Are there places to work as an art teacher for mentally challenged children and adults?
I am a sophomore in high school and ever since I was a little girl I have loved art and making art pieces in school and out of school. I would love to help mentally challenged with their art work. #arts #art-education
Great question. There are lots of avenues you can take to pursue an intersection of art, education, therapy, and working with the differently-abled. I know in some places with a Bachelor's degree you can work with preschool-12th grade students, as an art teacher. Many school systems in the US also have counselors or therapists that work with smaller groups of students, but this usually takes more training as well as educations as Moniquee already mentioned.
Some school systems that are underfunded only have "visiting" teachers for classes like Fine Art, Music, and Drama, and you can often find a pathway to become a visiting teacher through college or university community outreach programs, where the college or university helps to pay for you to teach students.
In terms of working with our differently-abled friends, you should consider volunteering at adult homes and medical facilities that help and engage people with disabilities. This can give you a better understanding of whether or not that is the right avenue for you. Young adults, as well as older adults with disabilities, are often overlooked by social programs and group volunteer efforts. When I was in high school one of my favorite things to do was volunteer with our local Special Olympics chapter. You get to have fun interacting with the athletes, run water and towels for them as well as help with administrative paperwork to understand how those events work logistically. These are also great networking opportunities for you to find adults and other students that have the same interests as you, and can help you along your desired career path.
The arts bring people together and help us understand one another in ways we cannot always manage verbally or behaviorally. It would be awesome if you could become an arts educator and help more people express themselves through art and artmaking! Good Luck!
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I believe that there are areas where you can combine your two interests. I found this article on art therapy that you might want to consider: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/art-therapy. You would probably benefit from taking psychology classes or even majoring in psychology. You would then be able to continue to use your artistic passion and skill. It can be an incredible gift to combine your passion to help people and art while earning a salary.