Highlighting Hounds – Kaelyn Patch

Happy Summer, Hounds! On this week of Highlighting Hounds, we are congratulating Kaelyn Patch for the successful ending of her internship at the New England Center for Children (NECC) in Southborough, MA! During the spring semester, Kaelyn gained practical experience using Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, learning how to help children learn important daily skills and lessen problematic behaviors. To pursue her goal of becoming a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), Kaelyn is pursuing a Master’s degree in Applied Behavioral Analysis at Assumption! Read the blog below to learn more about Kaelyn’s internship at NECC!

Kaelyn Patch ’24

Describe a typical day as an intern at NECC. What are your day-to-day tasks and responsibilities?

NECC is a special education school for children with autism. I worked on one of the residential teams during school hours, helping students who live in a residential setting to develop adaptive communication and living skills. A Part-Time Intern is responsible for the direct care and utilizing applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy of students in the classroom and/or residence. This includes knowledge and implementation of students’ clinical, educational, vocational, and daily living objectives.

Were you involved in any major projects or accomplishments during your internship?

I was involved in developing the skill acquisition and behavior reduction goals of each of the children on the team. I was able to help the students meet their Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals by assisting them in their classes, in turn reducing their challenging behavior by following their student guidelines. I ran nursing desensitization procedures to help the students develop more positive experiences with aversive tasks and achieve more independence.

What are your career goals? How will this internship help you reach those goals?

My career goal is to become a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). This internship will help me reach this goal because it allowed me to collaborate with BCBAs and get hands-on experience in my field of interest.

What are your key takeaways from your experience? What skills did you gain from this internship?

I learned valuable behavior management and skill acquisition skills. I learned valuable skills using de-escalation procedures for challenging moments. I learned data collection skills as everything is recorded to track student progress. I also built rapport with the students and was excited to be a part of their progress!

In this role, I expanded my verbal communication skills and ability to work on a team. These skills are critical in ABA as the environment is fast-paced with challenging situations you may encounter. You need to be able to communicate with colleagues and help them in challenging moments.

Why did you apply to this internship? What aspects of the position/company interested you?

I applied to this internship to get experience in an ABA setting for my internship class. I was interested in NECC because I have previously worked as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) at a public school in a special education classroom, but with the specialization of NECC, they have far more resources to enrich their students’ lives.

How has your Assumption career prepared you for this internship?

As an ABA minor, I have taken the classes to prepare me/expose me to this position. In addition, I have worked with Dr. Nicole Pantano to do research in the field of ABA as a part of the DCLAS Summer Scholars Fellowship. My advisor, Dr. Karen Lionello-Denolf, is the head of the ABA department and has been instrumental in my journey overall at Assumption and my experience with ABA.

What advice would you give to a student who wants to participate in an internship?

Don’t go into the experience expecting to be perfect. Be open to growth and embrace the journey!

If you are interested in being featured on Highlighting Hounds, please email us at careerdevelopment@assumption.edu!

By Abby Sproles
Abby Sproles Graduate Assistant Career Advisor