I could not be more excited about my application to pursue the master's degree in occupational therapy. My passion for OT has grown in leaps and bounds ever since I began working at the YMCA in 2013, providing one-on-one behavioral support to children with special needs, all autistic except for one who had Down syndrome. My world lit up like a pinball machine and I found my niche in society, my vocation and calling. I learned how to love and to do so professionally, in the most effective ways, learning a great deal about myself at the same time.
Under the supervision of the Sr. Program Director, and Inclusion Lead Teacher for ____, I was responsible for the supervision of the participants in the Pilot Afterschool Autism Inclusion Program at the ____ YMCA. The program provided a safe and nurturing environment for pre-teens (ages 10-12 years old) to integrate them successfully into an afterschool program that included students without autism spectrum disorder. This after school program had about sixteen students, nine typical, five autistic, one Down syndrome. Along with the inclusion teacher, we provided a balance of individualized skill development training; recreational opportunities; and personal support, developing fun activities that can promote learning for both typical and autistic children.
I particularly enjoyed the one-on-one behavior support aspect of my role at the YMCA assisting with the development of social skills in children with special needs. My role was to help the children integrate and participate in activities that were inclusive with typical and autistic children reinforcing positive behavior together through group activity and achievement. I would prepare children for transitions, develop, and modify scheduled group activities such as science or art projects, physical games, or other achievable tasks. I loved finding new ways to teach children to adapt to their environment. A parent of one of the children that I work with encouraged me to investigate OT because he was so excited about the difference that Occupational Therapy was making in his son’s life, learning to write despite having Downs syndrome. I would love to continue my passion for helping children adapt to their surroundings and lifelong education in these and related areas.
I have been volunteering at a horse ranch on and off for two years. "____" is a therapeutic horseback riding ranch and I am a coach, helping to keep a child focused and safe while on the horse. Thus, I have cultivated a special passion in OT therapy that utilizes our animal friends as resources for development as well as healing. I hope at some point to continue academically beyond the master's degree, after completing your program and gaining several more years of experience as an OT professional. I would like to teach someday and look forward to a lifetime of participating in research concerning special needs children and their surroundings.
A cosmopolitan African American woman who cherishes diversity, I am as well traveled as I am read, spending significant amounts of time in Belize, France, Spain, Mexico, Canada, Thailand, and Japan. Some of my travels were connected to my volunteer work with my church and our youth program. I continue to volunteer once a month at "Feed my Starving Children" an NGO fighting malnutrition worldwide.
Currently learning American Sign Language and Spanish, I have a trip planned for one month of intensive Spanish language immersion in Colombia this coming March.
Thank you for considering my application to your distinguished master's Program in OT.
Occupational Therapy OT Personal Purpose Statement