold adegree in COMMUNITY BASED REHABILITATION from recognised university here in Uganda, I would like to start as volunteer by working with children with special need but currently am in Uganda but most of my family members stays in different parts of uk....thanks I will be very greatful if considered
Eunice - 9-Mar-17 @ 9:35 AM
I'm a mum to 2 special needs children whom are now in full time education..I am reluctant to help children with special needs..I'm calm confident and extremely patient...I left school with no qualifications and I have no career experience due to devoting my time to my children.
Steph - 8-Mar-17 @ 8:07 AM
My name is aysha I'm 48 very interested in voluntary work with special needs for a couple of hours in the morning near Stratford London or nearby thanks
none - 17-Dec-16 @ 4:26 PM
My name is aysha I am 48 I am very interested in voluntary work with special needs around Stratford area London or nearby for a couple of hours in the morning thanks
none - 17-Dec-16 @ 4:21 PM
None - Your Question:
I am an occupational therapist. wish to volunteer for children with special needs
You can find possible opportunities via the Do-It site here. I hope this helps.
WorkingWithKids - 28-Nov-16 @ 11:31 AM
I am an occupational therapist.. wish to volunteer for children with special needs
None - 27-Nov-16 @ 10:54 AM
I am 13 I have experience with special needs children would I be able to volenteer
Hayley - 14-Nov-16 @ 4:43 PM
@TM - I think it is GREAT what you have accomplished - what a great role model you could be for younger people. You could do voluntary talks in schools about the amazing things you have achieved! Well done :)
EmmaY90 - 28-Oct-16 @ 1:03 PM
Hi I have Asperger's ADHD and Dyslexia. I left school with no qualifications but have always been employed. Recently myemployment became unsecured so I decided to educate myself. I am not at University studying Law. However, I have to work three times as hard as other student and and therefore any future career is limited. I would love to encourage children to believe that things can be achieved in more than one way. I am very creative when finding new learning methods and understanding how draining new tasks are to achieve. I think I could bring something special to the way children engage in education.
TM - 27-Oct-16 @ 6:00 PM
Moumita- Your Question:
Hi,I am a trained Special educator. I completed my Postgraduate diploma in Special Education from India. I am also a postgraduate in Psychology. I have a few years work experience of working at special needs schools in India. I am interested in pursuing a career as a SEN teacher in the UK. I am legally eligible to work and would like to start as a volunteer.
You don't say whether ot not you are actually living in the UK. If you are, then you may be able to find voluntary positions via the Do-It site, here. If you are not int he UK, then you would have to explore whether you would be eligible to apply for a visa.
WorkingWithKids - 23-Sep-16 @ 10:42 AM
I am a trained Special educator . I completed my Postgraduatediploma in Special Education from India. I am also a postgraduate in Psychology. I have a few years work experience of working at special needs schools in India. I am interested in pursuing a career as a SEN teacher in the UK. I am legally eligible to work and would like to start as a volunteer .
Moumita - 22-Sep-16 @ 7:38 AM
I am 32 year old I would love to be volunteer and work with special needs.i would like a contact where can I volunteer with children,i live in west London. please let me know how I can appy for voluntary work with SEN.thanks
nk - 2-Sep-16 @ 3:52 PM
Jojo - Your Question:
Hi, I would absolutely love it if I can be a volunteer because I understand how it feels to be a person with special needs and I have experience with people with mental disorders (e.g depression) I can speak English and I can read, write and Translate Spanish
If you are 18 and over you will be able to apply through sites such as Do-It, please see link here.
WorkingWithKids - 31-Aug-16 @ 11:01 AM
Hi, i would absolutely love it if i can be a volunteer because i understand how it feels to be a person with special needs and i have experience with people with mental disorders (e.g depression) i can speak English and i can read, write and Translate Spanish
Jojo - 30-Aug-16 @ 1:44 PM
Lorraine - Your Question:
I would love fe to o work with special needs kids please
You may find the Do-It site here useful to find a placement if you wish to volunteer.
WorkingWithKids - 24-May-16 @ 11:41 AM
I would love fe to o work with special needs kids please
Lorraine - 23-May-16 @ 3:20 PM
my name is caitlin and i am 14 years old i would like to be a volenteer and work with special needs. i know i am young but i know the basics needed in sign language i speak the basics of 2 other languages and i also volenteer for suicide awareness based in west belfast after winning them 3000 pounds in a youth philanthropy project. i a really interested in volenteer work with kids as i want o bee a special needs teacher when i am older and think that this will benifit well.
caitlinrose - 19-Feb-16 @ 4:39 PM
i would like to be a volunteer for special needs children i have 2 granchildren with special needs
thai - 14-Jul-15 @ 9:46 AM
i would to be a volunter for special needs i have 2 grandchildren with special needs
thai - 14-Jul-15 @ 9:42 AM
@steve - good luck in the pursuit of your new career. It really can be such a rewarding profession. As specified in the article, if you are interested in becoming a Special Needs Volunteer you can contact your local Social Services department or Local Education Authority (LEA) who will have lists of organisations and centres where Special Needs are catered for. From volunteering you should be able to step into some teaching assistant positions. Doing a bit of educational agency temping is also a good way to get your foot in the door while at the same time getting paid and accruing valuable experience. I hope this helps.
WorkingWithKids - 10-Jul-15 @ 10:05 AM
Having spent several years dealing with children having different levels of competence due to special needs. I found this sometimes challenging ,but very rewarding. Seeing a youngster with severe behavioural problems initially change there mood and attitude towards others over a period of time due to feeling comfortable and relaxed whilst in my care. My role was a taxi driver undergoing school contracts. I have thought about investigating the requirements for working in this field for a long time. Now I feel it's right time for me to do some research
steve - 8-Jul-15 @ 12:40 AM
Hi I would like a contact where I can volunteer with children , after looking on here I carnt find a contact number can any1 help ?
Kev - 25-Jun-15 @ 3:55 PM
@nicola - I'm sure they would welcome you with open arms. You can see if there are any vacancies in Liverpool via the Do It website here. Or as specified in the article you can also contact your local Social Services department or Local Education Authority (LEA) who will have lists of organisations and centres where Special Needs are catered for. I hope this helps.
WorkingWithKids - 26-Mar-15 @ 11:06 AM
Hi I would love the chance to become a special needs volunteer I live in Liverpool I don't have any qualifications but have5 children of my own 2 of which have special needs and challenged behaviour
nicola - 23-Mar-15 @ 1:20 PM
@Tej - I have included a link to the National Autism Society here. You don't say what location you are based in, but you may see if there are any special needs schools in your area which you could apply directly to. I hope this helps.