Securing Resources for a Child With Special Needs
More than three million U.S. children—that’s 4.3% of the under-18 population—have a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The American Community Survey (ACS) considers someone to have a disability if they have challenges seeing, hearing, or for ages 5 and over, concentrating or remembering, walking or climbing stairs, or dressing or bathing, among other things. The most common issue for children is cognitive difficulty.1
Children with special needs often require special services and support, including therapy, social skills training, medical treatments, psychiatry, and sometimes specific schools for special needs, according to Karen Zilberstein, LCSW. For parents, finding the right services for their children can seem like a scavenger hunt—especially since separate agencies may oversee each specific sector, and arranging services requires all kinds of paperwork and meetings. To make things even more challenging, not all communities have the support services needed, and parents often must look outside their neighborhoods for the right services. Despite all this, parents can locate the resources they require by doing the following:
- Know what your child needs and ask for it. See what is available at clinics, hospitals, and nonprofits and look into programs provided through your state’s human services department.
- Research alternatives. Ask friends, family, healthcare professionals, community members, and others for resources such as local and national organizations that can help you.
- See what works best for your family. Not all support systems may fit your child’s needs. Don’t be afraid to recalibrate the resources you put in place.
- Look for social support. Make sure to nurture relationships. Support groups can help overwhelmed parents, and social groups can connect your child with others. See if scholarships or free programs are available.
- Be persistent. Sometimes the line for services is long and you might be put on a wait list. Don’t let that deter you. Keep following up. While waiting, maintain conversations with healthcare professionals, parents, and others to seek out other situations in case your first option doesn’t work out. 2
Earn an MSW online to help others
If you work with children with special needs, or you’ve always felt a calling to create a more inclusive community, earning a master’s degree in social work might help your professional trajectory. Walden University’s Master of Social Work (MSW) online program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and its rigorous curriculum includes an optional licensure preparation experience and practice exam.
Walden University allows you to customize your online MSW program by choosing from one of five focus areas: Addictions, Child and Family, Healthcare, Military, and Trauma. An embedded certificate can also be earned, should you choose to take an additional elective course. Regardless of the path you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to acquire practical experience through interactive online scenarios and skills labs.
Walden’s online MSW program provides added flexibility through its three completion tracks:
- Traditional: For those seeking a balance between school, work, and other commitments.
- Fast Track: For individuals focused on graduating quickly.
- Advanced Standing Option: For those who hold a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a CSWE-accredited School of Social Work program and graduated with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Advanced Standing students can skip foundational courses and get right into higher-level courses.
Employment in social worker jobs should increase 9% by 2031, with the addition of about 64,000 positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.3 Earning an MSW online and becoming licensed can qualify you to work in a variety of positions, including medical social worker, school social worker, clinical social worker, and more. Such positions can be found in a variety of settings, such as healthcare, mental health and substance abuse agencies, hospitals, insurance companies, and even private practices.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
Walden University's Master of Social Work (MSW) program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation is responsible for developing standards that define competent preparation for professional social workers and ensuring that social work programs meet these standards.
Note on Licensure
Walden University’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program meets the academic requirements to obtain the required credential to practice as licensed social workers in all states.
State licensing boards are responsible for regulating the practice of social work, and each state has its own academic, licensure, and certification requirements for practice as a social worker. Walden recommends that students consult the appropriate social work licensing board in the state in which they plan to practice to determine the specific academic requirements for licensure or other credentials. Walden enrollment specialists can provide information relating to the state-by-state requirements for licensure. However, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all licensing requirements for the state in which he or she intends to practice. Walden makes no representations or guarantees that completion of its coursework or programs will permit an individual to achieve state licensure, authorization, endorsement, or other state licensure or credential.
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