Do you have a passion for helping others? Has your life been touched by someone with special needs or a condition like Autism Spectrum Disorder and you want to give something back?

If so, you might be wondering what are some of the top career options to work with autistic children?

You might be surprised to hear that careers in this rewarding field are constantly expanding to open up new opportunities for passionate individuals who want to work with autistic children. The following is a list of some of the best ASD therapy careers to help you find the one that is the best fit for you.

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers are highly trained educators who are equipped with the special skill and techniques to help children with ASD and other learning disabilities. This includes a wide range of skills including developmental, learning, physical, and emotional challenges of children with autism.

Some special education teachers might work directly with a single child. Whereas others work with a group of children. There are also special education teachers who work in specific academic classes where they help children with autism spectrum disorder to develop skills like literacy and communication.

Becoming a special education teacher for children with autism requires a bachelor’s degree in education, psychology, or some other related field. Then you will also need to earn a teaching license applicable to your state of residence and practice.

Applied Behavior Analyst Therapist

ABA therapy is seen as the gold standard for treating autism spectrum disorder, and many of the related co-morbidities. ABA therapists are professionals who are trained to be specialists in applied behavioral psychology. They primarily work with children who have autism spectrum. They are generally a board-certified behavior analyst known in the industry as a BCBA.

ABA therapists have the training to find and cultivate connections between the child’s environment and their behavior. This starts with developing a foundational understanding of what is triggering the child. Then they work to help the child manage those triggers for the most positive outcomes possible. In this sense, an applied behavior analyst works toward helping the child develop the necessary behavioral changes to live the most independent life possible.

If you want to become an ABA therapist who specializes in working with children who have autism spectrum disorder, you will first need a master’s degree and a license to practice clinical psychology. You will also need to take board exams which are, issued by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist

Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialists do a lot of the same things that an applied behavior analyst does. Though an ASD specialist works directly with a single client and the rest of their therapy team on coordinating everyday tasks. This includes things like achieving academic goals, and social behaviors, as well as developing self-care skills.

Most autism spectrum disorder specialists work in an educational setting. Many serve as classroom aids or school therapists, which an applied behavior analyst will generally not do.

While the requirements vary from state to state the majority of schools will require a bachelor’s degree in special education. Though most will want you to have a master’s degree or be actively working toward a master’s degree. Autism spectrum disorder specialists also need to pass exams issued by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Occupational Therapist Specializing In ASD

Occupational therapists can work with a wide variety of people to help them become more independent. This includes occupational therapists who specialize in helping individuals on the autism spectrum to live their best possible lives.

Occupational therapists typically start out by observing and evaluating how an individual interacts with their everyday environment. Then helps them cultivate the skills and abilities they need through growth and interaction. These professionals are specifically trained to offer assistance in social, emotional, and physiological aspects of behavioral and developmental disorders.

To become an occupational therapist, you will need a master’s or doctoral degree in occupational therapy. Then you will also need to have a license to practice in their state of residence.

Social Worker

Social workers are given a wide range of responsibilities. For some, this includes interacting with individuals and families in very difficult situations. This includes working with children who need help dealing with autism spectrum disorder.

Social workers work closely with the individual and their families to improve their mental and social skills. This includes offering support and ideas to the family as well as the patient’s therapy team. A lot of social workers also help coordinate services across therapies and other interventions that will benefit the whole family.

Most social work positions require at least a master’s degree, though for some ASD specialties a bachelor’s degree will suffice for a lot of the positions open in residential care, educational institutions, and supported living environments.

Speech-Language Pathologist

A lot of children with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty with communicating and overall language development. Many children with ASD will work with a speech-language pathologist to develop alternative ways of communicating that might not always involve traditional speech.

These techniques are known as augmentative and alternative communication and might involve sign language, the use of pictures, and special devices. Most Speech-Language pathologists work closely with their clients to help guide them through the process of improving their speech.

To become a speech-language pathologist you need to have a master’s degree in speech-language pathology is a requirement for this line of work. A lot of states will also require licensure.

Developmental Psychologist

Developmental psychologists operate in a wide range of professional settings including clinics, hospitals, and even schools. They help to evaluate children with autism spectrum disorder and work with therapy teams to create various treatments, therapies, and interventions, as well as develop coping mechanisms.

Developmental psychologists also work with a wide range of individuals who support children with autism spectrum disorder. This includes parents, teachers, physicians, speech-language pathologists, and just about anyone else that is a part of the child’s therapy team.

It’s important to note that developmental psychologists are not “Autism Psychologists.” However, they are trained psychologists who work closely with children and their families in the treatment process for things like depression, social anxiety, repetitive behavior, self-stimulating behavior, and problems reading social cues. They work to help the child manage life and school relationships.

To become a developmental psychologist, you need to have a doctoral degree with accredited certification in your chosen field of practice.