3 Reasons To Consider A Career Helping Adults With Intellectual Disabilities

Whether you’re interested in working in mental or behavioral services, you can help individuals with intellectual disabilities. Careers working with intellectually disabled individuals are wide ranging, and can be very rewarding.

An intellectual disability, as defined by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), is “characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning (reasoning, learning, problem solving) and in adaptive behavior, which covers a range of everyday social and practical skills.” It notes these disabilities manifest before adulthood.

Here are three reasons to consider a career in helping adults with intellectual disabilities:

#1: A Rewarding Career

By working with individuals who are intellectually disabled, you are helping someone with special needs to conquer the daily challenges life can throw their way. You can celebrate their successes and help them through the difficult times.

Additionally, as they grow older, you can help these individuals find their place in the world. The Developmental Disabilities Resource Board (DDRB) noted in its 2016 survey that individuals with intellectual disabilities reported a desire to be self-determined and work within the community. In recent years, the opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities have expanded, and you can be a key factor in helping your patients develop bonds and cultivate work opportunities. You can help them develop a life vision and long-term goals in order to fill the need we all feel to be a part of our community and have independence.

#2: Helping Others

If you’ve ever felt the need to help someone along their path to success, then consider a career helping intellectually disabled individuals. You can help others and find that warm fuzzy feeling inside. By working in mental services or behavioral health services, you can help others achieve their goals, improve their self-confidence, and address any internal struggles that might be holding them back. Whether it’s a self-imposed mental block or a personal struggle, you can help your patients succeed, and even exceed their own (and sometimes their family’s) expectations. The generosity with your time, your expectations, and your wholehearted interest can bring about the best success and fill your need for service.

#3: You Love Coming To Work

The million little moments working with individuals who have intellectual disabilities will make you love coming to work. Your patients won’t always love coming to see you, but many days will outweigh those negative moments. From self-discovery to self-confidence, you’ll see patients bloom as they work with you toward a better tomorrow.

As a mental health or behavioral therapist, you’ll build an indescribable bond with your patients. You will celebrate their achievements, mourn their loses, and everything in-between. While working with your patients, you’ll come to understand how you can help them achieve their hopes and dreams, while trying to protect them from judgment when the outside world doesn’t understand. You’ll not only be their therapist, but you’ll also be their cheerleader.

If you are interested in helping adults with intellectual disabilities, visit our website for more information and to learn of the many career opportunities at Pathways.

Pathways of Pennsylvania has been serving communities in Pennsylvania since 1981. Every individual has a right to lead a meaningful and positive life, and we are changing lives, one day at a time. Pathways of Pennsylvania is comprised of four companies: Children’s Behavioral Health, Inc., Pathways Community Services, LLC, Raystown Developmental Services, Inc., and The ReDCo Group, Inc.