Some Things I've Learned From Working With Special Needs Students

Thanks for the request @Nicholas
  1. Surprisingly, I have never been asked this question
    Anytime I mention that I work with special needs students, people just say "wow that must be pretty challenging. Good for you."
  2. The first this I've learned is that I'm actually good at it.
    Not to sound cocky but it's seriously something that's come pretty natural to me and I'm grateful for that
  3. Wow, now that I've started this list I'm coming to realize a lot of the things I've learned from my students.
  4. PATIENCE
    I mostly work with students who have autism. Someone with autism can't process simple auditory instruction very well. For instance, if I need a students attention and call there name they won't respond until about 3-10 seconds later. You can't just say "Matt.....Matt? Matt matt Matt....hello MATT!" Matt still hasn't processed the first Matt. So now he's getting all of the jumbled info that's too much and too loud for him. And he's now frustrated or throwing a fit.
  5. I don't have patience for the regular Ed students
    Since I work for a California school district, a lot of my students are being integrated into regular Ed classes with modified classwork and tests. Anyways, I have to be in these regular Ed classes some time and I have no patience for the other students who don't have a disability. I feel like they should know better and they have the ability to behave
  6. I SHOULD have patience with every student not just the special needs ones
    Still working on this.
  7. The regular Ed students did teach me to find the good in everyone because you really never know their background story
    I think I'll make a separate list about this one because I have a few examples and it's kind of off topic? Idk
  8. I've learned that I don't give a shit about how much money I make
    I don't make much that's why I have a second job at Starbucks. My job allows me to be completely hands on with my students. I get to develop close relationships and see real results right before my eyes that are happening because of the work that I do with them. I can go higher up in the school district and get paid considerably more but then I'd only be in charge of people like me and never get to actually work with students. I'd only have meetings with their parents and teachers. Not worth it.
  9. Still, if I won the lottery I'd quit my job. But I'd definitely volunteer and donate to awesome programs that help these kids.
  10. They are GENUINE and HONEST
    You can ask them about anything and they'll tell you how they really feel about a person or thing. Most of my students do not like other people very much and hate showing affection. So I feel extra special when one of then gets comfortable enough to laugh with me or even say hi. I had a 2nd grade student with autism once that gave me a hug. It was crazy. His mom was so surprised because he only hugs her. I've never felt better about myself than the way he made me feel with that hug.
  11. I've learned to be grateful for the ability to have relationships with people
    A lot of my high school students still get crushes on girls and boys. They flirt. They even ask them out. But the fact of the matter is that they will probably never have a boyfriend or girlfriend. And it's something that breaks my heart because they want normal teenager experiences like a first kiss. My students don't get that. I try not to take that for granted. It's something so simple and natural to us. I'm happy I can even have a simple conversation with a stranger.
  12. I've learned that not everyone has the same potential and that's OKAY!
    Some of my students will graduate high school and even get an entry level job making minimum wage and that's great. One of my students just learned how to order something and pay for it on his own and that's great too! Helping them to become independent and take initiative is what we want to foster.
  13. A big part of who I am today comes from what they have taught me.
    I'm still working on these things and I'm not perfect but I'm trying to be more patient, honest, genuine, compassionate, grateful, carefree, and understanding.
  14. Compassion
  15. There's so much more I've learned and will continue to learn
  16. Unfortunately, life's going to be extremely difficult for them.
    If they don't learn basic living skills that allow them to function in assisted group home living then what will happen? They can't live with their parents forever. Parents pass away and then what? It's an epidemic. Services for these students are scarce, expensive, or you have to be a certain age to qualify. Everything we do is to ultimately prevent homelessness in the future and help them to just survive.