Special Needs Assistant – Roanoke

Roanoke, VA

  • Department: Head Start/Early Head Start
  • Posting Date: 10/06/2023
  • Closing Date: Open until filled
  • Salary: $15.60-$22.04/hr
  • Code: SNA-HS/EHS


Every TAP employee shares in TAP’s responsibility to “Mobilize Community Resources” in support of TAP’s anti-poverty efforts.



The Special Needs Assistant plays a vital role in supporting the implementation of the educational program for children with disabilities, special needs, and/or mental/behavioral health issues in Early Head Start/Head Start settings. Working under the guidance of the Teacher, the Special Needs Assistant provides direct assistance and individualized support to children with diverse learning needs, ensuring their inclusion and participation in all aspects of the educational program.



Supervised by:      Lead Teacher, Teacher, Center Supervisors, Disabilities Coordinator, Behavior Health Coordinator, Education Coordinators, Supervisor of E

Supervises:           No One

Coordinates with: EHS/HS Center and Administrative Staff



  • Assist the Teacher in implementing individualized education plans (IEPs) or individualized family service plans (IFSPs) for children with disabilities, special needs, and/or behavioral health concerns.
  • Provide one-on-one support and assistance to children with diverse learning needs, including personal care, mobility assistance and behavioral support.
  • Collaborate with the Teacher and other classroom staff to create a supportive inclusive learning environment for all children.
  • Support children’s social-emotional development by modeling positive behaviors, facilitating peer interactions, and implementing strategies to address challenging behaviors.
  • Adapt instructional materials and activities to meet the individual needs and abilities of children with disabilities or special needs, ensuring their full participation and engagement in the educational program.
  • Assist in the assessment and documentation of children’s progress and development, under the direction of the Teacher and Special Education staff.
  • Foster positive relationships with children and families, promoting open communication and partnership in the educational process.
  • Demonstrate skills in the CLASS Tool to promote a positive, engaging, responsive, respected, child-centered, and safe environment. By nurturing meaningful interactions, educators will support children’s holistic development.
  • Maintain confidentiality of sensitive information related to children and families, in accordance with program policies and regulations.
  • Assists with keeping equipment and materials safe, clean, and in good condition at all times, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Works to continue education by attending classes, meetings, workshops, and conferences related to Head Start and early childhood education, earning at least 21 training hours per program year as defined in the TAP Head Start training plan.

–     Attends center staff meetings monthly, or as needed.

–     Develops professional development goals with supervisor, annually.

–     Participates in classes, workshops, meetings, and conferences that move toward meeting professional development goals, as requested or assigned.

  • Assists the Lead Teacher in creating an atmosphere in the center that is welcoming to parents and families of all children.
  • Adheres to NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct and the TAP Head Start Code of Conduct.
  • Performs other duties as assigned and required by the Supervisor.



  • Basic understanding of child development, disabilities and special education principles.
  • Compassion, patience and empathy in working with children with diverse learning needs and abilities.
  • Effective communication and interpersonal skills with the ability to collaborate with colleagues and interact sensitively with children and families.
  • Ability to implement instructional strategies under the supervision of the Teacher and Special Education staff.
  • Flexibility and adaptability in responding to the individual needs and behaviors of children with disabilities or special needs.


  • High School Diploma or equivalent required; Associate’s Degree or coursework in Early Childhood Education, Special Education, or related field preferred.
  • Previous experience working with children with disabilities, special needs and/or behavioral health issues preferred.
  • Training in crisis intervention techniques may be required.
  • At TAP, we focus on the Whole Family Approach.   Whole Family is a family led strategy to achieve set goals.  As an employee you may be required to attend Whole Family training and subject to data entry into the agency’s software as part of the Whole Family approach and serving clients



  • Must have a valid Virginia Operator’s license and reliable transportation.
  • TAP participates in the Virginia DMV Driver Alert Program.  Employees who operate a TAP vehicle or their personal vehicle to conduct TAP business may be subject to driver record monitoring through the Virginia DMV Driver Alert Program.
  • Must pass drug screening.  Some positions require positive complete background screening including:  criminal, sex offender and child protective services.
  • Must be able to interact with children.
  • Must have CPR, First Aid Certification, and MAT certification or be able to complete such certification within 6 months of employment.
  • Must be available to work any eight (8) hour shift during center operational hours of 6:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Physical activity of this position – climbing; ascending and descending ladders, stairs, scaffolding, ramps, poles and the like; balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, crawling, reaching, standing, walking, pushing, pulling, lifting, use of fingers for – picking, pinching, and typing; grasping, feeling, talking, hearing, repetitive motion of the wrists, hands, and/or fingers.
  • Physical requirements of this position – medium work; exerting up to 50 pounds of force occasionally, and/or up to 30 pounds of force frequently, and/or up to 10 pounds of force constantly to move objects.
  • Visual acuity requirements – must be able to determine the accuracy, neatness and thoroughness of the work assigned or to make general observations of facilities or structures.
  • Conditions worker subject to in this position – worker in not substantially exposed to adverse environmental conditions.
  • Performs other duties as assigned and required by the Supervisor.

This description provides information regarding the essential functions of the designated job and general nature and level of work associated with the job.  It should not be interpreted to describe all the duties that may be required of such employees or be used to limit the nature and extent of assignments such an individual may be given.


We only hire individuals legally eligible for employment in the United States.

Equal Opportunity Employer/Drug Free Workplace

Bilingual Ability is a plus.