Play Program Internship Offers Opportunity to Caroline Bondurant to Gain Hands-on Early Intervention Experience
So how do college students know when they pick a major and decide on a career path if it’s really the right one for them? They get a summer internship, which is exactly what 22-year-old Caroline Bondurant did.
A psychology major, minoring in linguistics, at the University of Southern California, Bondurant says, “My brother is dyslexic, so I’ve always been interested in learning disabilities, however, I’ve taken a number of developmental psychology classes and became interested in developmental disabilities, especially autism. I kind of felt called to working with this population, so I read a lot of books on my own. I’d applied to volunteer for the summer and was very fortunate to be offered a grant-funded internship with Lanterman’s play program.”
Bondurant, who interned at an occupational therapy clinic working with school-age children, wanted a hands-on experience working with young children with developmental delays. “You can only learn so much from reading and in the classroom. Until you experience it hands-on and see what it’s like to interact and work with children with special needs, dealing with everything from behavioral issues to delayed skills, you can’t be sure if this is what you really want to do,” explains Bondurant.
In Bondurant’s case, her summer spent working in this field, solidified her desire to work with children with special needs. “It’s been amazing having the opportunity to reach out to the children in the playgroups and help them develop new skills and to watch them make progress,” she adds.
In her final year at USC, Bondurant will continue to be involved with Lanterman’s playgroups. She will also be interning at the UCLA Intervention Program this fall. In her free time, she enjoys doing yoga, dancing (contemporary and hip hop) and listening to a wide range of music encompassing everything from rap to John Mayer. Once she graduates, Bondurant plans to work for a few years to gain some additional hands-on experience before pursing her master’s degree in occupational therapy.
“This has been an awesome experience. It was very educational and I learned a lot about the regional center system, which is important to have a good understanding of when working with this population,” shares Bondurant.