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Working with Children or Adults with Special Needs

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 21 May 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Working With Children With Special Needs

Many volunteers are attracted to working with children or adults with special needs because of the satisfaction it gives them. Yes it can be challenging and demanding but the rewards far outweigh anything else.

What Kind of People might I be Working With?

Special needs can cover a broad canvas. You may be working with people whose issues might include:
  • Behavioural problems
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Learning difficulties
  • Autism
  • Speech defects
  • Physical care needs
  • Blindness and numerous others too.
The severity of their problems will differ by the kind of difficulties they face and between individuals too and understanding the specific conditions and problems that face those you’re caring for individually, will be the key to providing good care.

What Kind of Work does it Involve?

Yet again, because special needs is a vast area, there are many different roles that you might be asked to perform. It could be things like taking a blind person shopping in an unfamiliar place, helping a child out of a wheelchair and into a swimming pool or helping with music therapy, for example.

What I Might I Learn

Working with people who have special needs will teach you about many important aspects about life in general. You’ll acquire much more knowledge about the difficulties certain sections of your community face in their everyday lives and gain a better understanding of how you can help to improve the lives of those less fortunate than yourself. You might also wish to help overcome stereotypical opinions that are held by certain sections of society who sometimes only see the ‘problem’ and never the person behind it and you’re bound to have a new and very different appreciation of life in general, which will permeate through to other areas of your everyday life.

In essence, not only will you be helping individuals directly, but you’ll often become a type of ‘ambassador’ who will enable others to better understand the difficulties faced by people with special needs.

What are the Benefits and what Skills do I Need?

In addition to helping others, you’ll learn so much about yourself and your own abilities to help. Many people tend to think that it must take a great range of skills and super-human effort to be able to work with people with special needs but the truth is that as long as you have a desire and a commitment to assist and a good helping of compassion, this type of work does not require any kind of extraordinary skill. It will, however, help you develop all of the positive personal qualities such as compassion, understanding, patience and, determination that are skills which are highly prized amongst many professions.

Whether or not you’re looking to follow a career path in the medical or care areas or intend choosing an entirely different career path altogether, any potential employer will be impressed by you choosing to commit yourself to this kind of voluntary work as it indicates a social interest in the well-being of other people and your commitment to the issue of values both of which are prized qualities when looking to impress a prospective employer.

Overall, however, the love and gratitude that will be reciprocated as a result of you working with children and adults with special needs (even though there will be challenges along the way) will live long in your memory and will have a positive influence and might even transform your outlook on life and the way you conduct your life in the future.

To find out more about such opportunities, you should research the areas you are looking to specialise in or speak to your local GP practice or your local council - they might be able to point you in the direction of some local organisations that would be only too glad of your help.

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[Add a Comment]
El- Your Question:
Hello , I am in year 9 I am 15 years old I would love to volunteer with special needs. I have a 4 year old sister with disabilities and it really inspired me and I would love to have experience.

