Sarah JichiciSarah Jichici discusses her practicum placement with the Therapeutic Learning Centre autism and educational services agency.

Poster presentations allow students to discuss community placements

Spending four months in a practicum placement with the Therapeutic Learning Centre was an incredible learning experience, says Sarah Jichici.

A fourth-year disability studies and psychology double major, she was one of about 50 students presenting posters documenting their placement experiences, Tuesday in the CAW Student Centre.

“I gained relationships with the staff and clients and I was able to learn methods of therapeutic intervention,” Jichici says. “I was also given the opportunity to implement therapy under the supervision of instructor therapists.”

She was inspired by seeing the practice of Applied Behavioural Analysis in an Intensive Behavioural Intervention setting, and says the experience has given her the confidence to pursue graduate education and a career in the field.

“It is such a great form of intervention, but there needs to be more services offered because it truly does help the children,” says Jichici. “Not only do the children progress in many activities of daily living, but it also gives parents excitement, joy, and encouragement to continue the therapeutic intervention at home.”

Projects presented Tuesday explored volunteer work by students in three courses: “Community Orientation to Disability Studies” by professors Jijian Voronka and Shelagh Towson, “Practicum in Psychology” by Ted Vokes, and “Practicum in Developmental Psychology” by Marcia Gragg.

Dr. Gragg’s 13 students alone put in a total of more than 1,000 hours of volunteer service to seven agencies, she noted.

“They make a connection between the community and the University, working with children with autism, teen immigrants learning to read, or children with medical issues at the hospital,” she said. “And as a capstone to their undergraduate studies, it is wonderful to have a class of 13 students learning as much from each other as they do from the instructor or their own placements.”