by Hannah Charlson,

Beth Am Israel

I am Hannah Charlson, and this is my first year working with children with special needs, but it definitely will not be my last.

What I enjoy most about working with children with special needs is that I get to help them use their talents and intelligence and eagerness for learning to the best of their ability. Getting to see the light in their eyes when they read a sentence correctly, win a game, or get a high five from their classmates is priceless. I love that I have built a relationship with them, so that they want to tell me about their day, or what they are excited for. Through them talking to me, I have gotten to see their true personalities, which I never would have seen otherwise.

It takes a little while to see it, but they have such distinctive, funny, genuine personalities, and that is one of my favorite things about working with children with special needs. Without working with them, it would be harder to see their true selves. Getting to adapt how I help them as I learn what they like to do and how they like to do it is part of the fun, and I hope to continue being able to help children with special needs because it is such a rewarding and beneficial thing to do, for both me and for the kids. This experience will help me throughout my life as I continue helping people, and I am grateful to TAP for allowing me to take my first step.