Working with autistic children is a truly rewarding career. Their world is much smaller than ours, yet they’re experiencing tremendous changes, learning more and more about themselves and everything around them each and every day.
As caretakers and educators, we get to walk beside them and offer encouragement as they grow and embrace their unique identities.
In this blog, we’ll answer the following questions:
- What skills do you need to work with autistic children?
- What education do you need to work with autistic children?
- Do you need training to work with an autistic child?
- Which careers involve working with autistic children?
What Skills Do You Need to Work with Autistic Children?
It’s important to exercise certain qualities of character when working with neurotypical and neurodivergent children.
Attention to Detail
Children with autism can struggle to pay attention and function best with order and routine. Being detail-oriented allows you to organize tasks and plan for potential or re-occurring challenges while keeping a schedule and maintaining consistency.
Working with children is no simple and easy task. It takes dedication and the right mindset. A positive attitude is vital to promoting a vibrant learning environment for yourself and the children you work with, reassuring every child that they are in a safe place with adults who care and will protect them.
While teaching and working with children, it’s important to incorporate fun. For autistic kids, you need to think outside the box to find activities they enjoy and the most effective learning methods.
Children are constantly taking in new information. They’re learning about the world around them and taking risks. As they grow up, children make mistakes and need redirection and encouragement.
As an adult, it’s important to exercise patience and understanding. Children need a balance between guidance and space to make decisions and develop independence.
Empathy and Knowledge
While empathy and knowledge may seem like two different things, these qualities pour into one another. It’s important to educate yourself and grow in understanding of why a child you’re working with chooses to say or do certain things.
Taking the time to understand the mind of an autistic child and the effects of autism on the mind and body allows you to react to situations with the appropriate response, creating trust between the child and yourself.
What Education Do You Need to Work with Autistic Children?
To work with autistic children, you need the proper educational background and experience. Depending on the job, a bachelor’s degree in special education or another relevant field may be all that’s required. Other times, a career working with autistic children may require a master’s degree or higher.
Do You Need Training to Work with an Autistic Child?
Due to the wide range of jobs working with autistic children, training expectations vary. Some careers, such as special education teachers, may only need certification in teaching or special education.
There are available training programs that can be taken voluntarily or as requested by a job. These include workshops, online courses, and additional certification programs.
Careers Working with Autistic Children
The best way to understand the daily duties, training, and educational requirements to work with autistic children is by researching specific jobs in the field.
Careers we foster at Ally Pediatric Therapy include:
- Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
- Speech-language pathologist
Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
A BCBA oversees and designs treatment plans for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. They use evidence-based methods while managing and building hard-working, knowledgeable staff. A behavior analyst works in various environments, including schools, homes, clinics, and hospitals.
- Education: Bachelor’s degree, master’s degree in related field (psychology, education, sociology, etc.), coursework in applied behavior analysis
- Experience: Supervised fieldwork
- Certification: BCBA certification, state licensure, compliance with BACB’s Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts
Speech-language pathologists work directly with those who have communication and feeding and swallowing disorders. They evaluate and diagnose the condition to provide the best-fit treatment. The goal of these treatments is to improve communication and feeding/swallowing skills.
- Education: Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree in speech-language pathology from a program accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.
- Experience: Supervised fieldwork, supervised clinical hours
- Certification: ASHA certification which includes adhering to ASHA’s code of ethics, state licensure
BCBA and SLP Careers at Ally Pediatric Therapy
We’re always looking for new additions to our passionate and committed team of professionals. If you’re looking for a thriving work environment where you get to make a difference in the lives of children and their families, we may be a good fit.
Please reach out today to learn more about our team and how to get involved. We look forward to hearing from you!