Our Response:
We're not sure what area you're in but do know that many organisations will not take on volunteers under the age of 16. Ask at local groups such as scouts, youth clubs etc to see if they have any contacts. It's also worth checking in with the Prince's Trust and/or Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme for ideas on volunteering.
VoluntaryWorker - 22-May-17 @ 12:27 PM
Hello , I am in year 9 I am 15 years old I would love to volunteer with special needs. I have a 4 year old sister with disabilities and it really inspired me and I would love to have experience.
El - 21-May-17 @ 2:03 PM
Hi I am currently working in childcare however i would like to volunteer my spare time working with adults with additional needs.
Dawn - 20-May-17 @ 8:46 PM
Hi I'm Medina, I'm 12 years old and I love working with children when I was in primary school I used to make lots of groups such as music clubs, reading clubs etc. There were a few people that couldn't get the hang of things so I stepped in and helped it felt very good. I realised that I can help others so I started applying for all the volunteering jobs I could find to do with children and that's how I found this website. Can't wait to hear back from you Your sincerely Medina
Medina - 4-Apr-17 @ 2:43 AM
Hi, I'm in year 10 in secondary school and I'm really interested in doing voluntary work with special needs children but I am unsure of where I would be able to go to do this where it would not overlap with school. It's really important to me to be able to do this as the idea of helping people is something that is important to me and it would help me gain experience to become a music therapist later in life, could you recommend somewhere please?
Eden - 19-Nov-16 @ 6:49 PM
Hi I would love the chance to volunteer to work with young adults with learning disabilities it's something I have always wanted to do as a career but have no experience I am currently working as a sales assistant and gave 2 children of my own age 5 and 13 and I live in bury thanks
Jenjen - 14-Nov-16 @ 9:10 PM
Hi, my name is Serpil and I am 40 years old. I would like to be volunteer with special need children. Because I have 2 kids and their age are 21 and 16. We have lost their dad when they were little kids. So I can understand children's phsycological problems and some needs
serpil - 10-Nov-16 @ 6:11 AM
I'm. Sandra I currently run my own. Business I'm looking for a changeI'm interested in working. With young adults. With special needshow do I go bout getting some experience I live near Lincoln
Sandra - 28-Oct-16 @ 9:48 AM
E4 - Your Question:
Hi there, I leave in London. I got a special needs son/ complex needs. I have taken interest in working with specials needs children, so that I am able to support my son more.I volunteered in my sons school, which has helped me massively in planning his routines. I also have completed my L3 working with children and young people workforce qualification. I am wondering if there are any opportunities in my area. so that I get more experience, build more confidence before I study further.

Our Response:
Try an organisation like:
KEEN London
or
Action for Children
VoluntaryWorker - 12-Sep-16 @ 12:35 PM
Hi there, I leave in London.I got a special needs son/ complex needs. I have taken interest in working with specials needs children, so that I am able to support my son more. I volunteered in my sons school, which has helped me massively in planning his routines. I also have completed my L3 working with children and young people workforce qualification. I am wondering if there are any opportunities in my area. so that I get more experience, build more confidence before I study further.
E4 - 9-Sep-16 @ 9:35 PM
Dev - Your Question:
Hi I'm in high school year 10 I would love to work with disabled children but I am unsure on what grades I need could anyone help??

Our Response:
It's worth looking at the various qualifications requiredsuch as NVQs in learning support or health and social care. Your careers adviser will tell you which subjects are best for these courses and the types of entry requirements. You could also consider doing a degree in education/teaching and focusing on special needs if you'd like to work in an educational environment. Any subject will be good to choose at A level, if you want to do a year long post grad course after it, but some teaching degree course are quite competitive.
VoluntaryWorker - 7-Sep-16 @ 12:19 PM
Hi I'm in high school year 10 I would love to work with disabled children but I am unsure on what grades I need could anyone help??
Dev - 6-Sep-16 @ 5:01 PM
I am a Therapist with almost a decade experience in the rehabilitation of children and young adults with special needs. I am a Nigerian base in Nigeria. How can I play a part?
Sunnyside - 26-Aug-16 @ 10:21 PM
Shiv - Your Question:
Hi,I'm lactose intolerant, partially sighted and have hearing problems. Please can you let me know if I am still able to volunteer? Even with my limitations I feel I would be an epic candidate for looking after those with special needs.Shiv

