I cannot believe that it has already been eight weeks! In those eight weeks, not only have I met about twenty different children, but I have also had a glimpse into the hardships each child encounters every day of his or her life.
Working at a clinic that is specialized in occupational therapy services gave me the confidence that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Each child that comes into our clinic presents different needs and struggles. One child can have a very defensive tactile system while another child has severe emotional dysregulations. During the first half of the internship, I spent my time in the background, watching how my senior therapists would react to a certain child. I learned how to distinguish whether a child’s behavior is the result of a physical or sensory need versus a behavior that is just plain naughty. During the second half of my internship, I tried to really implement the techniques and strategies I picked up. I learned that some children have an easier time understanding verbal cues while other children are better able to control their bodies when they are receiving exterior pressure like a massage.
Working with this camp has opened my eyes to the reality of occupational therapy and how necessary the profession is. I also learned how creative and flexible it can be, especially when working with children! We had arts and craft classes every week for these children to work on their fine motor skills. Many of these kids have a hard time cutting with scissors and working with glue. We even had cooking class every week for children to explore different kinds of food in a fun way! Most of the children that come to camp are picky eaters, on medication that reduce their appetite, or even a complete loss of appetite as a result of social anxiety. Through cooking, we try to show them that these new fruits and vegetables are okay and actually even fun to eat!
I am not a hundred percent sure whether or not I want to pursue a career in pediatrics but I am two hundred percent sure that I want to go into occupational therapy. I want to be able to help the individual live a life as normal as possible despite any hardships or struggles he or she may be facing. Struggles can range from physical shortcomings, emotional trauma, neurological issues,etc.
I am excited to see where the future will take me as I apply to graduate school this fall. I want to learn all there is to occupational therapy and start working!!
Written by Joyce Yoo, BC Class of 2017