Careers Interview: Nikki Smith, short breaks practitioner, Kids

Twenty-one-year-old Nikki Smith has been working as a part-time short breaks practitioner in Camden, north London, for the charity Kids since July 2010.

She is studying for a degree in special education at the University of East London and fits her work around her studies.

She currently supports a child who has severe autism and sees him after school and all day on a Sunday. They normally go to the park, visit the cinema or go for a trip on the bus or train.

"I absolutely love the job, especially watching the children learn and develop," she says. "The child I'm working with at the moment couldn't speak when I first started working with him. But I take him out and he says my name and things like 'let's go on the train'."

The job can be challenging. Some of the children are terminally ill and require frequent trips to the hospital. "I've been on numerous trips to Great Ormond Street Hospital with the children. Sadly, I recently had one of the children pass away. I'd never experienced death in that way. It is difficult but you just have to realise that you've given that child a positive break."

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