I have learned oh so much since taking this new job! I am a paraprofessional at a local high school and work in the rooms with students who have profound cognitive and physical disabilities.
In the morning I have a student who is only a few years younger than I! It is her senior year, but you can continue in the special education program until age 21. While working with her the past month I have learned to push a wheelchair, maneuvering it in and out of doors (both those that stay open and those that don't), learned how to read facial expressions, what areas of physical therapy I can help out with, how to put on a swimsuit without taking off all of the clothing, how to record a switch and how to create "swichable" power-points and learning activities.
In the afternoon I am with a student who is able to walk, but suffers from massive mood swings, among other things. Every day we go out in the community, as one of her goals is assimilation. I have learned to hold my to5nge when others don't understand, to calm her agitations before they become tantrums, to read her facial and body features (she is also nonverbal), and to direct her while giving her the opportunity to make decisions on her own. We also use the switch for her to communicate with others, but I don't often have to use it when it is just her and I (because I am picking up on her various ways of communicating with me).
I wasn't sure I would enjoy this job, but I do. Both of my girls are delightful and challenging. No two days are the same. Even though we are working on the same goals each day, I try to mix it up with different activities and trying to make it fun for them. I really enjoy working with the girls and am looking forward to my continual journey of growth and learning :)