Cora Martin – Occupational Therapy Internship
I am currently interning with Mrs. Wallace, one of our school’s occupational therapists. She oversees learners in elementary, middle, and high school. On Tuesdays, I work with 7 students in the middle school, and 5 students on Thursdays at New Holland Elementary. I will often help Mrs. Wallace with her supplies, and encourage the students, and I help demonstrate the tasks the students do. When at the middle school I often find myself observing more than anything else given that most of the student’s tasks are more advanced such as scooping or opening bags. These tasks often need hand-over-hand help, which I am not really trained in so I leave it to the professional. On the other hand, most of the students I work with at the elementary level have more simple goals such as writing, cutting, and gluing. These tasks are much easier for me to oversee and help with.
I love being at New Holland Elementary and the students I get to work with have so much personality. I work with 2 kids pretty much as soon as they get to school at 9 am. They have very different tasks for their OT appointments, but both equally make my morning so much more enjoyable. They have writing goals like making sure they keep their letters on the line and when it’s appropriate to use upper vs lower case. Because their goals are a bit more simple Mrs. Wallace allows me to supervise or “evaluate” one of them for their appointment. I will be given the task I have to explain, and then I will walk them through the task and keep them focused.
Another thing that I have learned while working with Mrs.Wallace is to not take anything too seriously. I find that I get anxious over things I can not control. On my second day I got stuck in traffic and was very concerned about being late, but Mrs. Wallace shared that I should drive safely and get there when I can. Mrs. Wallace has shown me that you cannot always control the outcome of things, but you can do your best to prevent a bad one. When loading a bag for an appointment she thinks about how each kid reacts, good or bad, to all of the activities she has, then she will review her goals and prepare for the student. We often find that by the end of a session, the student definitely did not act how we thought they would, and that’s ok. Not everyone is going to have good days and be on their best behavior for her, but she tries her best to keep them distracted and happy.
Working with Mrs. Wallace has opened my eyes to a whole part of the school I never would have thought about before, and that most of our student body doesn’t even recognize. I work with mainly middle school and elementary-aged students all with varying abilities. With this internship, I have gained a lot of respect for all of the adults who work day in and day out with our school’s special needs and differently-abled students. Mrs. Wallace spends most of her days with these kids, and if she’s not with them, then she’s writing reports and IUPs for them.