There are specific qualities that are inherent to all teachers, but this is particularly true of those individuals who work with children with special needs. The classroom environment can be a challenging and crucial experience for your child, which means that finding the right person – the right aide – to work alongside your child is extremely important.
Depending on the needs of your child, he or she will either be assigned a one-to-one aide, or will work with an aide in a small group of classmates. In either case, the aide will work very closely with him or her, not only providing academic support, but social and emotional support as well.
Are you looking for an aide for your child? Here are some traits that indicate a good fit for your child:
Accepting: Your child’s aide should, above everything else, be accepting of your child. She should not judge, shun or otherwise make ill assumptions about your child’s capabilities. She should be accepting of your child on all levels and treat him as she would treat any other individual – of course, if she offers a little more love and support, that is always a good thing.
Understanding: This trait goes along with accepting, but it should be mentioned, just the same. A special education aide should understand that your child does have special needs and she should understand the limitations that those needs may present. However, she should not exclude him from activities or make excuses because of his needs. Instead, she should be aware of his capabilities and push your child to reach achieve what he is capable of, without going too far, of course.
Organized: No matter what the educational setting is, organization is essential; especially when working with special needs students. Your child’s aide will need to be aware of the specialized individualized education plans (IEPs) that your child may have, as well as any other particular needs/requirements he or she may have. Being organized will allow the aide to easily provide for the specific needs of your child.
Level Headed: Level headedness is vital for effectively working with the special education population. Children who have academic or emotional disabilities can easily lose their patience and overreact to certain situations. An aide needs to be able to remain calm and provide appropriate and consistent support at all times.
Highly Dedicated: All children need to have a firm foundation in order to feel comfortable, especially special needs children. Your child’s aide should be highly dedicated to him and willing to not only provide above adequate services, but should also be willing to get to know your child on a personal level. An aide who is consistently absent and who is detached will not make a connection with your child and will not provide the firm foundation that he needs.
Your child’s aide is an integral part of his success, not only academically, but mentally, emotionally and socially. An aide with the above-mentioned qualities will help to guide your child in the right direction.