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David Matthew Baker

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About David Matthew Baker

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  • Birthday 01/03/1983

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    Durham, North East England
  • Interests
    Steam Trains (real & model), Swimming (trying to find some people to go with), Kayaking (going to join a local club), Reading (Mainly Fantasy but also a lot of factual stuff on Autism & Teaching at the moment), Cinema (an Cineworld Unlimited card is great), Computers, Console Gaming (360 mainly but have most older consoles) and Science.
  1. Hi all, First in brief as I know I ramble and some may not want to read all I write below: Whilst in Kenya this summer I met with the person in charge of Special Educational Needs for the Nyharuru District of Kenya. She only has access to one book on autism (one written by a Kenyan on how to cook for an autistic child). She had quite a few autistic students in her care (a number of whom I met and I agree in the majority of cases with the diagnosis) but no access to resources on how to care for them. She was involved in both the diagnosis and schooling of such students. I promised her that I would send her out some information so was wondering which books you would say would be most useful. The majority of cases I saw were low ability with a complex range of difficulties. I was going to buy some books and send them out. If anyone else is interested in sending some as well let me know and I'll ask for her permission to pass on her postal address though it is worth mentioning I think all post needs to go registered and it isn't very cheap. If there are also any general special needs books they maybe helpful as well. The other area she mentioned she was lacking in was dyslexia. Now for more detail for those who don't mind reading: As those of you who know me here will know I have visited Kenya a number of times and was out there again this summer. Whilst there on this trip I bumped into another mzungu (white person), called VC, who is involved in building schools in Kenya through the charity Kariandusi School Trust (http://www.kariandusi.co.uk/). He invited me to the ground breaking of the latest school he is working on. There he talked about how not just the providing of money but also the sharing of practices would most help Kenya's schools improve. After the event it was insisted by the head teacher that me and dad went to have some food (especially as VC had to make a quick exit to get to Nairobi). There I talked to a number of Kenyans, when they found out that I worked in a special school they told me that before I went they had to introduce me to the person in charge of Special Needs in that area, Alice Njeri. Alice talked to us for a little while. She then asked if we'd be available the next day as she'd like to take us to see a couple of her schools. This we happily agreed to (we, as my dad was with me). Hence the next day we headed up to her office at Nyharuru with her. On the way we talked more or what VC had said and I promised that I'd try and form her a link with the special school I work at (which is for Autistic students for anyone who doesn't know). I also promised to see if I could get hold of any other relevant information which again I'd pass on to her. From there we went onto the first of the two places she took us. This was a special school just west of Nyharuru. It had 3 or 4 classes for 'mentally handicapped' (to quote what is written on the school sign). The first class we were shown was all diagnosed as autistic and certainly from what I saw of them I'd agree in the majority of cases. There was a lot of building and organising but not much interaction between the students. Though occasionally one of them might throw something which hit another student or do something else similar to get the attention of the single teacher in the room. Alice said she was her best teacher in the district. She had the unenviable task of single handedly handling around 10 students all of a low ability. Alice and the teacher seemed a bit lost for what to do with them. If anyone has any ideas on how a single person could implement any of the strategies used with autism please let me know. It's hard enough at times at my school which is well staffed. The next class didn't have any autistic students in it (being predominately downs syndrome) but really showed how nice an environment the people in the school tried to provide. We also were around when the students took their snack and even though they didn't have much quite a few of them wanted to share with us. Whilst in the staff room I asked what they had access to on autism and was shown a copy of the 1 book they had. This wasn't a particularly useful text as it was only on what food you could prepare for an autistic child (it was written by a Kenyan). I talked a bit about some of the strategies we use at school and tried to think of ways they could be implemented but struggled a bit. The second place we visited was a unit attached to a primary school. This had 2 teachers in a single class which hence meant it felt like it was running much smoother and I could think of far more possibilities for things that could be trialled. Such as visual timetables or PECS. The students here also seemed to be of a higher ability level. This was a mixed group (when it came to difficulties) but was really nice. (When I have them I'll post up some photos for you all – there presently all at my dads getting sorted out.) The autistic student here seemed to be about the equivalent of one of my schools midrange students (the highest we have are quite able academically – one this year passed 5 GCSEs with A-C grades). Once again the staff seemed very committed but also said that more information on autism would help them improve the quality of education they could offer. As I side note I never saw anyone who I would class as high functioning or Aspergers in Kenya but I expect that is because it wouldn't normally get diagnosed there. Alice herself seemed as committed and caring as any teacher I've seen here in England or abroad. At the second school I'll also mention she left enough money to buy them all cakes and soda. A lot of the students also called her mum. Some of them she had managed to rescue from situations such as being tied to trees. She also reckoned the education of parents needed to be a large part of her work as Kenyans don't understand about disabilities. Hence as I believe it would make such a difference I'm trying to provide Alice with more information through the following methods: 1)Encouraging my school to form a link with her. She was happy to work as a go between for us and her special schools. 