I recently been offered a job as a 1:1 aide for a special autism school. I've never thought it would happen so soon as I just began actively looking for a job. To assist me in the daunting process of finding a job, I utilized a supported employment agency that has an employment specialist actively search for jobs on my behalf as well as providing me with a job coach once I get hired. To began the story, the school asked me to come in for a interview. Originally the job advertised on the job search engine Indeed was for a special education teacher, but since I don't have a teaching credential, the employment specialist sent an email asking if there were any other job openings that fit my qualifications. It turned out that there was an opening for a 1:1 aide position in a autism classroom. I interviewed for the job and they basically asked questions about my volunteer experience as advertised on my resume as well as giving me scenarios of how I would resolve situations since the job entails thinking on your feet which involves problem solving, emotional regulation and having good judgment. When the guy interviewing me asked these questions, I began to feel nervous since I felt I was totally unprepared for this part. However, I guess I managed to do very well because an hour after the interview was over, the director of the school called me and offered me a job and asked me to get my fingerprints and a TB test so they can hire me. When I received the phone call, I felt incredibly overwhelmed with excitement and nervousness. I was excited because I was thrilled that someone wanted to hire me despite having a disability. Until then, I was starting to feel down about my employability because of my disability especially in this competitive job market.
On the other hand, I feel nervous because like any other transition, I am venturing into unknown territory in being a 1:1 aide especially since there is a huge emotional investment in this line of work. I have been trying to process my own emotions in taking on a caregiving role as an aide. I have been on the other side as I had aide help throughout school as well as currently employing a support person for social recreational purposes. However, the thing that has been eating me is that since I am capable of supporting another student, I feel that people would put me on a pedestal and feel that I can't have support in my own life. I know this is my perfectionistic self speaking, but since I am already an exemplary in the autism community for all I have accomplished, I am holding myself up to high expectations. There is a lot of emotions surrounding me taking on this position as I have to process taking on such a huge role and the duality in simultaneously being a support person as well as being the receiver of support.
It is going to be an adjustment period as I embark on this journey and there will be days that will be tough on me emotionally. Overall, I look at this job as a stepping stone in what I ultimately want to do in life. This is a way of cessing if this is the right field for me. I am glad that someone is willing to give me a chance at employment especially since the hiring rate for people with disabilities is so low in this job climate.