in 1993-94, I volunteered full-time at a cerebral palsy center in New Jersey USA.
I was 21
eight hours a day, five days a week, I showed up and gave my everything to these kids from age 3 to 21.
at the center were kids with cerebral palsy, autism, emotional scarring, down syndrome, etc.
One of my favorite things to do and they were going to hire me for – was setting up the equipment and computers for communication and working with the kids and teachers on using the equipment.
I was extremely passionate because I went to that center full time between the ages of two and four years old.
I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and physical and occupational therapy successfully helped me.
there were no scripted programs.
it was just help the kids because this was school. A very unique school.
I tracked it down a few years ago to find out if it still existed.
I had a very hard time because it moved locations and changed names.
The days of dedicated schools for kids who need higher quality teachers capable of the necessary desire to communicate with them were out of fashion as integration has long become the trend, so its existence is a quiet thing.
successful communication is an amazing thing to me in every and any situation.
I am grateful that I can communicate and I was extraordinarily proud to have been in an important position as a volunteer to help train adults and kids on how to communicate in diverse ways. How to listen. how to signal. to acknowledge. to respond.
The opportunity to repay them by volunteering as a helper in gratitude for helping me when I was in preschool is a satisfaction I can’t describe.
i’m sure none of the people were still there when I volunteered and certainly not today.
this is the only mention on the internet id found of them and i want to say thank you again.
I didn’t end up becoming an occupational therapist.
but I’ve kept that same mindset