2)Purchasing and posting (by recorded delivery) a variety of books to her. Some recommendations on what people think best would be appreciated. 3)Seeing if anyone else would be interested in sending her information – in which case I'll text her to ask for permission to pass on her details. If anyone does decided to help with point 3 it would also help if we keep a record in this post of what you decide to send. If anyone would like to send her some stuff but doesn't want it going direct (it is quite expensive) please let me know as I can always forward it. I think thats all for now. If I think of anything else I'll add it in another post in this thread. Will also post a link to the pictures once I've uploaded them somewhere. I expect I'll also put up some photos from the rest of my visit but that might take me a little while. I hope your all well. May post an account of what else I got upto in Kenya when I find the time in the off topic section if anyones interested. My friends out there are all well and I hope my ones on here are too. All the best for now, David Baker. PS I have her mobile number, email and postal address. So can always forward some things electronically.
  2. The first school that I worked as a LSA at had me supporting mainly French and German. I sat in the interview with the SENCo trying to convince them why I couldn't support students in those lessons whilst the SENCo sat there convincing me why I could. I'd never done any German in my life and French was by far my worst subject at GCSE with me only managing a D in it. What I was told by the SENCo at the time was that because of my general level of academic achievement (I don't have any qualifications directly related to working as a learning support assistant though have a degree in Physics) I'd pick up the work faster than the students I was supporting. Hence as long as I followed the lesson I'd be able to support any students they put me with. In practice this certainly seemed the case though I do remember a couple of interesting sessions where me and a HLTA took the lesson when the teacher was off. In my current school I've also supported areas that I don't have a formal qualification in (it is a special needs school though). I hope you manage to get this sorted. All the best, David. PS In practice the SENCo at the school I'm talking about was correct. I didn't always find it easy but I was always able to understand things better than the students I was working with and hence help them progress. I'd also say for an autisitic student that consistency might be more important than academic ability in anycase. In a lot of cases in my experience the students are capable of doing the work they just need someone to convince them that it is okay to attempt something and to possibly be wrong.
  3. First just to make sure everyones clear these are covered by the same (that was almost sane, which I guess is also true) terms and conditions in Neils original post. Be aware that in all case the rights and all related trademarks will also be transfered to me. A tardis - The ability to teleport to somewhere and also to anytime seems really handy. Could have real fun if a day never ended - I'd just sleep onboard to stay fresh. I think the first thing I'd do is go and spend some more time on the activity camp I helped with at the weekend. Actually I'd probably go back to one of the ones I went to when I was young before the requirements of qualifications for all activities got too silly. I miss the scrambling. The week long camp also sounds fun. It's just 2 days now. I do like sailing (not that I did any at the camp), kayaking (you may or may not know I own one - can't recal when I last posted) and the other adventure activities. I could also get to work quicker everyday. I love where I live but getting to work everyday does take a while. A Saunders-Roe Princess Flying Boat, the ability to fly a plane and unlimited fuel. Would be a great way to travel and everytime I fancied a kayaking session at Coniston I could just fly across. I've always loved flying boats for some reason. A steam train and a decent section of track to run it on. The Hexham to Alston branch (would need relaying in standard gauge) would be lovely. Who hasn't dreamed of driving a steam train. A PC that cools a room whilst it is running rather than heating it. My room was bad enough without the PC been on. A personal cooler like the one Neil asked for I guess would also be okay. That said I'd like more settings than my car. I generally like it around 12-13 degrees so why is the first numerical setting 16 and the low setting after a while makes me feel like I'm living in the arctic. The ability to mind meld. At times I wish I knew what the kids I'm working with are thinking as it would then help me comfort them. I can read a lot of them well but not all of them. Someone with some IT knowledge to sort out my schools computer system and to only block sites that warrant blocking. Why do schools systems always feel as if someone has gone block happy with them. The number of times I've been asked to help someone research something only to find its blocked is annoying. On that note a list of web based proxies without the word proxy in the sites address would be worth the money too to bypass the draconian protection on the systems. Not that I'd let any kids know you can get round them. Full knowledge of html so I could get this post to look right first time!!!
