Apply Now

The Special Needs Assistant Certificate is a 1 week intensive course suited to anyone who has an interest in Special Needs Education, whether to pursue it as a career or use the knowledge for personal or family reasons.

The field of Special Needs Education is one of enormous variety and ever changing needs. Portobello Institute wish to respond to the true needs within the sector by offering a course that will equip our students not only with knowledge but with empathy and understanding crucial to their future role as support to persons needing assistance in their learning. Our research in the field has found that Special Needs Assistants require practical skills and knowledge in a wide range of behaviours and abilities. Thus, we try to encapsulate the lifelong experience of persons with Special Needs within our courses, in Level 5 and in greater detail at Level 6.

Qualifications Gained

• Portobello Institute Certificate in Special Needs Assistant Training
• QQI Level 5 Minor Award in Special Needs Assistant (5N1786)

Entry Requirements

Entry to this course is by direct application to the college. There are no previous academic requirements.

Class Sizes

We are committed to ensuring you gain the most, academically and personally, during your study time with Portobello.  To facilitate this, we limit our class sizes to a maximum of 14 students on part-time programmes. With these uniquely small classes, we create the environment for you get to know everyone in your group, you can then feel comfortable and confident to ask questions and our tutors have the time to attend to the needs of each and every student. Many of our students tell us of the lifelong friendships they have made during their study time with Portobello.

Assignment Support

We understand the challenge of completing assignments at third level, the new skills and the change in thinking sometimes needed to put on paper, all that you have learned. We offer our students the opportunity to submit a draft assignment for informal feedback before submitting the final version. We care about your success, we want you to achieve the best you can and we offer you the individual support to acquire the skills you need to communicate what you have learned whilst studying with Portobello Institute.

Student stories

Alban completed the level 5 course in Portobello Institute in the summer of 2017. “Overall, I found the course to be extremely informative and it really helped me to understand the role of a special needs assistant.”  He felt the course content was extremely relevant to the subject matter of special needs. “For me I undertook the course for the purpose of learning specifically about the role of the SNA and this is what I achieved”. Read full story here

Course Structure

This is a intensive blended learning course (mixture of online learning and classroom contact) delivered over 1 week.

Course Content Modules

1.The Role of the Special Needs Assistant
2.Equal Opportunities Child Development(Overveiw)
3.Theories of Learning and Behaviour
4.Physical and Intellectual Disabilities
5.Communications and Language Disabilities
6.Work Experience*

* 20 Hours Work experience is required, students must complete the work experience programme before commencing their assignments

Access, Transfer and Progression

Learners can progress to the Special Needs Level 6 part time course from successful completion of the above Level 5 course


Name: Special Needs QQI Level 5 Blended Learning

Cost: 750 Euro

To Book this course, please make a full course payment using the Book Now button. Please read and understand both the Terms of Enrolment and Course Payment Information before paying for your course. Details of all our policies as well as refunds, cancellations, installment options and how to pay offline are contained in these two important documents.

Course CodePrice and LocationInfo
Portobello Institute, Dublin 1
  • 09/07/18 - 13/07/18
  • Mon - Fri 9.30am - 4.30pm
  • This is a one week intensive blended learning course.  

Additional Course Costs

Please read Course Payment Information for full details as to when you will make these additional course payments.

  • QQI Registration Fee: included