My name is Andrew and I just recently graduated from the UAB Honors Program with my major in Psychology, and an emphasis on developmental disorders. I just moved to Philadelphia with my fiancé.
I love volunteering. I just finished volunteering at a summer camp for children with autism spectrum disorders. Before that, I was volunteering at an early intervention center for children with developmental disabilities.
I volunteered at two autism research labs where I assisted in clinical trials and attended to participants and patients. I also developed and assisted with several studies. I presented my own study's findings at the 2012 International Meeting for Autism Research, for which I received a travel grant.
I no longer work at either of those labs, but instead have begun working more directly with individuals with special needs. I volunteered at a residential treatment facility for children with autism spectrum disorder and severe emotional distress. There, I was allowed to work with individuals with autism spectrum disorder in various activities, such as arts and crafts and gardening.
For the last year I had also been volunteering weekly at another center for early intervention with toddlers with a wide variety of developmental disorders, intellectual disabilities, and physical impairments. I worked one on one with different children from week to week, working on meeting preset goals and assessing their progress with parents. I also coached several elementary schools in chess part-time. Two of the schools even placed in the Alabama Scholastic State Championship in 2013! As much fun as this all was, I had to leave it behind when I moved.
I also worked briefly as an ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) Counselor for a residential treatment facility for children and adults with autism, acquired brain injury, challenging behaviors, and severe emotional distress. I taught children ages 11 to 19 in various areas of academics while recording behavioral data for functional assessment by a multidisciplinary team. I also learn proper behavioral intervention techniques, first aid, CPR, and deescalation methods. I believe this will greatly benefit me in my ability to teach individuals with special needs.
There is no feeling quite like seeing a child reach a goal and knowing you were a huge part of it. I plan to work with children with special needs, specifically autism spectrum disorder and ADHD, as a career. I will be pursuing ABA certification and a doctorate in Clinical Psychology in upcoming years.
On a personal note, I was diagnosed with mild-moderate Asperger's Syndrome when I was seven. It is because I wanted to understand myself better that I originally entered the autism research field. Do not let my diagnosis deter you, though, as I am extremely high functioning and it actually gives me an advantage over most others when it comes to teaching. I am very detail-oriented, so I can pick apart problems that students might have, in order to help them figure it out themselves. Each child learns differently, and I do not give up finding each child's most effective means of learning. I believe all people have their own strengths, and the flip-side of that is they also have their weaknesses. No one is a "perfect person" but we are all perfect individuals.
I have always been very fond of teaching. Currently, I coach chess at several elementary schools, and I do one on one private lessons. I find it indescribably rewarding to help another person and see that "Ah hah!" look on his or her face. I have been teaching others since I was an adolescent, starting my intermediate school's chess club with the help of my teacher, who is still a friend of mine.
Whatever the subject, I love to teach. If I am a bit rusty on some topic, I will put forth my own extra time to become proficient at it.
I am extremely patient, as one would expect from a competitive chess player, and very passionate about all I do. One thing I can promise is that I will never give up. The more difficult a challenge, the more rewarding the feeling when you finally overcome it.
Thank you for taking the time to read about me. I look forward to meeting you.
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