  4. Hope things go well for Steve. Sorry to hear about Nick's mum. <'> How are you at the moment? --------------------------------------------------------------- Now bet most of you weren't expecting to see a post from me. Yes I'm still alive. Been busy of late. Now permanent at the special school I work at as a support assistant. Was moved classes just before Christmas but next year I'm back with the one I started this year with. They're a really nice group and probably the most able students at the school. Staff are great too. I'm back off to Kenya in the summer to visit the teachers I worked with. Spent this last weekend on an activity camp with some 8-11 year olds from my dad's church at Coniston. Was a lovely weekend and they all enjoyed themselves. I've got a residential with school soon too. Well I hope you're all well. I'll try not to leave it quite so long until I post again. Now really should go on facebook soon to catch up with people on there. All the best, David.
  5. I can't remember if I used to have you on facebook or not. To be honest I might be going blind and still have you but looking down the list couldn't see you. Sorry to hear things aren't great with your son. Feel free to add me. I use my full name as on here. As you've met me you should recognise my handsom mug shot too. That and I've now added it as my avatar on here (assuming that has worked properly). Thinking of you. Even when running around like a headless chicken (metaphorically for anyone who is worried). All the best, David. (Posted a small update about what I'm upto in the gameshark post. Not that it has changed much. All the best again.
  6. Any updates on this one? Is it still likely to happen. May not be around on here much at the moment but still plan on trying to come along to any meetup. All the best, David. (See gameshark post for a small update on what I'm upto. I thought I'd better not just post and say nothing about where I've been. )
  7. First I'll say hi all. I'm still around just still very busy. Not sure why I'm on here now as I'm off to visit a friend in Leciester tomorrow and travelling just before 10am and am not yet packed. My life is as hectic as ever but still thinking off you lot. Will try and make time to post properly soon. I know I keep saying that. Right onto the actual post. I'm sorry to say I know exactly what your son wants. Whether I can remember how to do it is another matter. There are a couple of codes that allow you to enter levels that they had started converting for the multiplayer but for some reason never finished to the point where they were included in the final game. However the partially converted levels were included and through the use of a game shark (or in mine and my brother's case an action replay - a different brands model) you could access these 2 levels. The first thing that springs to mind is the action replay (I'm probably going to keep calling it that but the game shark was very similar) I think contains an internal battery which is needed for some of the data not to be lost which is required for the device to work. Not sure why I think this but I'd open it up and check if it doesn't seem to be working. It's possible it was one of the other consoles versions not the N64 one though. It's year since our N64 was used. Though I remember playing Goldeneye when I was young and it was a good game. Technically my mum didn't allow us shooting games at that stage but a friend brought it across quite regularly. Latter another friend who didn't even have the console decided to buy a copy that was kept at our house. Mum knew and kind of came to accept we were both really old enough to play such games. As for the codes that you need it will depend on the version of the game you have. As you are in the UK it should be a PAL version. I have a feeling that the particular codes you want weren't included on the cartridges and will need programming in. The codes for the PAL version are as follows (I found these on http://www.gamewinners.com/gameshark.php?g...deneye007.htm): Multi-player level - Cradle: D00572D1 0008 80025E47 0029 Hold C-Up, start the game, release when screen turns black. Multi-player level - Statue: D00572D1 0004 80025E47 0016 Hold C-Down, start the game, release when screen turns black. I can't find one but there may also be a 'must be on' code that is required to get any of the other codes to work. I hope that helps. Sorry that I'm not overly clear on somethings. My memory isn't as good as I'd like it to be. All the best, David. P.S. I guess I should give a brief update. I'm still at the special school and enjoying it a lot. The run upto half term was an especially good week. I managed to accompany two classes on the end of half term trips (in both cases the cinema followed by Pizza Hut) and they were good fun. The kids enjoyed themselves and the staff did too. One kids happyness was even put down to me as the moment I walked into the class he started beaming. He's not overly happy in his present class due to the behaviour (and unpredictability) of some of the other children in the class. In general I think I could say that the kids at my school seem to like having a man working in the class. Visiting primary is always an experience as quite a lot can be very clingy to men. Will also be fun after half term as due to a few issues in the leadup to the hols I'm now going to be swimming with 3 different classes so they have additional help if it is needed. On one of my swimming trips before half term I met an ex-member of this forum who I'm glad to say was doing well. I'm also still very active in one of my local scouting groups. I've a camp to look forward to soon. Well I'd really better get to bed. All the best for now. I will try and say hi a bit more frequently. I've not left for good though just a bit intermitent and loosing track a lot of what is going on here. All the best, David.
