I have found my niche. For the past three weeks I have been volunteering (and when I say volunteering I mean paying to take a class and work for free as a result) at a program here in Bowling Green geared towards working with individuals with autism (ASD). The program is called the Kelly Autism Program, or KAP as the participants fondly call it. This is a place that people all over the nation and world are looking at as a model for helping those with ASD. At KAP students Kindergarten through college are encouraged to be themselves and learn coping skills to manage and deal with their disability. Although I have had to leave my sweet baby every morning for the last three weeks (and three more in July) I feel the experience has been very worthwhile.
For those of you who don’t know, I am currently finishing up a second masters in Exceptional Education (Moderate and severe disabilities) with an Autism certificate. I have loved this masters and learned so much from it. The past two years I have had the priveledge of working with an individual with classic autism. I have learned so much from this student and even found a passion in working with individuals with autism (thus my second masters). I have found my niche! I have always known that I wanted to teach, and have loved every minute (well almost every minute) since I started almost five years ago. However, it wasn’t until this summer, actually this past week, that I feel like I have truly found my niche. I love, love working with students with special needs, specifically autism and feel like I have the skill base to do so effectively. They have so much to teach me and have such a passion for life. They live life to the fullest and don’t care what others think! It is amazing.
Unlike most of my friends, I have always been confident in my job. Several years ago we were in a small group of “young married” couples, all of who seemed to reach a transition point in their lives at the same moment. People were shuffling jobs, moving to new places or just beginning their careers. Throughout this entire time I seemed to be the only one who enjoyed their job and knew they were “in the right place”. I still love my job and have confidence in it, but now I can see a different future with my job. Maybe not tomorrow or ten years from now, but one day I will work daily with individuals with special needs and I will love it as much as I love teaching kindergarten. I have found my niche and couldn’t be happier!