Amie McDonald from Gloucestershire is studying the part-time Masters in SEN/ALN course at USW.
"I am taking the MA SEN course part time for two reasons. Firstly, I currently work as an Ethics and Philosophy teacher in a secondary school.
"Over the years, I have worked with a number of students with varying special educational needs, such as autism, Asperger’s, global development delay, attachment issues and trauma, and found always this to be very rewarding. I have decided that one day I would like to work in a special school or with people in autism.
"Secondly my son has an ASD diagnosis and I wanted to find out as much as I could about Autism.
"One of the excellent things is that you don’t have to focus purely on Autism. You can complete extra modules and write a smaller dissertation to allow you to get a broader experience.
"The General Special Educational Needs module was very interesting, and gave a great overview. I have also completed a Dyslexia module which has helped me to support pupils in my classroom.
"Students come from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from parents and teachers to support workers, speech therapists and people working in occupational health, each with their own reason for taking the course and bringing a unique perspective. Seeing it from both a medical side and an education side shows just how important it is that these two areas work together to support people with Autism.
"The support from the tutor is first rate. She’s friendly and approachable and answers emails and messages very quickly. She knows us all by name and is full of helpful individual advice.
"One of the main lessons I’ve learned on the course that has helped me both as a parent and as teacher is the idea of transition. That moving from one task to another, whether at home or at school, is extremely difficult and that time needs to be given to help that transition.
"I never thought I would go back to university. My motivation was merely to help me understand my son more, but it has been great.
"I’ve enjoyed having something again that is mine and where I can use my brain.
"Plus, I’ve met some brilliant people who have helped me because they have children who have Autism and they 'get it'."