Pros: making a difference in children's lives
Cons: stressful position with mediocre support
Working with autistic children is challenging. Not only with regards to patience, but with endurance. Having to do the same exact routine day after day can be a challenge in itself, aside from the daily hurdles of teaching children with short attention spans.
Most days were quite mundane, and rather trying. Other days I dealt with SCIP-R (Strategies for Crisis Intervention and Prevention – Revised) protocol and in maintaining physical safety when a child had an episode. Some became physically violent to others, whereas others tried hurting themselves. In every scenario, safety of the rest of the class became paramount.
The most difficult aspect of this teaching assistant position was feeling like no matter what our efforts, they would still be minimal. For example, if the severity of autism is great enough, learning new skills is virtually impossible, even for the most patient teacher. Some of these children just could not adapt to routine events, and each step of the day would be a new challenge all over again.