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Working with Children or Adults with Special Needs

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 26 Feb 2024 | 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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Hi, I am a second-year psychology student and would love to gain some experience helping young people as a volunteer. Please let me know if there is a suitable place for me. Thank you.
Changran - 26-Feb-24 @ 4:12 PM
Hi, my name is Alice and I have a son who has Down syndrome , He gos to school from 1pm to 3pm every day so I will love to help out with special needs kids
Alicia - 22-Jan-24 @ 2:42 PM
i am a media graduate department of electronics and media technology gained experience and skills in broadcatsing on-air television looking forward to improve skills to reach my goals presently student at sheffield hallam university doing masters in digital media management enthusiastically waiting to work behind the screen , thanking you.
sunny - 27-Dec-23 @ 3:33 PM
Hi, I love to help and enjoy supporting people to reach their full potential. I can work within a team and independently. I am eager to learn new skills along the way; I have multiple experiences that I can utilise within my supporting role.
Thersea - 3-Sep-22 @ 9:27 AM
HI , i am samar i live in egypt I would love to volunteer with special needs
samar - 7-Dec-21 @ 10:43 AM
Hi I am interested in working with children with special needs, I am a mature student doing a diploma in Health and Social Care Level 2 with the hope that I can make a difference to people and the greatest satisfaction for me would be to spend time with these special little people and to know that I made them smile??
Shirlz - 27-Sep-21 @ 5:11 PM
Hi, I would like to volunteer with children with special needs as I am planning on studying psychology and would like first-hand experience in understanding their needs and behaviour.
Mara - 14-Jul-21 @ 1:10 PM
I would like to volunteer to work with these kids
hafsa - 28-Sep-20 @ 1:09 PM
Hellow I'm PhilaniMavundla from Durban HAMMERSDALE living in PORTSHEPSTON U'lld love to help (Volunteering) In any Near Organisation thatNeed helpduring this pandemic
Phila - 6-Sep-20 @ 1:12 AM
Hiya, My name is Esther, I'm 17, and would love to volunteer working with children here or adults, ro help out in anyway I can, if its possible please let le know. Thank you.
Becky - 16-Jul-20 @ 1:44 PM
hi there, im writing to you to ask if you can help me with finding the right place for me or advice me what to do next? I would love to volunteer to help with children with special needs, Im going for the course from Septemberand im looking for opportunities now as i wish to start now to help those kids
Mola - 8-Jul-20 @ 7:49 AM
Hi, my name is sayda... I'm interesting for work with special needs children because I need experience.
Sultana - 8-Nov-19 @ 9:07 PM
hi , i am yassine i live in morocco and am interested in volunteering with special needs children as the career I want to proceed with is linked to this.
yassine raja - 7-Oct-19 @ 5:35 PM
Hi, i am looking to volunteer to support or assist young people or young adults. I am currently working for YJS for panels withy young people. i am in the process of doing my degree in social science. I do work and i have vast experience with child with needs as my two children are on the spectrum. Please could you assist me in the direction. I’d love to work along side probabtion or police service or social care.
Charlotte - 9-Jul-19 @ 2:55 PM
I'm a 70 to Christian man. Vietnam Vet, retired 3m employee. I feel call to help with kids with dissabilities, in the Little Rock Ar area.Input where to start would be helpful.
Dave - 15-Mar-19 @ 4:18 PM
I live in yuma arizona. I am 23 and am extremely intersted in working with special needs children. I also know american sign language. Please let me know how and where I can start? Please and thank you very much. Blessings!!! Respectfully, Cassandra
Cassy - 26-Feb-19 @ 2:08 AM
I am a 23 year old girl, I currently work with a family doing babysitting and household help but would love to go into working with children with special needs. It's always something I have wanted to do as I have children with special needs in my family and think it would be an amazing career. Could you send me some info about volunteering and how to get into this type of work? I have been looking on the internet but not sure what qualifications I need exactly
Livvie - 3-Feb-19 @ 3:21 AM
Hi I’m interested in working with special needs, could you please send me some information on the volunteering role and what areas there is placements thanks
Sharon - 25-Jan-19 @ 1:13 PM
Hello, I’m in year 12 looking to some work experience, I’m wondering if this is an option and if you could get back to me about it. Thank you
Liv - 12-Jan-19 @ 8:04 AM
Hi, I am in Year 12 (16 years old) and from Huddersfield. I am wanting to volunteer to work with special needs children. How do I go about achieving this?
Sana - 4-Jan-19 @ 12:19 AM
Hello, I am a 15 year old student and I have an opportunity to get some work experience the first two weeks of July. I really want to work with disabled children as I think I would enjoy the experience but everywhere I look you I am too young. Do you have any ideas as to where I can look to try and find a placement? Thank you
Ri - 19-Nov-18 @ 6:12 PM
Lea - Your Question:
I'm a women who has a life long dream to work as a teaching assistant with children with special needs but haven't had the chance to get the experience to do do do I love to volunteer but I can only do on my days off as I have a part time job n retail till I get the experience I need to get this type of job

