Being a teacher is a calling, and teaching those with disabilities is a rewarding and life changing career. The website bigfuture says of this career, “The fairy-tale author Hans Christian Anderson had dyslexia, a learning disability that makes reading difficult. Others who have struggled with dyslexia include Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Cruise, and Magic Johnson. If you listed all the people with special learning needs who have made important contributions to society, you’d fill a book.”

(Photo Courtesy of Dave Paske)

(Photo Courtesy of Dave Paske)

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When asking yourself if a career in special education is right for you, the site goes on to ask, “Do you love to help others? Are you tolerant of people who learn differently and sometimes behave differently? If so, you might consider becoming a special education teacher.”

Dave Paske, Special Education Vocational Coordinator and Transition Specialist for the Lyons Township High School Transition Program, offers some insight into this rewarding career.

How does your education relate to your current role?

“In 1989, I was in finance as a licensed broker and investment advisor. In 2003, I returned to school, completing my master’s degree in special education and earned a LBSII Transition Specialist certificate in 2012. In order to make the transition from the business world to the educational world, it was necessary for me to receive further training in specialized areas. This coursework built on the experience I had obtained working with diverse groups in financial counseling and advising while giving me the necessary expertise to move smoothly into working with youths with disabilities.”

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How has your education helped to further your career and contribute to your success?

“My return to school provided the intellectual and emotional understanding that the special education environment needs. Without the additional certification I earned, I would not have been appointed to my current position as vocational coordinator. The combination of the educational training, along with my experience in the business world has made me qualified to work with students in a program that prepares students with special needs to succeed when they leave school.”

What is some advice you can offer others looking to go into the field of education?

“It is important to understand that it does get easier the longer you are in the field. One suggestion I would have is to find a way to experience the job before making a long-term educational commitment.”

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Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a Bachelor’s in Communication and is currently working on her Master’s. Her work can be found on