Personal Flair | Teaching Philosophy

My pursuit toward a career in Early Intervention (EI) is significantly influenced by my core perceptions of what effective learning is; specifically, for learners with special needs, who is the population I intend to teach. I firmly support the mission and foundation of Early Intervention practices because of how they acknowledge and take advantage of when in human development the brain is most malleable to changes through defined instruction. I have experience working with children in EI capacities, as well as working with elderly individuals in a retirement community. This juxtaposition has definitively shown me how much more successful instructional, specialized therapies are when applied at the earliest stages of life. Also, I have inhabited the roles of a student, advisee, and Teaching Assistant – my experience in all three positions has led me to recognize how much harder it is to successfully replace, mold, or restructure prior knowledge or perceptions in older populations than in younger.

EI services’ targeted population are children from 0-3 years of age with developmental, intellectual, or learning disabilities. As an Early Intervention provider, my lessons, which I would personalize for each and every child, could address maladaptive habits, scaffold necessary skills for learning growth, and focus on the developmental weaknesses that accompany certain diagnoses, to overwhelmingly improve that child’s quality of life in a long-term manner. Most importantly – and most in sync with what I define as the roots of effective, healthy, instruction – Early Intervention promotes the identification of strengths in their learners: both to provide optimism to parents’ who may have developed potentially negative outlooks based on stigma generated by society, worry for their child’s future, and profound loss of their “idealized” child; as well as to emphasize these acknowledged strengths and exercise them. In my experience working with an Occupational Therapist in EI, I saw immense progress in skill adaptation over only several weeks’ time. Overall, my teaching philosophy is to identify and use learners’ strengths to develop effective, individualized approaches to instruction targeting their weaknesses.

Skill Sets

Interpersonal Skills

I have held jobs and volunteer responsibilities across varied fields: childcare roles, administrative positions, marketing managing, and serving in the entertainment and food industry. All of these, despite a vast breadth in the specific skills necessary to work each successfully, share a common thread among the duties expected of me in each setting: I needed to be able to effectively interacting with others. Whether it would be the families of children I worked with, clients for companies I have served as Administrative Assistant to, or guests to a dinner party I waited on, the jobs I have held were all vital to developing the strong interpersonal skills I possess. I recognize motives to interactions, and organize my methods of communication for optimal understanding and outcome. I am personable and patient, with listening skills crafted from years of work experience. I am adaptive to individualized interactions, and acknowledge how I must change communicative approaches based on the people I am dealing with each time.

Creative Conflict-Resolution Skills

When faced with a problem, I am solution-driven; however, almost never in a conventional manner. From experience, especially in childcare, I have come to learn that there is no one absolute solution to issues that may arise. So I have exercised my creative skills toward problem-solving in order to be able to address conflict more effectively; universal solutions tend to not be long-lasting, so it is better to create unique solutions to problems in order to resolve them more permanently. An example of this can be as simple as modifying an exercise I have a student do for trunk strengthening. If the exercise has been implemented for weeks, and the child is beginning to get bored with it and resent it, I would incorporate things in the environment that make the exercise more challenging – hence more rewarding for the effectiveness of the practice, and less boring for the child. Although this is not a generic definition of “conflict”, it is an issue that commonly arises in Early Intervention practice, and creative aptitude allows for more successful instruction, and stronger dynamics between the student and myself.

Intrapersonal Skills

As a result of intentionally exposing myself to diverse contexts of learning, working, and volunteering, I have had ample opportunity to grow as an individual; the experiences I’ve had in the settings that I am least familiar to, with peers whose aspects of identity I am least familiar with, have been the greatest contributors to my perpetually expanding sense of self-concept. I journal daily, as I find writing to be the most effective method of conscious reflection on my strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they applied to certain situations or contexts. I have found maintaining this degree of self-awareness allows me to constantly improve myself and my own efficacy in work and academic contexts. By always asking questions of myself and others, I am allowing myself the internal space to mature, enhance my strengths, and work on my weaknesses. This introspectiveness also allows me close access to my emotions, for purposes of regulation based on contextual need and appropriateness. I can harness my empathy for parents who I can sense need to feel understood, and restrain sympathy, even if I feel it, if I sense that the last thing a family member may want is to feel pitied in any way. During my experience shadowing an Occupational Therapist in Early Intervention in home settings, I believe my intrapersonal skills were finely tuned, in tandem with my interpersonal skills, to be able to regulate my emotions to the individualized needs of each family I work with in the future – as well as to effectively teach their child.