Our Response:
Talk to your local schools, they may be glad of help even if it's only one day a week.
VoluntaryWorker - 22-May-18 @ 2:32 PM
I'm a women who has a life long dream to work as a teaching assistant with children with special needs but haven't had the chance to get the experience to do do do I love to volunteer but I can only do on my days off as I have a part time job n retail till I get the experience I need to get this type of job
Lea - 16-May-18 @ 11:36 AM
Kelly- Your Question:
Hi I would like to find out further information on how I would go about working with children with special needs and children with down syndrome? Could you advise me what qualifications are needed please and hopefully point me in the right direction? Kind regards Kelly

Our Response:
You could consider becoming a special educational needs teaching assistant. Sometimes apprenticeships are available but in general you'll need GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent in English and maths. There other qualifications that my be useful such as NVQs
VoluntaryWorker - 23-Mar-18 @ 12:53 PM
Hi I would like to find out further information on how I would go about working with children with special needs and children with down syndrome? Could you advise me what qualifications are needed please and hopefully point me in the right direction? Kind regards Kelly
Kelly - 20-Mar-18 @ 6:19 PM
Hi I’m 16 and am interested in volunteering with special needs children as the career I want to proceed with is linked to this. Thanks
Zed - 16-Mar-18 @ 9:33 PM
My name is Manpreet Kaur and I live in West Bromwich and currently I'm in Year 12 and I am 17 years old. I would like to volunteer because I want to pursue a career in Criminology and by volunteering I will gain a better understanding of other people roles and so by observing them I will be able to enhance my abilities and learn new skills which can be applied to change people's lives. Moreover, I am volunteering at British Heart Foundation which helped me to develop new skills such as being friendly, communicating and confidence as I have started to deal with customers and I believe this skills will be useful. In addition, by volunteering I will also develop set of capabilities that will be beneficial to me in future. Please reply as soon as possible. Thank You!
Manpreet - 22-Feb-18 @ 6:00 PM
I'm in year 8 and I have a friend who is disabled. Is there any clubs for young people to understand what disabled children feel and what GCSE would i take
Lee - 22-Nov-17 @ 8:08 PM
Hello! My name is Yamilette Gradiz and I am a current student at San Francisco State University. I am currently enrolled in a special needs class and I am very much interested in working with individuals who have special needs, more specifically, children. Are there currently any open positions for volunteering, etc. I am studying to be an occupational therapist, but I would love to gain more knowledge by doing hands on work and working with special needs individuals.
Yami - 7-Sep-17 @ 6:36 AM
Hello there, i currently work with young children in Croydon having completed my Level 2 in Young people and children's workforce and now progressing onto my level 3i am hoping to volunteer with young people with special needs to gain better knowledge and experience in that sector. Is it possible to be contacted if there are any opportunities in my area which are flexible to my full time job role. Thank you
Syd - 17-Jul-17 @ 8:39 PM
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