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This is a goal that is no different than one would have in a non-specialized camp.Yet the impact on staff of achieving a valuable goal with children with special needs can leave them with something unique at the end of the summer.
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.
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.
Elevating the status of someone who works with a child with special needs to that of a saint is a not-so-subtle way of saying that the work is so challenging that it requires extra human effort.
At the same time, it establishes the justification for not even considering such work.
Words are not always the only or even the best way to convey feelings of joy, sadness, fear, contentment, anger, and love. A child’s tear is a tear in all languages, and the comforting that stems its flow is universal.
In time, the “language thing” disappears as an obstacle to understanding. In spite of the difficulties, most who make the decision to work at a sleep-away camp negotiate the minefield of risks and adjust to their surroundings with great courage and grace.
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.