Course Description

QQI Level 5 & 6 Combined Special Needs Assistant (SNA) Course

QQI Level 5 & 6 Combined Special Needs Assistant (SNA) Course is a course run by The Open College, Dublin. It is a Online Learning course with a duration of 36 Weeks. QQI Level 5 & 6 Combined Special Needs Assistant (SNA) Course gives a Course Qualification of Level 5 Certificate, awarded by QQI. For more information about QQI Level 5 & 6 Combined Special Needs Assistant (SNA) Course at The Open College, please review the details below.

This fully online QQI Level 5 & 6 Combined Special Needs Assistant (SNA) Course is designed to meet the training needs of those working or volunteering as a Special Needs Assistant. The course aims to develop skills, knowledge and understanding of the role of the Special Needs Assistant and promote good practice among those working in the primary or secondary classroom situation, crèche, playschool, day care centre for children or adults with special needs.

Included in this specially combined SNA course are three key QQI components at levels 5 & 6:

  1. QQI Special Needs Assistant (5N1786) – Level 5
  2. QQI Children with Additional (5N2396) – Level 5 and
  3. QQI Special Needs Assisting (6N1957) – Level 6


Course documentation for this course is detailed, comprehensive and easy to read. This distance learning QQI accredited course means that students can study flexibly at home, or at work, while gaining an Internationally Recognised Qualification.

Students receive a comprehensive Course Manuals, Assignments, Efficient Studyguide, and unlimited one-to-one Tutor Support for the course duration.

General Aims:

  • Meet the training needs of those working or volunteering as an Special Needs Assistant (SNA).
  • Develop skills, knowledge and understanding of the role of the SNA.
  • Promote good practice amongst those working with special needs children in a classroom situation and promote positive attitudes to individuals with disabilities.
  • Provide an understanding of the statutory framework applying to those with special needs.
  • Provide a basis for further study and career development.


Topics covered across the three QQI modules include:

  • Context of Special Needs
  • Good Practice
  • Relating to people with Special Needs
  • Relating to other Stakeholders
  • Special Needs Assisting Skills
  • History of special needs services in Ireland
  • Current legislation summary of main points
  • International policy to children with special needs.
  • Physical Special Needs – Diagnosis, Treatment, Associated Conditions, Implications for the child and their family.
  • Learning Disabilities – Diagnosis, Treatment, Associated Conditions, Implications for the child and their family.
  • Language used in relation to special needs.
  • What support is available locally and nationally
  • The role of the Special Needs Assistant
  • Role of the multidisciplinary team
  • Description of different learning and therapy programmes
  • Key elements – Good practice: Confidentiality & Independence
  • Provision of education under current legislation
  • Education Options for people with special needs
  • Theories, skills and processes relevant to curriculum implementation
  • Differences between integration and inclusion
  • Learning  opportunities in order to promote independence and responsibility
  • Individual Education Plan
  • Skills needed to aid the teacher
  • Behaviour management techniques
  • Manage meaningful activities that are suited to people’s needs and connect with their experiences and interests in the learning environment
  • Identify strategies for dealing with stressors within the work place.


Who should complete this course?

  • People who wish to pursue a career in Childcare or as a Special Needs Assistant (SNA).

Entry Requirements / Prerequisites:

  • Level 4 Award or equivalent in a relevant subject area (Childcare / Special Needs) and/or relevant practical experience (3 years minimum) – Please ask about our requirements surrounding Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for entry.
  • Mature students (over 23 years) may be exempt from the above prerequisites.
  • As part of this combined programme, Learners will be required to undertake a practical supervised work placement with a minimum 20 hours for SNA Level 5 and a recommendation that an additional 20 hours for each of the SNA Level 6 and Children with Additional Needs is completed. This must be in a recognised educational environment (e.g. primary school). You must be either working or have access to a suitable setting where you can complete these 20+ hours (this can be on a voluntary basis).
  • English Language Requirement: Students entering programmes leading to awards at Level 5 are expected to be able to: be proficient at reading, drafting, preparing and understanding information across a broad range of topics, including quantitative information.
  • Garda Vetting is required for all Childcare placements and students can apply for this through The Open College. Please ask for details.
  • Learners undertaking this programme must have basic IT skills and access to the necessary equipment to enable them to undertake an online programme: computer, broadband, email, Microsoft, recording equipment necessary for some skills demonstration tasks, and where applicable any other specialised software/equipment.
  • As this programme is delivered through distance learning or eLearning, students must be capable of studying on their own initiative.


The QQI Level 5 & 6 Combined Special Needs Assistant (SNA) Course course at The Open College is listed in's national courses finder.
Training ProviderThe Open College
Course LocationLeopardstown, Dublin
Location PostcodeDublin 18
Course TypeOnline Learning
Course QualificationLevel 5 Certificate
Awarding BodyQQI
Awarding Body DetailsOne QQI component certificate which will list three modules: Special Needs Assisting (5N1786), Children with Additional Needs (5N2396) and Special Needs Assistant (6N1957).
Course Duration36 Weeks
Course TimeThis QQI Special Needs Assistant (SNA) Combined course is completed through Distance Learning Course and there are no lectures to attend. Students can complete this combined course within 36 weeks (12 weeks per module) which is ample time and can start it at any time of the year that is convenient. If students need to extend this period for any reason during or near the end of the course they can request an extension through the college.
Course Fee790.00
Phone+353 1 2061828
For more information about The Open College, please visit our College page on by clicking here.

Course Provider

The Open College

Unit 9, Leopardstown Business Centre,, Ballyogan Road, Leopardstown, Leopardstown, Dublin, Ireland. Eircode: D18KX34

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Unit 9, Leopardstown Business Centre,
Ballyogan Road, Leopardstown, Leopardstown, Dublin
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