Final Questions.

-Why was having an internship important to you? It wasn’t a requirement for school, you werent paid, etc.
  • Having an internship was important to me in that it helped me discover what I wanted out of my college education and helped me gain experience required of many Ph. D programs. 
-What were your experiences working with people with IDD and how has is changed your perspective and future career path? 

  • My experience with people with IDD was one of the most amazing things to happen to me. I believe without this internship I would have no idea what I wanted to do with my degree, wouldn’t of gained valuable experience, and met so many amazing people. Working with the IDD community definitely changed my perspective, I’m from a small town of less than 900 people and what we were taught growing up about the community was a lot of negativity and none of the positive. Going in a knew virtually nothing except old stereotypes.

-Benefits of the supervisor/mentor relationship

  • Having a graduate student who had once (fairly recently) been in our shoes was very helpful to me. Kari provided a lot of great advice that still applied. Past internships I’ve had, the supervisor has been quite a bit older and hadn’t attended college in decades, so I couldn’t really ask about post baccalaureate advice.

-Other things that were helpful or things you liked about the internship

  • One of my favorite things about this internship was that we weren’t watched over constantly being told exactly what to do, we were given a degree of freedom while also completing set tasks assigned to all the interns which we in turn got to select which ones we personally wanted to complete.

My Last Day As An Intern.

Today was my last day at The Center. Kari and Karen were both there and we discussed Karen’s plans and what she was planning on doing with her business and her licenses. We also discussed several jobs that Kari had applied to and a job that a fellow intern was hired for in Dallas, Texas. We also discussed my plans for the future.

I gathered some final data for the walking program and then visited with the two older women with down syndrome and dementia. Unfortunately neither woman appeared to be improving and both were slotted to be moved to a smaller facility upon finding of available accommodations.

Human Rights Committee.

Today I got to present the walking program to the Human Rights Committee (HRC). I was a little nervous at first, even though I had taken the poster home and rehearsed it for about two hours the day before. There was 6 people in the conference room, not including myself. So it was a fairly small group.  The meeting took place at 9 am, I arrived at 8:45 am to set up the poster in the boardroom. The extra fifteen minutes was great as I got to relax and explain the poster to one person who was interested in the research. Topics were presented first, such as issues that the residents are having. One of the residents gave us a little update on the construction and just life in general for the residents. His main concern was the water fountains not working.

I was very glad that Kari offered me this opportunity. My internship here has definitely helped me with public speaking.

Don’t Shoot The Dog.

Today I learned about Karen Pryor, she wrote a book titled Don’t Shoot The Dog. I also watched two videos on Youtube. The first was called Epigenetics and was presented by Neil Degrasse Tyson. This video was all about epigenetic factors and was really interesting. The next video I watched was titled The Ghost In Your Genes. This video was about how epigenetics can effect our children. Basically the things we do in our life time can alter our DNA, but not cause damage or even show effects in our lifetime. However, these mutations can be passed down during fertilization and can change our children.

The third thing I learned about was the severe behavioral and verbal clinics at UHCL. I’m extremely interested in these two topics. Kari suggested that I try and volunteer over the summer or during the semester.

Data Sheets and Bingo.

Today at The Center I collected data from the Walking Program. Although we have discontinued tokens in exchange for prizes, we still continue to collect data. Basically, we are now seeing if the ladies will continue to walk on their own without the tokens serving as their motivation. The data from the past two days has shown that two of the ladies continue to exceed their previous goal. In fact, the ladies have reached over 5,000 aerobic steps. The other two ladies, unfortunately have not done any aerobic steps. However, they do continue to walk approximately the same amount of steps as before, but still more than baseline.

Afterwards, I ended up in the classroom. One particular resident who has dementia has been wandering in and out of the classroom. I found her today walking in the parking lot while buses were dropping off residents. So I escorted her back to the classroom where I played Bingo with her and 6 other residents.

I also stopped by the clinic to visit the resident with down syndrome and dementia who has been in there since her hospital visit. She was eating and informed me she was busy, so I thanked her for talking to me and left.

