The reason I chose to research within the realm of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is primarily because I grew up with three relatives that are also diagnosed on the spectrum. Growing up with people with a disability like ASD is truly eye opening. You naturally learn to be an advocate and you learn to adapt to the way they think. I have two cousins, Cody and Jarred, who are on the Autism Spectrum, and my little sister, Michelle, is 13 years old and is also on the Autism Spectrum. My relationship with them, especially Michelle, has always guided me towards a career path in the medical field. I hope to be the best kind of professional, a professional who is passionate, diligent, and patient. I aspire to be an occupational therapist (OT) because it unites all of my interests: ASD, people with disabilities, anatomy and physiology, and research. Not only does OT unite all of my interests, but it will allow me to work with a people that I am passionate about working with. My advocacy for people with disabilities will shine through in my professional work.
People with ASD have difficulty with verbal and nonverbal communication skills, social interactions, and they often adopt repetitive behaviors. ASD is a lifelong disability, it cannot be cured, but there are therapies and services that people with ASD can receive that help them to become an integral and involved part of society. In my research, I focus on these services, such as: occupational therapy, speech therapy, special education, developmental therapy, and behavioral therapy. The increase in the population of children diagnosed with ASD has been increasing rapidly since the 1990’s, and I think it is important to address this issue from a multidisciplinary perspective. My research interests are rooted deep, and I hope to continue to research ASD for the rest of my education and for the majority of my future career.