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Immigrant, OT, Occupational Therapy, Latina, Spanish-speaking, Undocumented & Disabled Children

Updated: Jan 23


Born in Tijuana and spending my childhood there, I came to the USA as a teenager. Now 25 and a US citizen, my family is established in the Chula Vista area of Southern California, which has a substantial Spanish-speaking community that I look forward to serving as an Occupational Therapy professional. I hope to be accepted to a Master’s Program in Occupational Therapy at XXXX University to become licensed as an OT in California and give my all every day to helping my community, especially children with various challenges who can benefit significantly from occupational therapy.


A firm believer in the great value of OT for children with learning and developmental disabilities, I see this as the best way for me to make the most significant and sustainable contribution possible to my community over the long term - one child in need at a time, most little Latinos, I will communicate in both languages. I hope to attend the OT Master’s Degree Program at the University of XXXX for various reasons, mainly because your location is the most convenient for me to give my all to my graduate studies with the full support of my family. I also appreciate that you are an accredited graduate institution with an excellent reputation.


Nothing else brings me as much joy as helping children learn, merging playtime and learning time, and making everyday activities educative. I am very much a believer in the critical formative importance of the early childhood years for determining all that follows. This provides me with a sense of mission and urgency, helping challenged children develop communication and social skills through an intensive activity that is at once instructive and also entertaining, allowing them to blossom in holistic ways that lay a foundation for their future success as adults and members of the community. I sometimes think, for example, that I might be saving some children from incarceration as teenagers or later as adults, especially by helping them manage their anger and collaborate with others. My focus is on participation in meaningful activities and enabling children to learn practical things of immediate utility, developing the general life skills needed to live happy and fulfilling lives.


I see my dream job as serving in a school as an Occupational Therapist, providing students with the support they need to participate in activities more fully and helping to enhance their academic achievement by promoting the positive behaviors that facilitate learning. I also look forward to working very hard to promote healthy school climates conducive to learning, especially by developing programs centered on school safety, violence prevention, and, in particular, anti-bullying. Education and social difficulties can usually be overcome by identifying and working with a child’s strengths and giving them the right tools. I want to help children thrive and cultivate their ability to succeed in academic, social, and extracurricular activities. My ultimate goal will be to have my pediatric private practice someday.


First, I studied at Southwestern Community College for two years before transferring to San Diego State University, where I completed my BS Degree in Foods and Nutrition in August of 2018. I was a good student and devoted my time to my studies and volunteer activities. As an active student nutrition organization member, I stayed busy promoting nutrition education and serving as an advocate for Feeding San Diego, the Food Recovery Network, and Associated Students Food Pantry.


While attending SDSU, I started volunteering at the Adaptive Fitness Clinic Rehabilitation, serving individuals with minor to severe physical and neuromuscular disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, and mental retardation. Other clients see a PT regain function lost due to recent injuries. This experience in Physical Therapy will be helpful to me in the future as an OT working in collaboration with PTs for the holistic well-being of patients and their families. I also volunteered at OT-ETC, a pediatric rehab therapy home where clients received treatment in three complementary areas, physical, occupational, and speech therapy. I had the opportunity to observe all three therapy sessions to understand better how the three medicines work in unison to help the client develop or recover their mental, physical, and verbal abilities.


I have been employed at XXXX Memorial Hospital in XXXX for the past three years as a Diet Tech, developing nutritional plans to promote health and prevent/treat disease. I especially enjoy nutrition screenings for malnutrition, pressure ulcers, and other high-risk factors for referral to Clinical Dietitians. Working in a hospital setting has allowed me to practice and improve my communication skills, coming to a fuller understanding of the importance of team collaboration and patient privacy.


I also volunteer at XXXX Memorial Hospital in inpatient rehabilitation. Here, I had the privilege of closely observing an OT teaching patients one-handed techniques for preparing food, eating, getting dressed, opening packages, and using the computer. Many of our clients struggle to recover from a catastrophic injury or illness such as a spinal cord injury, stroke, or brain injury. She also instructed family or caregivers on how best to help the patient regain their independence and participate in the activities they enjoy the most, such as ways to set up their home so they can better complete their day-to-day chores. I assisted with therapeutic activities such as transporting LiteGait, providing patient equipment, and tossing balls during therapeutic exercises. I observed transferring techniques during ADLs and helped stabilize wheelchairs for patient safety. I have also volunteered at OT-ETC, a pediatric rehab home providing physical, occupational, and speech therapy.


I came to the US from Mexico when I was 16 years old and obtained citizenship through my father, who became a US citizen after many years as a farmworker in California. I feel fortunate and especially called to assist children of undocumented immigrants and workers whose families face precarious circumstances that exacerbate the challenges facing their small children with developmental and learning disabilities.


I thank you for considering my application to Occupational Therapy at XXXX University.


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