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.
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.
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.