In addition to this I also helped Kari track data from the data sheets at Willow River Farms and The Center and contact sheets from The Center. Another intern and I also placed data sheets into their binders.

A Game of Bingo

Today I visited with a few of the clients I don’t normally see. I went to the classroom and played bingo with 6 of the residents. I had a blast!

When I arrived at The Center, I found a resident who has recently began wandering due to her dementia. I had learned from another intern that this resident loved to play bingo. She was obsessed with the game. So I decided to try and coax her with a round of the game. As soon as I mentioned bingo she was beyond ecstatic to go back to the classroom. When  I took her back a few of her fellow classmates wanted to join in. This was the first time I would be interacting with a large group of the residents. At first I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with everyone and assist those who needed help with their cards, but then a few of the residents started helping each other out! It was really endearing to see. At the end of the game we had a two way tie and I had to promise to bring cupcakes as their prize. The request made me giggle, as I had kept saying I didn’t have a prize but one particular resident (who did not win, by the way) insisted that I bring cupcakes for the winners. Very cute.

Presenting The Walking Program.

Today Kari, I and the fellow interns gathered at University of Houston-Clear Lake and presented our findings on the walking program. I was nervous at first even though I had prepared at The Center, even presenting the poster to another intern. However, after the first thirty minutes, my nerves had calmed down. I did end up presenting to one person who asked about our poster (assisted by two fellow interns).

The experience of presenting a poster was amazing and I am very grateful for the opportunity.

UHCL Poster Presentation.

Today at The Center was all about collecting the final data that would be presented at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. After data was collected and the poster was printed, Kari presented the poster to the other interns and me. Afterwards, I was given the chance to present the poster to another intern.

At 5 pm the poster was to be presented. Kari presented the poster to the first judge so that we could see how it was done. After Kari left, I got the chance to present the poster to another member of the community who was interested in our poster.

By far, this was one of the greatest experiences that I gained while working at The Center. This presentation helped me with my public speaking, makes a nice little add on to my C.V., I got to look at other grad students research, and I got to see a grad student present a presentation. I’m very excited for the opportunities that this presentation has brought to light, such as presenting this research to a committee at The Center.


Over the past few days, the other interns have begun implementing training for Kari’s “Walking Program”. Earlier we had taught the ladies what an aerobic step was and how to do aerobic steps (walking fast for ten minutes) and where this could be done (on the track or if it’s raining in their hall). This week and last we began taking each participant to the track and walking with them. At first we walked with one individual for the entire ten minutes. The next time, we walked with the one individual for 8 minutes, and had them walk the last two alone. Next we walked 6 with and let them walk the remaning 4 on their own. We were present during the minutes they had to walk alone. Eventually, we will fade us out completely, to where we just watch them walk for ten minutes. After that, we will take them to the track and leave them there to walk alone.

So far, the training has dramatically increased aerobic walking. One participant walked for 102 minutes and did over 12,000 aerobic steps! All of the ladies accomplished aerobic steps, even the two that were not present for training last week.

I also tracked down medical information for a few residents. I wrote down what type of medication and the dosage they were given for sedation prior to dental treatment.

I also found out the diagnosis of our resident from the post, a visit by the EMT’s. As I mentioned in the previous post, she had been sent to the hospital. On Monday, they released her back to The Center, however her oxygen level decreased again and she was sent back. Her diagnosis is pleural effusion and hypoxia.

Com-qol I-5

Today at the Center, I and another intern performed two com-qol’s. The residents who participated were some of the ladies from the “Walking Program”.

Kari also updated me on the resident from my previous post. She ended up vomitting uncontrollably in the middle of the night, so they rushed her to the hospital. I was a little sad as I had brought my camera for her to play with since she had previously made her interests in it known.

I also discussed the not for profit school, The Chicago School of Psychology with Kari. She gave me a few pointers such as googling cv’s of former students.

After internship hours I emailed her about another school, Utah State University.