Describe the steps you took to obtain your internship/research opportunity/fellowship.
When looking for an internship I asked around my hometown for a speech therapy private practice that I could shadow. When I contacted one of the offices, she offered me a volunteer opportunity to help at their camps for kids with developmental delay, autism, and down-syndrome.
How far in advance did you prepare and begin applying for your experiential learning opportunity?
I had been looking for opportunities for two months prior to landing my internship. I had another shadowing opportunity set in place, but it fell through at the last minute because clients were away for the summer.
If you used any Career Center services, resources, or events to obtain your internship/research opportunity/fellowship, what were they? How did they support your application process?
I was advised by the Career Center staff about the program and the application process for the Experience Recognition Program (ERP).
Describe some of your responsibilities or duties during your experiential learning opportunity.
I was responsible for taking care of the kids during the camp day. I would help them stay focused in circle time, assist them in making crafts, help them feed during snack and lunchtime, and respond to their needs during the day (bathroom, sensory input, wiggle breaks). I also assisted the therapists in choosing gross and fine motor activities to do with the kids.
What was a typical day like "on the job?"
A typical day for me would start with assisting the therapists set up and plan for the day. We pick out toys to use as gross-motor activities for centers later in the day. Then, the kids come in and one-on-one, we do puzzles with them. After, we have circle time where we sing, dance, and read stories. The goal here is to stay focused and sitting. Then, we have snack time. The snacks correlate with the theme of the week. The kids are to follow directions to assemble their snack. This serves as a sensory experience for them and makes them follow directions. After, we set up different centers, each with a different fine-motor or sensory activity. We followed with a group gross motor activity and then a craft. We concluded with lunch and I would help the children who struggle with self-feeding.
What are some major takeaways from your experience? How will these help prepare you for the next step after graduation?
I learned more in my experiential learning than I could ever imagine! I got hands-on experience in my field working with kids and made great connections with my co-workers and therapists at the practice. They taught me techniques to use with the kids to help calm them and give them sensory input, along with activities I can do in practice to improve the kid's skills.
Did this experience help clarify your career path? If yes, how so?
This experience reminded me that I am right where I need to be. I love working with kids and working with them in speech or occupational therapy. I planned on going into speech therapy, but I also found a love for occupational therapy. Now I am debating about changing my career path to occupational therapy!
"I got hands-on experience in my field working with kids and made great connections with my co-workers and therapists at the practice."
Major: Communication Sciences and Disorders, Class of 2020
Company/Organization: Beaches Speech Therapy and Occuplay Inc.