Our internships as part of ELG’s Summer Program were a resounding success. Interns came from near and far – ranging from international high school students in Shanghai, to university students and practicing therapists from the United States. The internships lasted anywhere between two and eight weeks, but the extraordinary learning experiences and memories will last long into the future.
Interns in Action
The interns worked collaboratively with all the staff at ELG and helped out in the classroom, during mealtimes and at recess. Others led speech-language therapy group activities and helped with translation. Therapy professionals like Pia Pickard (pediatric school-based occupational therapist in Seattle, WA, USA) worked in the movement room assisting with sensory challenges, as well as motor and social skills.
All the interns came away with a greater understanding of children with special needs and enjoyed sharing effective teaching methods. “Every week we did two cooking sessions or meal prep tasks with all the kids,” says Pia. “It was one of my favorite experiences because those types of activities are some of the best things occupational therapy has to offer kids, families and communities with special needs. It’s just one example of ELG’s unique strengths.”
The interns learned the value of patience, resilience and flexibility. “The most challenging part of the internship was moving forward even though there were times when we didn’t know why a child was acting a certain way,” says Georgia Artzberger (sophomore, Michigan State University). “But we continued to try new things and push forward.”
Making a connection with the kids was the key to success. Some changes were implemented in the classroom: “We integrated a music lesson into the morning class, and the kids really responded to it,” says Beth Fentress (senior, University of Kansas). “We also discovered that rubbing one child’s shoulders was an effective way to help him stay calm and focused.”
Blessy Pak (Grade 12, Concordia International School), offered an exciting example of growth, which occurred during one mealtime. “A girl progressed from being a picky eater (she only ate rice) to picking up some rice in one spoon, after eating her casserole using another spoon.”
Georgia’s favorite moment happened during Week 3 of the Summer Program, when the children were starting to make great strides. “It was ‘Water Fun Day’ and a few children who had never ventured into the water – or even outside – took a step forward and had fun playing outside.”
“ELG celebrates all children’s small victories and I think that’s critical for children with special needs,” says Pia. “They just need more time and different methods.” The interns saw first-hand that all children can learn and thrive with the appropriate support.
If you’re interested in interning at ELG, we offer a range of internships, from assisting our full-time programs, to joining our marketing, finance and human resources departments and more. For more information, please check out our website,or email [email protected]. We would love to hear from you!