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Internships with Individuals with IDDs

Many colleges and universities require students to complete an internship in order to graduate with a bachelor or higher level degree. Classroom studies lay a wonderful foundation to understanding and gaining knowledge in one’s field of study, but internships allow a student to see first-hand how the vocabulary, case studies, and other knowledge are put into action. 

According to, “interns not only gain technical knowledge within the industry of their choice, but they also learn how to interact with professionals in a workplace setting, and develop essential soft skills like time management, organization, adaptability, problem-solving and teamwork.”

In this blog, we’ll highlight some of the wonderful work Baddour Center interns have completed and discuss other internship related topics, such as:

  • Occupational therapy internships

  • About our interns

  • Hannah’s project: “happy feet” dance fitness class

  • Tyshianna’s Project: Fall Prevention Guide and Education

Occupational Therapy Internships 

You may be wondering — what type of internships does The Baddour Center offer? We have facilitated internships for many different career paths including:

  • Psychology

  • Social work

  • Music therapy

  • Occupational therapy

  • Grant writing

However, both of our latest internships were students of occupational therapy. According to the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework, occupational therapy is “the therapeutic use of everyday life occupations with persons, groups, or population for the purpose of enhancing or enabling participation.”

An occupational therapist’s main objective is to help individuals participate in things they need to do or want to do through therapeutic use of everyday activities. Occupational therapists meet individuals where they are, build rapport, and provide support in whatever way in order to enable and/or enhance independent living. 

About Our Interns

Hannah Martin and Tyshianna Edwards, doctoral level occupational therapy students at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi, spent 14 weeks finishing their capstone projects at The Baddour Center. Each of their projects were mutually beneficial to the needs of The Baddour Center residents, as well as their development as students. 

Hannah’s Project: “Happy Feet” Dance Fitness Class

While residents of the Baddour Center are meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s physical activity guidelines for adults with disabilities, we discovered that residents can perceive exercise as an obligatory task, meaning they have little to no motivation to do it. 

In an effort to encourage participation and increase motivation in physical activity among residents, Hannah created a dance fitness program called “Happy Feet.” While the overarching goal of this 8-week program was to promote physical activity, another purpose of “Happy Feet” was to disguise exercising through fun dances and music. 

Due to the wide range of functional levels among residents on campus, the program is divided into three class sections, ranging from beginners to advanced. This class structure was created to encourage optimal participation in the classes, meet each resident where they currently are, and provide them the right amount of challenge. 

Each class consisted of a gratifying activity, warm up, dance choreography, and a cool down. As an added incentive and fun enticement to attend class each week, participants prepared for and performed in an ending recital to showcase what they learned!

When asked about her internship at the Baddour Center, Hannah stated that she had “experienced nothing but joy the past 14 weeks here at The Baddour Center.” 

“Every single day brought laughter and smiles. I would truly consider my time here a mountain top experience!The residents have taught me several things that I am now challenged to live out — to be intentional with every single person I come in contact with, to laugh a little more, and to see the brighter side of every situation,” Hannah said.

Tyshianna’s Project: Fall Prevention Guide and Education

The Baddour Center recognized a need for occupational therapy services to help address the falls seen among residents within the community. So, Tyshianna’s capstone project consisted of developing a fall prevention guide, which contains OT tips and strategies that can be implemented.

This guide contains information on various components of fall safety education, such as:

  • General fall safety

  • Proper footwear

  • Proper use of assistive devices

  • Recommendations for environmental modifications

The guide also includes examples of activities that educate and engage residents on fall prevention strategies and ways to grade the activities based on the skill level of the residents. Finally, a presentation was developed and shared to educate the staff on the information and techniques. 

Another part of Tyshianna’s project focused on doing activities aimed at teaching residents strategies they can use to decrease their fall risk, such as:

  • Identifying and describing fall safety hazards

  • Engaging in a group of residents in balance-target exercises

  • Playing fall prevention games

“Baddour will always have a special place in my heart. It is just such a welcoming and loving environment,” Tyshianna shared. “I made some truly amazing buddies here. Both residents and staff played a big role in a huge chapter of my life that I will never forget, and I am filled with tons of gratitude that I got a chance to be part of the Baddour family,” she stated.

Gain Experience Through Internships

Looking for a place where you can gain experience in your area of Bachelor, Master, or Doctorate level of study? The Baddour Center has opportunities to observe and learn from and with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through its internship program. Over the years, we have facilitated observation hours and interactive internships in nearly every division on-campus, including psychology interns, social work interns, music therapy interns, occupational therapy interns, manufacturing interns, grant writing interns, and more. Learn about The Baddour Center’s Career and Internship Opportunities by contacting us today!

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Posted by Brittany Rodgers at 09:22