  8. I'll probably be available. Will try and post how I'm doing soon. Everythings fine btw, just rather busy. Back at school now. Not disappeared completely though just a bit irratic.
  9. So when were you doing that Sussex meet again Bard. Having seem your spread can't wait for one. Was really nice to see you again. My mum particular enjoyed picking your brains too. All the best, David.
  10. Mumble I've been told I don't need to have another as I had the full series at school. Now days they seem to think that as long as you had the series of jabs while at school you are protected for life. Hence when I have been out to Kenya they won't give me a booster even though it is longer than the period they used to say they last for. I was told they might give me one if I got a really serious cut but even then I shouldn't really need it, they'd just do it as a precaution. I guess they read my file and noticed how many times I needed stitches, etc... as a child. I cut my chin open riding a trike into the rock garden, forehead doing a summersault off a seesaw and my knee open falling over in a river pulling a kayak. Not that I used to be a disaster area or anything. Hence why my mum thinks I have an entire flock of guardian angels. Plus managed to survive prising a plug out of a socket with a knife. I can't remember doing it but the knife is still around and has a rather large hole burnt in it. Apparently I didn't hurt myself at all. Seem on the whole to have grown out of it at least. Only recent adventure was the plunge down a mountain side.
  11. It is worth seeing!!! Me and mum would go again if we could. It finishes really soon though so we couldn't manage to get there again. I think it might even be this week. It is by far the best stage show either of us have ever seen by some margin. Gollum desending head first towards the stage at the start of act 2 been one of the highlights. It was all exceptionally well thought out and presented. Still plan on expanding comments a bit more but presently at school so shouldn't concentrate too much on here. Have 4 kids at the moment to look after and one Y10 work experience student. All happy at the moment as have free choice on the computers. So I decided to have free choice too.
  12. It's an 04 car. Have used the various internet sites to try and locate one through a breakers yard. Only one that has contacted me so far has a boot that is also damaged. Have noticed an email too so will see if that is for a different company. A new one with glass would be �600 including fitting so not as bad as we feared but still quite expensive. Not declared the accident to the insurance company at the moment as it happened on private property I'm not sure if I need to. Will think about parking on steep wet grass banks in the future though.
  13. I expect one of us can give you a lift further north if that would help you find accomidation. I know I for one am planning on driving. You could come and visit Durham as well if you want.
  14. If it is the same as up here it is the support workers that are on strike rather than the teachers this time. My school is still open but we don't have our full compliment of staff or students. The people on strike include the transport buses (so some students can't get in - not all parents are able to drop the kids off at school although some are), some of the kitchen and lunch time staff, cleaners and support assistants. The class I work in is at full strength staff wise but missing 2 students (though one of them maybe to illness as he was off prior to the strike). It is making things a bit chayotic. I've had students with me prior to 9am on both the last 2 days due to parents not been able to hang round because of work. That said I wouldn't want people hooting or doing similar things near where I live. Still I support what they are striking for but believe in my schools case (been a special school for autistic students) the students have to come first and we need to maintain as much normality as possible. It's bad enough that we are presently off timetable though most of the students seem to be enjoying it. Spent quite a lot of time washing cars to raise money for our end of term trip. They also had been told in advance what was happening. David.
  15. I plan to join you. I assume this is the York thread. Not had time to read through it properly. Getting distracted again. Off to bed, David. (Don't worry just telling myself off. Ask my students I do it occasionally. At least one of them thinks I'm weird (don't know where he got that idea), then the other support assistnant in the class is Weirdest as she called him Weirder. I do like school. ) See you all soon. [MESSAGE TO SELF - NOW GO TO BED AND STOP TYPING ESSAYS.]
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