After gaining professional experience working as a teacher's aide in a special needs classroom LeeAnne Daniel knew she wanted to continue to work with children. It was a personal experience however, that helped steer her towards a specific career path.
"My niece is severely autistic and blind," says LeeAnne. "When I first saw her occupational therapist work with her, I just knew it was something I wanted to do."
LeeAnne is a second-year student in Sinclair College's two-year occupational therapy ssistant program. Sinclair is the only college in the Greater Dayton Area that offers an accredited occupational therapy assistant degree.
"I probably thought about the program for a year before starting," says LeeAnne. "For a while I thought I was too old to go back to school, but I knew I couldn't preach to my kid to go to college if I didn't."
LeeAnne is raising her eight-year-old daughter on her own, which also factored into her uncertainty about returning to school.
"I thought I would have problems being a single mom and going back to school but I haven't, it's been really good," says LeeAnne. "My instructors are really understanding. They know I'm a good student and that I'm there every day. Heidi McGohan and Katie Walker are really awesome and supportive. They're just great."
In addition to the faculty support, LeeAnne is encouraged by the advantage she will have through attending classes in the new Health Sciences Center.
"I'm excited to see how the new Health Sciences Center is going to look," says LeeAnne. "I've heard they're combining occupational therapy and physical therapy spaces and I think that's cool because in the work field those specialties work together, so it will give us good experience to work with other professions before graduating."
In the new Health Sciences Center the occupational therapy assistant and physical therapy assistant lab spaces are divided by a retractable wall which can be opened up to provide students with inter-professional learning opportunities.
After completing her first year of classes, LeeAnne remains confident in her decision to pursue occupational therapy and attend Sinclair.
Sinclair is affordable and convenient to get to since it is centrally located downtown," says LeeAnne. "I'm excited to graduate in May and apply what I've learned. I've gained a lot of insight into my niece's treatment and therapies and I hope to work in schools where I can help other children like her.
JOIN US on Twitter to talk about #SinclairHealthSciences