Daniel Heckathorn interned with The Heritage Company, an academy for neurodiverse adolescents. Read more about his internship here!
What did you do during this experience?
I worked in the Spark Academy with neurodiverse adolescents focusing on skills development using a neurological framework and trauma-integrated approach. I supervised and mentored students on an assigned home, ensuring the proper implementation of clinical treatment plans and assignments as outlined by their treatment team. I was essentially part of every aspect of the boys' lives. I could be with them from when they woke up in the morning until they went to bed. I went off campus to activities in the community and helped them learn valuable life skills as well. What resulted were boys learning how to cope with their specific problems and seeing some graduate from the program and even thank me at times for my help. Though there are difficult times working with a population such as this, the high points are certainly rewarding.
What did you learn from this experience?
The most useful thing I learning was what it is really like working in a treatment setting without having to become a therapist first. It helped me to better realize what I want to do with my career as well as learn more about my own limits and potential.My courses on adolescent development and clinical psychology were of great worth in this internship. I was able to have some background knowledge on psychological disorders to better sympathize with the boys when they would confide in me.I developed professional skills such as leadership, organization, accountability, and stress-tolerance.