Supporting Social Communication in Children With SEN

Understand the concept of social communication in children with Special Education Needs (SEN) and learn how to meaningfully support their needs with specific effective techniques


Course breakdown

  10 hours on-demand video material and 10 hours offline learning

  Online tutor moderation

  Downloadable articles and resources

  Access on mobile and desktop

 Course Approved for the Department of Education and Skills EPV Summer Course Certificate 2024

  Full access to the course

Course Goals:

Understand the concept of social communication in children with Special Education Needs (SEN)

Learn about neuro-typical progression of social-emotional, communication, play and social communication development

Be introduced to the aetiology and characteristics of Social Communication Disorder (SCD) and be able to identify developmental delays

Understand communicative intent and how to develop effective strategies specific to the needs of each child that can safely and easily be implemented

This course comes highly recommended as a Summer Course for teachers

Special Education Needs

understanding the needs and experiences of children with sen

Effective communication in reciprocal social interactions remains an area of difficulty for many children, particularly those who have autism, throughout the school years (Rubin and Lennon, 2004). The promotion of social inclusion in education (Chamberlain et al, 2007) has resulted in an increase in the number of children with autism in mainstream classrooms. However, teachers must be taught how to meaningfully connect with the increasing number of children with autism, for example, in order to improve their teaching methods, and also their assessment tools.

Gaining the perspective of the child may support the development of a knowledge base from which to tailor lesson plans which have greater value and purpose because they are based on outcomes informed by the child (Haertl et al, 2013). The dilemma is that social communication difficulties often impact on the ability of the child with autism to share their experiences. There needs to be first an acceptance that they can provide insight in to their own situation (Dillon et al, 2014). Second, the challenges inherent in eliciting the perspective of a child with autism need to be recognised and responded to by being as responsive as possible (Miskelly and Roulstone, 2011). Educators’ leadership and teaching skills will be significantly improved when they learn how to find sensitive and imaginative ways to access an understanding of the child’s experiences, including consideration of modifications to questions, adaptation of questioning style and the use of additional scaffolding techniques in order to understand the child’s everyday reality and individual priorities.

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa

Incorporating a fully inclusive approach


For children, feeling understood is absolutely imperative; otherwise, emotional difficulties may arise, which can often lead to mayhem within classrooms where children act out their emotions and interfere with the learning of others, leaving teachers feeling ill-equipped to manage the situation. Working with children from the perspective of understanding their experience and communicating with children effectively, means that teachers can provide a quality of teaching that is unparalleled in terms of contributing to a long-lasting impact. Tailoring lesson plans to be more empathetic and responsive to the needs of the child means that they will be more engaged and therefore want to learn more. The leadership within schools must incorporate a fully inclusive approach and this has to begin somewhere. After Participants engage in this course, they will be equipped with the knowledge of how to communicate effectively with, and promote social communication skills, in children with SEN.

Content can be downloaded and shared with the principal so every school can implement this innovative ethos with all staff, thus improving the lives of so many more students. As such, teachers’ engagement in this course will directly improve their practice in relation to leadership, teaching, learning and assessment in working with children with social communication and related issues.

This course is ten hours of audio content, visual content and assessment in total, and there are ten hours of recommended reading and resources for you to further develop your own learning.

Course Dates


July 1st - 13th 2024


July 15th - 26th 2024


August 1st - 16th 2024

Meet Your Instructor

Lorraine Lynch is CEO and Founder of the Child Psychology Institute. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychological Studies and English, a Higher Diploma in Psychology and a Masters of Science in Health Psychology. Lorraine is also the author of two books designed to promote children’s wellness – #100happydays4kids and Closing Saor’s Day. She is currently completing her thesis for her Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology.

It is essential that children meet adults who are responsive and understand how a child’s mind works so that they can truly blossom into happy successful adults.”

Course Aims

  • Understand the concept of social communication in children with Special Education Needs (SEN)
  • Know the neuroscience of the social brain
  • Appreciated the neuro-typical progression of play skills
  • Recognise neuro-typical progression of social communication (pragmatics)
  • Have a good knowledge of neuro-typical progression of social-emotional development
  • Be aware of neuro-typical progression of communication skills
  • Be able to identify developmental delays
  • Be introduced to the aetiology and characteristics of Social Communication Disorder (SCD)
  • Clearly define importance of sensory-motor, emotional and play development for social communication
  • Have an awareness of the building blocks of early social communication development
  • Understand communicative intent and how to develop effective strategies specific to the needs of each child that can safely and easily be implemented


Each course is divided into three groups that are running on the following dates:

  • Group One: July 1st – 13th 2024
  • Group Two: July 15th – 26th 2024
  • Group Three: August 1st – 16th 2024

The course starts and ends on each of the above dates. It is a completely self-paced online course – you decide when you complete tasks within your chosen course’s dates!

Yes, all work is monitored by our e-tutor team, which means that you will receive feedback and you will be notified if more detail is required.

All of our EPV Summer Courses are just €99 per course. Pay just €175 for two courses or €250 for three!

Just add the course and the date to your cart and the discount will automatically be applied. Remember, as per DES guidelines, you cannot complete two courses in the same time-frame.

Our primary focus is on you learning and then supporting children with their emotional wellness. As a result, we place value on reflective learning. You’ll be asked to discuss your own understanding and experiences, as well as brief summaries of important topics. All assignments are less than 500 words.

We are obsessed with children’s wellness and our mission is to impart as much knowledge as we can on to the people who matter – the teachers and SNAs who are guiding, supporting and shaping our children every single day.

All of our courses have been developed with the most current research in the area of health and educational psychology. Students who have completed courses with us in the past keep coming back for more. Why? Because our customers complete courses that are jam-packed full of meaningful information and effective strategies that really do create change, not just across classrooms, but across careers!

We will be in touch before your course starts with login instructions. For now, enjoy the last term of school and we’ll see you in July/August for some summer learning!