Working with Children: Invigorating, Challenging, Rewarding
What inspires me? The parents who bring their adorable children to work with me week after week. The smiles on their faces when something new is learned. The sighs of relief from a mother who knows she has found the right place for her child.
The giggles from a child who is getting the just right match of input for their sensory needs. Oh, and the hugs! A hug from a little one lets me know I did a job well done. The children give meaning to why I go to work every day. I love all of it, every day.
Path to Occupational Therapy
I have always loved playing with children. I started babysitting at a young age. My service work in high school was at Rosemary Center in Cleveland, volunteering with children who have disabilities. I became aware of occupational therapy (OT) as a profession through friends of my family, both with daughters who are OTs.
In college, while in my OT program, I babysat for a child with cerebral palsy and worked as a Lovaas-trained tutor for a young child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I actually graduated from Xavier University thinking I would like to work in Geriatric Psychology! My path was quickly changed as I once again felt the pull to work with children. My first job was in pediatrics, and although I have worked in different settings-hospital, school, and clinic-I have always stayed in pediatrics.
Working with children is invigorating, challenging, rewarding. Working with the youngest of our population provides daily challenges, as truly no two children are alike. Don’t we just play all day?
Well, in a word yes.
The play we do however provides the foundation for all future learning both academically and social emotionally. Figuring out the just right interplay between the environment, the challenge, the adult assistance, all while managing a child who may or may not want to do it my way, and communicating with the family, ensures that as an occupational therapist, I am always thinking on my feet.