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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

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Moniquee’s Answer

Along with special education there are also places that are not a full time position. A friend of mine teaches art and music to special needs children through a program called Special Kids. She has a degree in music, but I think a good special ed degree with a concentration in art would be a start. Although different places may have different requirements
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Sendil’s Answer

A career in special education is most suited for those who have an incredible passion for teaching and love as well as concern for children with special needs. Special education means a personalised schooling given to children with different disabilities both physical and mental. Children with such disabilities need special training and instruction by well-trained professionals in the field of special education. Special education offers different career opportunities including teaching, instruction and curriculum development for children with special needs and adults. The major responsibility of special educator is to teach and interact with children who have a variety of disabilities. The special educators are trained in specific disabilities that include learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, visual impairments etc.
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Veen’s Answer

Hi Makenna,
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!

Veen recommends the following next steps:

Research volunteer opportunities at facilities or events that can help you engage with people with disabilities.
Use your Junior or Senior volunteer hours to do this— you may be able to do this during school hours if there is a schedule conflict.
Speak to your school counselor or perhaps one of the behavioral therapists at your school and ask how you can get involved.
For the rest of your time in high school think about how you can academically prioritize subjects like Psychology, Biology, Fine Art, and see if you can find a good marriage of these subjects.
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Makenna,

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.

Gloria
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