Career Story: Inclusion Aide At An Elementary School

Inclusion Aide At An Elementary School

Job Title: Inclusion Aide

Education: BA in Social Work, Seton Hill College, Greensburg, PA

Previous Experience: I worked as a counselor at a residential short term theraputic setting for emotionally disturbed children for a couple of summers. After college, I started as a program aide at a school for the visually impaired for a summer, then became assistant Houseparent, then Houseparent for the last five years of this ten year job. After that, I have spent the last nine years as inclusion aide for the public schools.

Job Tasks: I work at an elementary public school as an aide for the inclusion students, (students that are mainstreamed but that are part of special education). I work mostly in one third grade classroom with two students that have Individual Education Plans. But I help out with the whole class as well.

During the day I help the students with social, and academic goals. I facilitate social interaction, modify and adapt the curriculum when necessary, and give overall support so that the child can be successful in the classroom. If behavior is an issue, I may work with teachers, social worker, or school psychologist to discuss, create, and implement behavior programs for the student.

Some examples of things I do may be as follows:

  • If my student has diabetes, I am responsible to monitor how he is feeling, and to get him to the nurse to check blood sugar and to get his insulin.
  • I may write for a student that has great ideas, but unable to write them down. They are able to complete the assignment this way, and thus feel successful. Later, they may use a computer instead, as an adaptation, so they can get their thoughts out.
  • If a child has a hard time verbalizing that they need a break, instead of acting out, they work on using strategies offered, like putting a 'break' card on their desk and leaving the classroom peacefully.

It is challenging and fun to find creative, "out of the box" ways tohelp children become successful in the public school environment.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is seeing a child that is struggling with academics and social skills, dislikes school, and has low self esteem, become confident, make friends and do well due to support given.

The worst part of the job is when the parents may not see the issues you see and do not support you, which happens less then more. Also, the budget cuts affect the support a school psychologist can give or if there is even a social worker at all. Also, the pay is minimum.

Job Tips:
1. You need to be able to find stregnths in every child.

2. You need to like children

3. It is helpful if you have worked with special needs children

4. You need to be a team player

5. You probably will want to use this experience as a stepping stone while taking courses to becoming a teacher, school pyschologists, etc. because the pay is minimum.

6. It is a great way to see speech therapists, teachers, occupational therapists, learning center staff, ELL staff, and school psychologists in action if you are undecided about a career.

Additional Thoughts: The hours are great if you have kids. They are school hours, and vacations are the same as your children's.

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