My Name Is... Shelby Harrigan

Instructional aide at school for children with autism

Posted 1/16/18

About me I’m from Toledo, Ohio. I’m 26, and I’ve been here a little over a year. I moved away from Ohio because I had a midlife crisis and wanted to be somewhere new. I have relatives out here, …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution of $25 or more in Nov. 2017-2018, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access Includes access to all websites


Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

My Name Is... Shelby Harrigan

Instructional aide at school for children with autism

Posted

About me

I’m from Toledo, Ohio. I’m 26, and I’ve been here a little over a year.

I moved away from Ohio because I had a midlife crisis and wanted to be somewhere new. I have relatives out here, so my family came out here all the time anyway.

Colorado is one of those places where if you’re bored, you’re boring. There’s always something to do.

I never hated Toledo. I was just in a weird spot in my life, and if I end up back there I won’t consider it a failure. It’s a smallish Midwestern town. In the last 10 years they got a hockey team and a concert venue. There’s a downtown now. It’s like a Nashville or an Ann Arbor.

Teaching and learning

I’m an instructional aide at the Joshua School, a school for kids with autism. I’ve been full-time for two weeks, but I’ve been a substitute since August. It’s a one-on-one teacher to student ratio. The kids have varying levels of needs — it’s all developmental disabilities, but mostly autism.

As a sub, I would go in and try to learn a child’s individual goals and behaviors really quickly — what their short- and long-term goals are. It was stressful to have a different kid every day, and children with autism don’t always respond well to new people. Being full-time, I can learn about my kids much more in-depth.

I graduated from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor’s in communication disorders. Ideally that would fit into speech pathology, but I didn’t get into grad school, so I’m doing this for now.

Helping kids

I’ve never felt pulled to the special education field, but it’s the easiest place to get a job with my degree. Being there makes me feel like if I can do it, I should do it as long as possible because these kids need so much help. The teachers there are working so hard. If I’m able to push through and do a year, or two, or 17, I need to do that. I never realized how understaffed and underpaid the special education field is. These teachers do and give everything they can.

Saying it’s fulfilling sounds cliché, but it’s true. I tell people what I do for a living and I feel pretty cool.

If you have suggestions for My Name Is ..., please contact David Gilbert at dgilbert@coloradocommunitymedia.com.

Comments

Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.