The Rivers School
Natalia Ramos - Boston Ability Center
This summer I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to intern at the Boston Ability Center, a Pediatric Wellness Center that works to help kids reach their highest level of function through physical, occupational, speech, and feeding therapy. The Boston Ability Center pairs play with therapy to help ensure that each child is working to reach their highest level of function but is also having fun.
My internship at the Boston Ability Center was centered around preparing for and helping facilitate the Intensive Therapy Camps they have each summer. The camp lasted three weeks with a new theme each week that was the focus for the week's activities. The camp schedule consisted of two individual therapy sessions followed by a camp block where the campers participated in activities or crafts that focused on improving their fine motor, gross motor, or sensory skills. These activities included obstacle courses, messy paint, painting camp t-shirts, gardening, and more.
During my internship, one of the campers’ favorite activities was called the sunshine treasure hunt. This activity consisted of a treasure hunt and then an art project. First, the campers worked together to find all the sun rays that were scattered across the gym of the center. Then, they glued the rays onto their sun and decorated their sun, all while they were sharing materials with one another.
The first week of my internship focused on preparing for the camp and getting acquainted with the center. I was put in charge of preparing for and ensuring that the camp was ready to go for the following week. Throughout the week, I collected materials, prepared crafts, and organized them for easy access the following week. Some of my other duties included helping keep the center organized and helping clinicians with whatever they needed.
The second week of my internship focused on the campers. Each morning, I would get paired up with one of the campers and I acted as another set of hands for the therapist during the session. I would help gather any materials they needed for the session, participated in the activities with the camper, and helped with the transitions between therapy sessions or camp by playing games or chatting with the camper. This allowed me to observe occupational, speech, and physical therapy sessions in a hands-on way. Each clinician also made sure to explain to me the reasoning behind why we were doing a certain activity and always allowed me to ask questions. Each session would be unique to one another as they would be dependent on each child’s interests. After the therapy sessions, I would help to facilitate the camp block by setting up the activities, getting the campers excited about the plan for the day, and assisting campers in the activities.
I would like to thank Ms. Janet Wade, Ms. Megan Shaffer, and all the clinicians at the Boston Ability Center for allowing me to have such an incredible experience. I’ve learned so much about physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and how therapy and play can intertwine. I would also like to thank Mr. Schlenker for helping me find this opportunity and step out of my comfort zone.