Welcome back to Cornerstone Reflections everyone!
Every semester the CEO of Cornerstone Autism Center, David Ide, and the Director of Employee Culture and Engagement, Megan DeYoung, speak to Purdue Health and Human Science undergraduates about autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), the services offered at the two autism centers in West Lafayette and Greenwood, and give advice to help prepare students for upcoming interviews and future employment in their respective fields.
In the second part of the mini-series we chat with the five Purdue University undergrad interns about their first month at Cornerstone, the ABA training they have received, and the interactions so far with the children with autism that go to the centers and implementing programs Cornerstone's clinical coordinators create.
This piece showcases Whitney Trusty and what she has gained during her first month of her internship at the autism center.
Jarrad: Therapists have been sick due to this blistering cold winter. This has given many of the interns the opportunity to step onto the floor and interact with the children sooner. How have your classes at Purdue, and the training you’ve received in ABA, helped prepare you?
Whitney: The first week of training has helped me tremendously to be ready for when I am placed out on the floor. I have learned that it is different with every child as far as how you use ABA. I have enjoyed filling in for other therapists and getting the opportunity to work with different children each day. This helps me be better with ABA and how it works with each child.
Jarrad: Every person is as individual as the next, just as children with autism are just as unique to another on the spectrum. What have you learned that highlights this statement shadowing the ABA therapists, and the direct interaction you have had so far with the children?
Whitney: By shadowing, I have noticed that every therapist is different with every child, in how they interact, talk, play, and work. Now that I have worked with quite a few children here at the center, I have realized how different you have to be with every child. Every child is unique in how they communicate, play, work, and how they like to be rewarded.
Jarrad: Wow, that’s great Whitney. Now, has it been hard learning all the children’s programs to be implemented and keep them all straight?
Whitney: For me, it hasn’t been too hard transitioning from program to program for each child that I’ve worked with. Since I have the morning off the floor, I’ve been learning about the different programs in the therapist room, as well as organizing and setting up programs. This has helped me when I fill in for a therapist and I’m able to recognize the programs.
Jarrad: Can you give me a few reasons why you’re feeling more comfortable interning at Cornerstone now?
Whitney: Now that I’ve been on the floor with multiple children and have a child in the afternoon, I feel more like I am getting the hang of things. I am forming relationships with the therapists and children and that helps in feeling like I am part of the center. Since being here for a little over a month now, I don’t have that new feeling anymore and I am able to just relax and enjoy the experience as an intern.
Jarrad: What is a quality of yourself that compliments what you are doing at Cornerstone?
Whitney: I love working with people, whether it be adults or kids. The kids are so enjoyable here at the center and I love working with them and having some play time as well. I have an outgoing personality which helps in motivating the kiddos and I enjoy being social with everyone here at the center.
Jarrad: Awesome! And finally, what do you feel is something you are doing at the center that may be more of a challenge than some of the other duties you are doing right now?
Whitney: My first challenge that I have ran into is the video review. Since it was my first time doing one, I was a bit nervous and wasn’t sure how it would go. I managed to complete it and I am waiting to hear feedback from that.
Jarrad Shaw graduated Purdue University in Human Services studying community & relationship building, & program implementation. Jarrad is seeking a full time role in public relations & community management. His current projects are growing & managing online content & community involvement for Cornerstone Autism Center, Cornerstone Autism Foundation, Caustic Ideas, & Entertainment Fuse. He handles several forms of web & blog content, and builds interpersonal relations with communities on and off sites. Jarrad is continuously expanding his experience in the always evolving tech world & gaming industry. When Jarrad is not reading the latest trends in the social marketing sphere, he spends his time playing video games with friends & working on a new side project, producing electronica music for mobile gaming platforms. You can contact him by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com.