After attending Adams Camp for a week I am questioning if I really want to be an Occupation Therapist. During the week of camp I realized that being in the special needs field is DEFINITELY something I want to be apart of, the whole week meant a lot to me (like every other week I have ever spent at Adams Camp). However, I’m not sure if OT is the right spot for me.
After working along side a Physical Therapist (one who apparently learned a lot from me :-)), an Art Therapist, a Music Therapist, a Speech-Language Pathologist, and an Occupational Therapist I learned a lot about all the attributes and perspectives from each individual field. However, I feel that I could do something more.
A few years ago at Adams Camp I was working with two other volunteers and we needed to watch the resident medication tracker’s son. The boy was in his early teens at the time and I believe he was autistic as well. What we we had to do was get him away from his mother so she could work and get him over to the park. The other girls offered him their hands and told him what was going to happen but he didn’t want to move. We were all kind of like “well what do we do now?” I gave it a shot and went over to him and sat on the floor. I looked him in the eyes and told him what was going on and what had to happen and reassured him that he would see his mother again in one hour. I then held out my hand right in front of his with my palm facing the ceiling so it would take him very minimal effort to comply, he then took my hand and followed me to the park.
Afterwords one of the volunteers asked me “how’d you do that?” I told her that i didn’t know. At the time I really didn’t know what to tell her, it was just something I knew how to do.
More recently, this last week in fact, another moment like this arouse. My therapy camp group was getting ready to leave for canoeing. One of our 7 year old boys with Down syndrome was with our Physical Therapist and he was refusing to carry his backpack and was refusing to leave. She tried but her patience wore thin. In an instant she turned to me and told me that I had to take care of this. I responded by sitting down with the boy on the side walk and talked to him about the situation. After our little talk he agreed to go canoeing and then became very excited about it. Our PT thanked me and offered me a recommendation a few days after.
It’s been made apparent to me over the years that I have a certain sight and understanding that not every special needs care worker composes themselves with. Considering that my brother has Autism, I have had more exposure then most people my age trying to get into this field and I also understand what the family is going through, which is an important aspect of the job.
I think that I might be at my best as a Behavioral Specialist. Someone who observes and takes in information and can provide families with interventions and tactics to remedy their tough situations with their special needs kids. After seeing just how much we all were able to help our group of kids, thats definitely something I want to be more involved in.
I wouldn’t have all the knowledge that every type of therapist has but I could listen to what they have to say and help them and the families devise a plan to better their life, and most importantly their child’s life. I think this might be the best career in this field for me :-).