We have a new Featured Professional to introduce you to! Sarah works with kids with special needs and graciously answered a few questions.
Fun and Function: Who are you and what is your profession?
Sarah: I'm Sarah, and I'm an In-Home Outreach Behavioral Therapist (In-Home Tutor) using ABA.
FF: What company do you work with?
S: I was trained through the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism, but I work for the families.
FF: What is the nature of special needs you work with the most?
S: I work with one boy with severe autism and one girl with a mild form of autism.
FF: What would you say is your biggest challenge in working with children with special needs?
S: Many days are a struggle, especially with the issue of communication. The children I work with, especially the boy, do not communicate well or if at all. There are many times where he will start screaming and jumping, and we have no idea why. It can be very frustrating. However, I always remember if I'm this frustrated, then the children are one hundred times more frustrated because they cannot voice what they're thinking or what they want.
FF: What is your greatest joy in your job?
S: Seeing the children I work with succeed beyond the expectations of their school, family, and especially me. It may take weeks or months to teach them a simple task, but when they finally master it and you can see that they are more independent and proud of what they've accomplished, it's like nothing else in this world.
FF: What has been the greatest help to you in your profession?
S: The greatest help to me is being given the opportunity to tutor two children on complete different ends of the spectrum. It showed me clearly that no two children with ASD are exactly the same. This has also made me really think of different ways to solve the same problem, because something I used with one child may not work for the other. I think that's true of even ‘typical' children, but especially children with special needs.
FF: Give us one tool you would hate to live without?
S: PECS icons. They make it much easier for the boy that I tutor to communicate his wants with us.
FF: If you could give one piece of advice to a parent who's child has just been diagnosed, what would it be?
S: Be patient, creative, loving, and kind. It is going to be a long road ahead, but with those four things the road will be much smoother.
Sarah, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us and all the readers here at Fun and Function.
If you would like to be a featured parent or professional, just let us know!