Children with autism have a hard time forming relationships and connections with others. There’s a wide range of conditions on the autism spectrum. Some children might be almost completely withdrawn from the world around them while others are able to communicate clearly with only slight issues with learning. It’s a neurological disorder with no cure.
What is an Autistic Support Teacher?
A government survey reported by Autism Speaks says that 1 in 68 children in school are on the spectrum with a diagnosis of autism. An autistic support teacher will have much the same education as other teachers with a degree in education, but they’ll continue to get a master’s degree with a focus on special education.
What Degree is Required for an Autistic Support Teacher?
Teachers who want to focus on autism in the classroom will need a bachelors degree with certifications or a masters in special education. There’s special coursework required for students who are going to become autistic support teachers. Along with the 16 units of coursework required after receiving a degree, each year the teacher has to continue with special education requirements to keep up with certifications.
Where Does the Autistic Support Teacher Work?
Autistic students can be in special childcare environments if they are very young, but most are in school from elementary to high school. The autistic support teacher can work in public school with a blended classroom of students or in a private school that works with only special education students.
Responsibilities in the Classroom
Students who have special learning requirements need extra attention and one-on-one settings with a teacher. The autistic support teacher will work with the student on core education requirements for the general curriculum. Autistic students have an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP, which outlines exactly what kind of help the child needs to succeed in the classroom. Usually, the autistic support teacher is part of the team that develops the plan too.
Challenging and Rewarding Work
In general, teachers are happy and fulfilled when they are instructing eager students, and special education teachers are happy to be helping autistic children. While it’s challenging, it’s ultimately very rewarding for the teacher. A student who is planning to become an autistic support teacher looks forward to teaching creatively, and he or she is organized and patient.
Salary and Outlook for Support Teachers
The 2016 median pay for a special education teacher is approximately $57,910 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’ll grow an average of 6 percent in the years between 2014 and 2024 with an increase of over 28,000 jobs. The beginning pay of a support teacher will be lower than an experienced teacher, but the area of the country will see different salaries for teachers too.
Related Resource: How Do You Become a School Guidance Counselor?
Children are diagnosed with autism every single day, and the demand for autistic support teachers will continue to grow. It’s a rewarding, challenging career for those who want to make a difference in the life of a child with autism. Teachers who work with autistic students are incredibly dedicated to their careers. They are thrilled to get up in the morning and enter their classroom to teach these wonderful, special students.