Student Employee Spotlight: Aaron Strong

Aaron Strong, Occupational Therapy

How long have you worked at CDS?
For a year and a half

What division do you work in at CDS?
I work in the Community Connections skill building program, an on-campus day program for adults with disabilities.

Tell me about your experiences at CDS, any memorable moments?
I have many unbreakable bonds with consumers. You develop relationships that are life changing for both you and the consumer. I have had so many life changing experiences. There is no better feeling than when a consumer smiles at you or laughs with you because you helped them with a need they had. I remember my first day at CDS when I saw a consumer driving a motorized wheelchair using his chin and tongue and later that day he was completing art projects using adaptive art utensils with his mouth. It just made me realize that just because they have a disability does not mean they cannot participate in everyday activities. It is up to us to figure out how to adapt techniques to each client we see and help them strive to live life to the fullest.
What's your major?  Occupational Therapy
Will working at CDS help you meet career goals?
Yes, because CDS teaches you how to adapt different activities or tasks for each individual client, so they can achieve the highest level of independence, which is one of the main goals of Occupational Therapy. This job has helped me hone my creative skills and learn how to adapt tasks to each individual because everyone’s condition presents differently and there may be guidelines to each condition, but we have to remember everyone is unique and has different needs.
What's it like working as a student at WMU?
It is amazing. It provides you real world experience that no textbook or professor can teach you. I personally believe all individuals going into healthcare fields should have hands on experiences with some type of population before they graduate. This will just further enhance their confidence and increase their interpersonal skills.
Have you learned anything here that you'll take when you graduate?
Yes, my main take away is to treat everyone the same no matter what their disability. Everyone is human and has the same needs, some people just have more difficulty fulfilling their needs and that is where we can step in and change their lives as healthcare professionals.
In 5 words or less, why do you work at CDS?
Aid consumers in enjoying life!