ASD Connection

Remember when I was whining about how hard it was going to be to do my fieldwork placements because of the time I’d be missing out on with the boys.  Well it’s been almost 10 weeks since I worried about that.  I’ve completed one placement and am a few days into my second.  It’s flying by without a hitch.

I based my decision to go into an OTA program from my work at the developmental preschool I had worked in for years.  That and on the work I had seen from our OT and how her suggestions always helped my boys so much.  I was so interested in sensory-integration and the thought-processes it took to help modify daily activities for children who had special needs.  I went into this program not even knowing that OT could be in other arenas- I had only, ever, seen it regarding children.

I’ve had the chance to be exposed to many arenas through fieldwork placements and service learning including mental health, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living, home health, and outpatient hand therapy.  I have seriously loved every single arena and could see myself working in them- but still I just know I was made to work with children.

My placement now is with a school system and I couldn’t be happier.  The minute I walked in I felt so at ease.  And though I feel comfortable with all children with all needs, I have such a special place in my heart for the kids on the spectrum.  Whether they are five or fifteen, whether they are nonverbal or very talkative, whether they bolt, whether they hit, whether they yell, I just could care less, I love them all.  It’s hard for me to explain, yet most of my readers are parents of kids on the spectrum, so maybe you will understand what others I’ve talked to about it with don’t.  My heart just grows when I see a student walk into the therapy room doing that familiar hand flap.

My very-supportive professor asked me during a one-on-one meeting last semester how I thought I would handle burn-out.  Would it be too hard to work all day with demanding children only to come home to my own demanding child?  Would I have the energy I needed and wanted to have for the most important children in my life?  I understand where she is coming from but I just don’t see that as a problem.  It was never a problem when I worked at the preschool and so far this week I feel even more energized when I come home- I don’t think my boys have ever received so much occupational therapy- because I’m so excited to try out some new ideas I was taught during the day.

I really feel like working with kids on the spectrum is my calling.  I really think I could do something great in this field.  I’m just bursting at the brim with excitement and ideas to get out there on my own.

Oh and P.S.  I received a letter today that I was nominated as student-of-the-year.  I’m the biggest goober but I can’t stop smiling.

Heather Nelson

About Heather Nelson

Heather resides in Rockland where she is busy juggling life as a newlywed, a mom to two boys (one of which who has autism), a part time job in direct sales, and a full-time job as a pediatric occupational therapy assistant. She has a love for live music, karaoke, and cheering on the underdogs.