Summary | Personal and Career Mission Statements & Work Experience

Personal Mission Statement:

The foundations for my devotion to a career in Occupational Therapy in Early Intervention stem from my core belief that every single individual, regardless of any aspect of their identity, has both strengths and weaknesses. The stigma that exists in our society targeting those who have developmental, intellectual, or learning disabilities emphasizes impairment, deficiency, and inability so strongly that many do not even take the time to try to identify strengths in those who have diagnoses of such natures. I am pursuing a profession in this field because this stigma, besides being unfair and closed-minded fundamentally, unfortunately influences the way families of children with special needs consider the child’s ability and capacity for learning – and I am determined to convey to these family members that if they pinpoint strengths and interests in their child, they can use that information to form an entirely more optimistic perception of their child, and motivate them to practice lessons at home, and empower them to advocate more fervently, as they would see their child as being capable of so much more than what general society inaccurately dictates.

Work Experience:

In the summer of 2016, I spent five days a week traveling from one end of Manhattan to another, trying to maintain my mentor’s pace as we went from home settings to day care settings, filling the half-hour sessions we had with each student at every location with as many activities as possible. That summer was when I decided in which profession I would feel most fulfilled, be the most effective, and help the most with my given set of skills; the gratification of watching toddlers with varied developmental disabilities, neurological disorders, and learning deficiencies progress in physical, cognitive, and sensory processing development so substantively in only a season resonated so deeply with me that I became addicted to learning about my mentor and every step she took to get to where she was professionally.

Although I was already intrigued by the clinical specialty, it was my shadowing an Occupational Therapist in Early Intervention settings that instilled a determination to not only pursue that very career, but to absorb as much experience and knowledge as I could regarding the field. I would ask the therapist I shadowed questions on subway rides in between sessions regarding why she used certain strategies of teaching for certain students, about family dynamics I noticed and didn’t understand, and about her own journey to becoming an Early Intervention specialist. I carried around a little notebook with me, where I wrote the name of each student we worked with, the nature of their disability, family details worth noting, and tracked progress we made with that student from week to week. I loved reading over these entries for each of the learners I watched grow that summer. The experience of shadowing was what led me to labeling my dream career, firmly establishing it as a goal to work towards, and ignited a professional motivation in me based in passion for children and education that has not wavered since that summer.

Career Statement:

My career mission is to become an Occupational Therapist in Early Intervention. My goal once inhabiting this position is to be able to identify and treat developmental issues/deficits in children 0-3 years old using completely individualized, creative approaches. I am committed to improving the long-term quality of life for as many children as I can, and I believe the earlier instruction begins, the more guaranteed longevity of skills being taught. I have taken control of my empathy toward effective understanding of others’ emotions that allows me to creatively address the needs of others’, without being paralyzed to sorrow I may feel for a family who is struggling with their child with special needs. I am perpetually tailoring my interpersonal skills in order for apt strength in communication to adapt across contexts.

My Resume

Hi everyone!

Attached is my resume, which essentially serves as a one-page synopsis of my academic, volunteering, and employment experience – on which I try to expand on the skills I acquired in those roles, and the impact of exposure on me in those different settings. But how can you encapsulate 6 years of experience into one page? You can’t. But this provides a brief overview that takes you along the path that has sown my unwavering determination to become an effective, compassionate Occupational Therapist in Early Intervention.