When you step into adolescence and early adulthood, one major life-altering decision is your career path and ultimate dream job.
Once your higher education begins, all your activities are likely to be dedicated to achieving a position in your dream career.
The limitless options make the decision very hard for some, but their minds made up long ago for others.
If you are a true altruist at heart and desire to be of benefit to your society, one category you can look into is social work with disabled individuals.
The category of ‘special needs’ people can range from those suffering from mental illnesses like autism to those with physical disabilities.
When your heart truly lies in helping others, helping the disabled will become more than just a job for you.
You can go for several options even within this narrow category, and some of the greatest choices are given below.
1. Mental health social work
Mental health workers are a necessity of the hour; mental health has long been delegated a lower significance than physical health for many years, but there is a much greater emphasis today.
Mental health social workers are those professionals concerned with improving the overall mental health and wellbeing of our society.
The roles of different mental health workers differ from one setting to another and depend on the type of therapy they offer.
Healthcare workers are typically concerned with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and other illnesses classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.
Mental health counselors, college, family, career counselors, substance abuse counselors, etc., are just some paths you can opt for with a masters mental health counseling online degree.
Such degree programs equip you with the knowledge and skill needed for taking on mental health social work jobs.
2. Disability support work
While mental health social workers support mentally disabled or troubled individuals, disability support workers are concerned with assisting the physically disabled.
The primary role of a disability support worker is to help perform daily life tasks for an elderly or disabled patient. It could include cooking meals, grocery shopping, taking the patient for medical exams, maintaining the home, ensuring personal hygiene, providing emotional support, etc.
Disability support workers must have a high school diploma or GED and may even need specific training for caring for the disabled before landing a job.
As simple as this duty might sound, it is no walk in the park, and small mistakes can put the patient’s health or even life at risk.
3. Learning disability nursing
If you can sympathize with the mentally ill and have the desire to help them out, you should consider becoming a learning disability nurse.
Learning disability or special needs nurses assist those with learning disabilities adapt to their environment and helping their families adjust to the unfortunate circumstances.
Research shows that one in five children today have learning and attention difficulties, and more than 2.5 to 2.8 million children in the United States are getting special education services.
Learning disability nurses are in high demand, and in this career choice, you can work in a variety of settings (home, residential or community centers, education, hospitals, etc.).
Together with a team of other professionals, including social workers, teachers, occupational therapists, and others, you will be required to assist the patient in maintaining their mental and physical health.
Independent living is one of the main goals of learning disability service providers.
4. Speech pathology (speech therapy)
Around 18.5 million people suffer from voice, speech, or language disorders, and about 3 million adults in the United States stutter.
Such speech disorders are very common, especially in children, and speech pathologists help people overcome such speech problems. Speech-language pathologists treat people of all ages for speech sound difficulties and social communication problems.
If it is impossible to overcome verbal speech difficulties, speech therapists help patients learn sign language as an alternative. To become a speech pathologist, you need a master’s degree in speech-language pathology and a license to work as a speech therapist.
5. Rehabilitation specialist
A physical or mental disability can be debilitating and hinder independent living ability. Such patients often have limited future options and limited career choices.
This is where a rehabilitation specialist comes in; such professionals help integrate the disabled into the fabric of society and prepare them for a future career that suits their lifestyle given their condition.
In addition to finding a suitable career, rehabilitation specialists also inform the potential employer about the applicant’s condition and help the patient apply for the job and prepare for the interview.
This profession is in increasing demand, and research shows that between 2018 and 2028, the rehabilitation specialist career is likely to grow by 10%.
Professionals who deal with disabled individuals require a range of skills. If you possess the patience, creativity, training, and compassion needed in such professions, there are numerous options you can go for.
These include mental health social work, learning disability nursing, speech pathology, disability support work, etc.
If your mind is inclined towards such careers, go for it! These professions are truly personally rewarding, and for a true altruist at heart, they are more than just a job.