Why Special Needs?
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When People Ask Why I Work With Special Needs, Here Is My Reply

They're people too, and they need OUR support as a community.

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When People Ask Why I Work With Special Needs, Here Is My Reply

Today, over 22.5% of individuals in the United States have a disability, over 12% of which are children. In the state of Maine alone, 18.2% of adults are living with a disability. The prevalence of individuals with disabilities is drastically raising and the number of people willing to work with and support these individuals is decreasing.

I have been working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder for just over a year now, and have had the opportunity to work with children with other disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy, Attention Deficit Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and others. It has taught me so much about life and opened my eyes to challenges I never imagined having to face.

Imagine not being six years old and not being able to tell your parents that you're hungry or tired. Imagine being sixteen years old and having your wisdom teeth come in and feeling that pain but not be able to distinguish what is happening or communicate your needs. Imagine needed to click with your mouth to feel secure, but it annoys everyone else and gets you yelled at.

These are just the few of challenges someone with a severe disability has to face themselves, not to mention challenges of their family.

Constantly fighting to get the support and assistance that your child needs. The endless medical bills to care for someone you love. Constant worry that something may go wrong, or someone will mistreat them. Becoming comfortable allowing strangers into your house everyday for hours at a time, alone with your child.

I am one of those strangers.

I work with children on the spectrum everyday, and I love my job. Of course I am not a stranger to the families I work with anymore, I have build relationships with each and everyone of them. But at one point, I had never met them, I just showed up to my shift at their house one day.

Weird right?

You're not wrong, the first shift is always the most awkward but also the most important. We learn the most important information about each other on those days and build the first step of a healthy work relationship.

I work with special needs children for so many reasons: to start they need the assistance and I love helping people. Helping people gives you this feeling of completeness, like you've done something amazing, even if it is a simple little task. You make a difference in someone's life generally for the better, when they may not have been as successful without you there.

They appreciate you and value their time with you, even if they do not vocalize it. You make them happy, no they might not enjoy everything you do with them, but having you there to do activities with them makes their day. Even to the point, sometimes, they don't want you to leave. And even better, when you aren't with them for a week or a little more, they miss you, even more than you miss them.

THOSE SMILES.

Let's be honest, who does not love to see an adorable child, neurotypical or atypical with a genuine GIANT smile on their face? They literally melt my heart.

The challenges, even the hard days, the days where you feel like you absolutely SUCK at your job and wonder why you started in the first place. THOSE DAYS are the most important, that is when your impact is the strongest. Being there, getting through the tough days just like with school or the gym shows how much you care. And let me tell you, they know it.

For me and for many of my coworkers and friends who work with someone with special needs do it for more than the paycheck at the end of the week. We do it because we love it. We love giving support to someone who needs it more than me. We want to make a difference and we encourage everyone else to make a difference too.

Even if it is as simple as saying hi when you walk by.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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