It can be one of the best choices you'll make in your life, if you're taking keen interest in helping autistic children grow and develop in life, something that they can't do by themselves. Though it takes a lot of time, patience and work, it's worth the effort. The satisfaction derived from helping children suffering from autism is regarded to be the biggest motivations for people who wish to pursue careers in this field. If you're a high school student or you're about to enter your college, you may benefit from this piece of information by knowing various careers wherein you can help kids suffering from complications of autism, asperger's syndrome, ADD, ADHD and similar developmental disorders.
How Can You Help Autistic Children?
It is indeed laudable that you're willing to help children with autism. Your intent is what matters the most and you can start your mission by working as a volunteer in various NGOs or health care units that recruit people for taking basic care of autistic children. A mere glance on the Internet will help you to find addresses of various organizations and support groups for autistic children in your locality. I know many of my friends who have been working voluntarily to help kids suffering from various mental disorders. You can also volunteer to work for some hospital though you may or may not be paid for it. Meanwhile, you can continue your studies and choose a college that grants courses related to autism. As per the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, the principle US body helping autistic children lead a normal life, a bachelor's degree in psychology, education, early childhood development or some other similar degree is essential to make a career in this field. Further, you may complete a medical school study of four years to get more command on disorders related to children. Many medical professionals who graduate as occupational therapists have deep knowledge about autism and similar mental disorders and hence they start working as doctors who help autistic children. You can also consider taking a bachelor of nursing degree so that you can provide basic patient care and support to children. If after bachelor's degree you don't wish to take a medical degree, you may go for post graduation degree in education, psychology or similar fields and pass exams to become a teacher for challenged children. It all depends on you and the way you want to help autistic children.
You must sit with your college counselor and discuss the possible career paths you can take. Based on your discussions with your college counselor, teachers and parents, you must make a wise decision. You have to understand that love for autistic children is most important if you wish to help them but you have to gain proper education before you're capable of helping them. Hence, education, residency and training all are important components of various careers working for autistic children.
Careers to Choose to Help Autistic Children
Following are various jobs you can choose in your effort to become a professional who helps autistic children.
There are a large number of private and public agencies that offer day care providers services for children with special needs. Day care providers are a great help to parents who have to work or have to carry out some important tasks during the day. Being a skilled and compassionate day care provider are important virtues to deal with autistic children. Mostly, the day care service providing agencies provide minimal training to candidates interested in working with autistic children. While only some states have licenses and regulations for day care services, almost all of them require criminal background checks to be performed on the child day care staff. Most of the local governments regulate norms, rules and licenses for child day care centers. Although, working as a daycare provider may not earn you much, it is a great start for college students, housewives and other people who wish to help children with special needs. Medical students who want to have a first hand experience of helping autistic children can consider doing par time work at day care centers as assistants.
Becoming a teacher for autistic children is a rewarding career option as you'll help special children experience new things and develop themselves in the journey of life. Since autism causes communication and social interaction related problems, the task of teachers for special education is extremely challenging. To become a teacher for autistic children, one has to take a bachelor's degree in special education from a reputed, registered and authentic college or university. The four years bachelor degree will provide you with a broad understanding of developmental disorders in children. After the completion of a bachelor's degree, you'll be required to take a teaching license in the state where you wish to teach. You'll be awarded teaching certification from the education department of your state after you fill the application properly and pass the state conduced exams. Different states may conduct more than one exams, so do inquire in your state education department office. Further, you'll have to obtain a master's degree in special education or in course relates to autism in children. It requires years of education and consistent hard work to understand autistic children and help them live a more balanced life.
Be it at school or home, occupational therapists can benefit children with autism. Since operational therapists study human development, they're aware of all aspects of a disorder, pain or injury that is, social, emotional, and physiological. This ability helps them work with autistic children more closely and in a better way. OT's are hired by schools that teach children with autism. In the first few years of an autistic child's education, OT's are able to identify the strong and weak areas of the child so that they can chalk out a strategy to improve the social skills of the child. To become an occupational therapist with children, one has to follow all the requirements of becoming a general OT. A bachelor's degree in life sciences, biology or pre-occupational therapy and then a master's degree in an occupational therapy is required to become a pediatric occupational therapist. Knowledge about special disabilities in children is very crucial and it forms the part of course in the OT education. Further, one has to pass the certification exam conduced by the The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and obtained state license to practice as an occupational therapist helping autistic children.
Similar to the above jobs related to autism in children, there are various other therapies, social work and speech therapist jobs that one can consider. Given the scope and extent of medical care for children with special disabilities, medical science students have a large number of options. It is up to you to decide your area of interest and take a wise career decision.