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PHD OT, Developmentally Disabled Children

I ask for admission to your distinguished program to pursue my education to the terminal degree in my field based on my intense passion for occupational justice. I have been inspired to believe that all of us, especially the weakest and most vulnerable among us, have a right to live each day in dignity, which includes being occupied in activities that provide meaning and value to their lives. I want to give my life to research into the challenges faced by individuals and groups, especially children, who have developmental disabilities; in particular, I look forward to studying and publishing about those who suffer from degenerative brain diseases. Nevertheless, I do not want to develop a myopic focus on children; rather, I want to be an extremely competent generalist in OT. This is why XXXX U is my first choice, because of my profound respect for the comprehensive nature of your program. My passion for the subject of developmentally disabled children is matched only by my dedication to the study of dementia in older people. I also want to work with our elderly population as well and always stay very engaged in our struggle to challenge, inspire, and empower them to higher levels of autonomy.

I have not yet been to the Developing World. Already 28 years old, I am anxious to go. I desperately need to practice my Spanish, put it into action. It is fundamental to my philosophy of life, justice, progress, that we share our accomplishments with our global neighbors in countries that do not have the resources or the will to make progress on their own. I have my eyes set on Latin America and I look forward to your help, once I am enrolled in your program, deciding where and how to go about my first adventure in OT south of the border. Since my central, long term professional goal is to make important contributions to our struggle for greater independence and dignity for the developmentally disabled, I want to fight stigmas and provide opportunity through higher levels of integration into community activities, bringing new, sustained hope to the lives of those who have dementia as well as the developmentally disabled by laboring to create new opportunities through innovative community initiatives.

During high school my brother died in a car accident. His death helped me to better appreciate the value of life, how profound precious it is, and to respect it anew in each and every face, especially the faces of those who need me most. While a sophomore at the University of XXXX, working towards my Psychology Degree, my mom became sick with Frontal Temporal Dementia-a rare form of early onset dementia—at only 48 years old. I spent a great deal of time taking care of her while going to school and this is why I feel strongly that my less-than-stellar GPA is not an accurate reflection of my potential to excel in your program.

My mom was a special education teacher who encouraged me to work with people who have disabilities. I would often volunteer in her classroom growing up. Taking care of her also opened my eyes to the injustices and hardships of certain populations of people. I took her wheelchair to the mall one day to try to understand how hard it can be to perform basic activities. Many of the fitting rooms would not accommodate wheelchairs and it was hard to reach things that were higher up. Soon, I found myself coordinating monthly events for adults with developmental disabilities. The centerpiece of my professional activity so far has been my experience as a live-in assistant at XXXX, a home for adults with developmental disabilities, where I learned a lot about life. Every afternoon I would take the core members for a walk to get a drink. We would sit and laugh together for what seemed to be forever. Watching Joni wave at her shadow inspired me to do so as well. Cars would pass by, Joni would smile and wave; Adam kept a tally of those who waved back.

After my mom died in 2009, I worked with young adults who have emotional, drug and alcohol, and behavior problems in secure residential settings. I also served as an AmeriCorps member, working on the creation of a mentorship program for minority youth who plan to be the first person in their family to attend college. After deep reflection and careful thought I have decided that a career in OT will fit in best with my goals and values and will also provide me with a vehicle to use my skills and talents in the most effective ways possible. I must live for all three of us now, my brother, my mom, each day we will wave at our shadows and smile.

I thank you for your attention to my application.


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