Our Response:
Of course you can, there's bound to be a role somewhere that would suit you down to the ground. Unfortunately we do not have details of where you live so cannot give exmaples of specific organisations.
VoluntaryWorker - 17-Aug-16 @ 12:04 PM
Hi, I'm lactose intolerant, partially sighted and have hearing problems. Please can you let me know if I am still able to volunteer? Even with my limitations I feel I would be an epic candidate for looking after those with special needs. Shiv
Shiv - 16-Aug-16 @ 3:47 PM
I an currently working full time in a secondary school as a teaching assistant helping and supporting students aged 11 - 18 with a range of disabilities and learning difficulties. I have been especially supporting in a SEND drama class with year 12 and 13 for the past four years. In September I am taking over as the teacher of this group wheee I will be helping them to complete a BTEC level one qualification in Performing Arts aswell as a Summer Musical show. I am really interested in Drama Therapy and opening up my own drama/Theatre school for special needs students that will aim to build their confidence and self esteem. I am wondering if there would be any volunteering opportunities in the Cambridgeshire area that will help me to get more experience and ultimately prepare me for my ultimate career goal. Thank You very much. Jessica
jess - 7-Jul-16 @ 5:37 PM
I'm interested in working with children /adults with special needs. I live in Hayling Island Hants. I'm currently self employed as a florist but am keen on working within the special needs field in my spare time. I had a shop for many years and have had people with special needs come in for chats over the years and feel I communicate well with them . is be grateful for any advise Thnx Debbie
Nasha - 22-May-16 @ 7:30 PM
I would like to work with kids who have disibilltys I have got a cousin who has bisibillitys so I have loads of experience and has made me realise kids who have got disibilltys need more attention then normal kids so I would love to help
Faniel - 22-Apr-16 @ 11:21 PM
I would like to work with kids who have disibilltys I have got a poorly cousin and it has made me realise they need more attention then normal kids
Faniel - 22-Apr-16 @ 11:18 PM
hi there i would like to work with children with disability but i have experience before with a sibling with Cerebral palsy learning difficulties speech but in the past i have worked with my cousin who is blind and i would like a career in the future. i would like the more training and experience.
zack - 15-Apr-16 @ 12:01 PM
Hi there my name is zack Pattison I am looking for some work experience working with children with disabilities I want a career in the field I have some personal experience my little sister and my cousin and would love as much experience as possible please can you help
Zacky - 13-Mar-16 @ 7:59 PM
I'm interested in wirking with kids with austism, Iam free so I would love to do volunteer could you give me some information please
Claire - 13-Mar-16 @ 5:12 AM
Hello I'm interested in working with children with austism could you give me any advice what to do please
Claire - 13-Mar-16 @ 5:08 AM
Taz - Your Question:
I am an ungraduate studying criminology with sociology and looking for some voluntary work around barking or tower hamlets to work with yoit and young offenders. However I am unsure about where to find this kind of work.

Our Response:
try the various young offender units in and aroundLondon. Here is list that might help
VoluntaryWorker - 2-Mar-16 @ 11:10 AM
I am an ungraduate studying criminology with sociology and looking for some voluntary work around barking or tower hamlets to work with yoit and young offenders. However I am unsure about where to find this kind of work.
Taz - 28-Feb-16 @ 2:10 PM
Hi my name is Thaer ,I have good experience in teaching students with learning difficulties , I have yearly vacation which starts in June and end in August.
thaer - 7-Feb-16 @ 11:52 PM
I am an undergraduate student studying criminology and criminal justice. I would love work experience based in Nottingham hopefully with youth offending, or special needs or generally welfare/criminal justice based. I was wandering if you had any suggestions on where I could gain this within Nottinghamshire or near there. Thank you
Hel - 26-Jan-16 @ 11:02 AM
I would like to work with disabled people, on a voluntary basis, I worked with Down syndrome people many years ago at gateway in Colchester Essex but had to give up because of pay and having children, I am now retired and would like to take it up again, thank you
Brian - 4-Dec-15 @ 12:33 PM
Hi my name is Katherine I would love to work with special need children because I have experince but I want a lot more experince if there is a place for me .
Monkey - 29-Nov-15 @ 2:28 PM
Hi My names is susan booth i have learned makaton sign language for 16 years i am a passionate about supporting younger adults and children with special needs something i have wanted to i went to a special need school y friend was deaf we become best of friends i love signing and its vital to learn and make a difference in lives and making a change
makaonteers - 18-Nov-15 @ 1:50 PM
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