Former Student's Practicum Translates to Professional Practice
In the fall of 2013, I began a Masterâ€™s in Social Work through Indiana University with a concentration in mental health and addictions. My initial plan was to work with adults struggling with severe mental illness, ideally at a residential treatment facility. My first practicum, at the Indiana Resource Center for Autism, came as a bit of a surprise given the plan I had outlined for myself which was to concentrate on mental illness rather than developmental disabilities. What ended up to be more surprising, as I soon learned, was the way developmental issues and mental health intersect, and how uniquely prepared I am to work as a therapist because of my experience and knowledge of these issues.
Because of my time at the Center and the experience I gained there as a student in the Interdisciplinary Training Program, I was able to work for the Autism Society of Indiana researching and developing a roadmap of services for individuals in the state who had a dual diagnosis of autism and mental illness. The research I did focused on identifying services in Indiana and how they related to specific therapeutic techniques as well as the diagnostic challenges that can arise for clinicians working with this population.
I am now employed by a large community mental health agency in a school setting, working with 12 to 19-year-olds in an underserved, urban area. I have been struck by the number of clients I work with who struggle with some sort of developmental issue (ranging from Intellectual Disability to Autism to ADHD) and how imperative it is to meet and work with these children in their natural setting. Thankfully, my time at the Indiana Resource Center for Autism as an interdisciplinary trainee, gave me the knowledge and resources to understand some of their unique challenges and needs as well as the strategies that are most likely to allow them to flourish.
MEAGHAN RANDALL â€“ Licensed Social Worker (LSW)