This is particularly true of young men, who find themselves in a culture that does not value care giving as a sufficiently masculine trait.
Their decision to defy custom is more difficult than for young women, while their feeling of satisfaction at the end of the summer is just as great.
The directors can describe how students stroll by table after table looking at the attractive pictures of happy children playing at camp.
However, when they come to a table for a camp that serves special populations they often pass by a little too quickly, occasionally adding, with some embarrassment, that they lack the patience, experience, or ability to cope with such work. Students who do choose to work at a special needs camp, in spite of their initial concerns, will usually discover at the end of the season that their first cautious reaction was well worth overcoming.
It is often said by people who mean well that working with children with special needs “requires the patience of a saint.” Not true.
What it does require is human compassion — something more of us have than we seem ready to acknowledge.Working with children with special needs will teach you very important lessons in life.You will come to the realization that you don’t have to be a saint to succeed in meeting the needs of others.After all, if one is only human, let the saints among us help the physically disabled, lead the blind, comfort the emotionally disturbed, and tend the sick. If it is evidence that is required to demonstrate the attitude many young people have about working with children with special needs, you need go no further than a special needs camp director who has attended a summer camp job fair.It matters little whether the fairs are organized by career placement offices at colleges in the United States or by international counselor exchange agencies abroad.Start with the idea that the desire to help people with disabilities is a very human characteristic.There are simply no other creatures that we know of who have developed similar behaviors. Those who incorporate it into their lives allow themselves to become more human or humane, while they help others, less fortunate than themselves.Quite remarkably, the potential communication problem disappears in short order.As it turns out, American and international staffs develop alternatives to verbal communication when necessary.After all, understanding human emotions needs no words and has no grammar. One of the many rewards of working with children with special needs is resume building.If you are exploring a career in special education, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or similar professions, a hands-on experience can teach you what you cannot easily learn from a classroom or textbook.