by Katrina McGlynn
My Name is Katrina and I am one of the Positive Behaviour Support Specialists at MacIntyre School and Children’s Homes.
My MacIntyre journey
I started my MacIntyre journey over three years ago as a Learning Support Assistant at the school. I was in awe of the young people and the staff who supported them and realised very quickly that this was somewhere I wanted to stay and progress my career.
During my time here I have been fortunate enough to work in the roles of Senior Learning Support Assistant, Therapy Assistant and in my current position within the Therapy Team as a Positive Behaviour Support Specialist.
Enjoying a new opportunity
I have been in this role for 10 months and I am thoroughly enjoying it. It was a big change for me from directly working with the young people in a classroom, to then facilitating therapy sessions as the therapy assistant, to now looking more closely at behaviours and barriers to learning and playing detective to find the functions behind them. There were elements of this within my previous roles, however now I am looking in much more detail. Although I miss working with the young people all the time, I see it as if I am still supporting them but from a slightly different angle. Besides, there are still ample opportunities to spend time in the classrooms and children’s homes with the young people, which is where the most fun happens.
Managing my day-to-day
The day to day in my role varies and no two days are ever the same. I manage my own time depending upon what is required. For example, one day I may be at one of our community children’s homes and other days I may be based at the school and our onsite children’s homes. In all of these locations I may complete observations, have discussions with the teams about progress, tweaks to strategies, support with problem solving and reinforcing good practice and positive progress. I may need to complete assessments, gather more information from data via our online systems or by reviewing monitoring paperwork to see how successful a specific intervention is working or to see if there have been any changes for the young person.
Once I have all the information I need, I may then be able to understand the possible function of that behaviour and work with the teams on implementing strategies to further support the young person. Coaching, mentoring and role modelling strategies and empowering staff to implement these on a regular and consistent basis is also a key aspect of the role. I also make sure I am on top of my admin, whether this is through checking emails for important information, organising my time to attend meetings with various stakeholders, writing notes, observations, assessments and reports. All of the behind the scenes actions that validate, record and share work with others.
Another part of my role is delivering Positive Behaviour Support training. I really enjoy facilitating this, being able to teach others about something that I feel passionate about is very rewarding. I also like that by delivering training I have the ability to get to know staff and provide specific and relevant information, knowledge and skill which not only empowers staff with all the tools they need to be great at their job but also in turn improves the support each young person receives. I want staff to know I am always available to help support in any way that I can, meeting people, training them and supporting them in their roles allows me to do this.
Breadth of therapy team expertise
I am very lucky that my role makes me a part of the therapy team. The ability to work closely with other skilled professionals is invaluable. Having access to an Occupational Therapist, Speech and Language Therapist, School Nurse, Psychiatrists, Music Therapist, Intensive Interactions Mentor is amazing. There aren’t many other schools and children’s homes that have this level and breadth of therapy input and expertise. I learn so much from being around them and by all of us working together as a team.
I love working in an environment where staff genuinely care for the young people we support and being able to celebrate their successes no matter how big or small however long it may have taken the young person to get there.
I am very lucky to be in a job where I can go home at the end of the day and feel that I have made a difference.