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Good samaritans

education Updated: Apr 25, 2012 12:50 IST
Hindustan Times
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The lowdown
Entering the world of a special child is not easy, but you will be surprised at how tentative steps of progress can keep you infinitely motivated. A special educator is trained in providing care and education to children with intellectual impairment, cerebral palsy, physical disabilities, autism and behavioural and learning disorders. They help children optimise strengths and minimise limitations. You can be hired as an educator in a school and assist in identifying children with learning disabilities. Special educators have been joined by occupational therapists, physical therapists and specialists in other disciplines. They all work together towards enhancing the general learning potential of and alleviating developmental problems of children and youth with autism

An average day in the life of a teacher
8am: Reach school
9am: Teach the Individual Education Plan (IEP) to children with autism spectrum disorders in group or one-to-one settings
Noon: Lunch
1pm: Participate in the extra curricular activities in school
2pm: Plan activities for next day and go home. Some teachers can stay back for remedial classes

The payoff
The initial salary may range from Rs 6,000 to Rs 15,000 a month. Also, they can earn extra income through part-time home-tuition on an hourly basis

* You should love children and be very skilled at handling them
* Should be well trained in identifying all kinds of behavioural disorders and providing remedial therapy
* Good communication skills as you have to deal with parents too

Getting there
In Class 12, humanities - with psychology as one of the subjects at the senior school level helps. Psychology or clinical psychology at the graduation level works too. You can do a BEd in special education and follow it up with a master’s in social work

Institutes and URLs
* Lady Irwin College, (Rajkumari Amrit Kaur Child Study Centre), New Delhi
* National Institute for the Mentally Handicapped, Secunderabad
* Manovikas-Ignou Community College, New Delhi
* The Rehabilitation Council of India

Pros and cons
* Great satisfaction can be derived from working with special children
* At times it can be heartbreaking to see children not making progress

Teaching special children is an art that requires you to be creative in your expression Sangeeta, principal, Manovikas Community College in New Delhi