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PsyD Clinical, ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome

July 26, 2015


XXXX University is my first choice to earn the PsyD for a variety of reasons in addition to my profound admiration of your advanced curriculum and the streamlined character of your program. My drive to earn the PsyD at XXXX is a direct result of my extensive experience with special needs children—beginning with my own 2 children. My daughter Ingrid will turn 15 in May; intellectually gifted, she has done outstandingly well given the fact that she was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in pre-school. My son Lars, who just turned 12, still struggles with learning disabilities and has many characteristics of ADHD.

As I continued to reflect on and learn from our experience, I became increasingly engaged with the subject of psychological assessment and the pivotal role that it plays in diagnosis and subsequently treatment. I think in terms of windows of opportunity, especially in the case of my daughter. I hope to publish in this area and give it my all for the balance of my professional life. Thus, it would be a great honor for me to have the privilege of studying under Dr. XXXX whose work on assessment I deeply admire, along with Dr. XXXX in the area of school-based consultation and Dr. XXXX in the areas of risk, resiliency, transition and diversity issues.

My goal of earning a Doctorate of Psychology at XXXX University is informed by my passion for helping others, a passion that grew out of my experiences with my own childhood medical trauma, teenage learning difficulties, raising children with special education needs and my struggle as a single parent as well—on top of two decades of professional experience as a school psychologist. I first became aware of the benefits of psychological intervention and counseling when I was a teenager. Following a childhood illness that required extended hospitalization, I struggled throughout my teens with my own learning challenges and behavioral concerns. These issues were greatly intensified by the economic problems my family faced and the fallout from moving no less than ten times by the time I turned seventeen. Recognizing the lack of structure in our life, and wanting me to acquire positive study habits and motivation, my mother enrolled me in Catholic School. As part of my high school journey, I was fortunate enough to receive psychological counseling.  The benefits of this experience helped me enormously to succeed socially and emotionally as well as academically. The feeling of hope and gratitude that I took with me from my counseling experience helped to empower me to establish a peer counseling organization at my high school, where none had existed before.

In my 20s and 30’s, the challenges of raising children, a divorce when they were still little, and the pressures of my continuing education and reintegration into the workforce led me to further psychological treatment as well as other modes of therapy, including trauma workshops which were something still quite novel at the time. I am convinced that the emotional growth and pragmatic skill set that I have nourished over the years will empower me to excel in your PsyD program and make creative contributions to your academic community. I profoundly enjoy gardening, long-distance running, and I am in the process of becoming a yoga instructor. These activities have further enhanced my sense of psychological wholeness along with my fervent determination to help others.

After earning my MA and beginning my practice as a school psychologist, I began working with students diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, since, as a result of my daughter Ingrid’s struggle, by this time I was recognized by my many of my peers as a specialist in the area of autism. My Master’s studies had only touched on Asperger’s Syndrome, however, as this diagnosis was still new at this time; thus, I found myself devoting countless hours to independent research, educating myself about the symptoms and behaviors related to ASD and the implications for school based interventions. In the years that followed, I continued my personal research in Autism along with ASD, ADHD, and a multitude of other learning disabilities, with the goal of helping individuals in a school setting.

I have been faced with the challenge of balancing my duty and loyalty to the school system on the one hand, and serving as an advocate for the student and their family on the other hand, which has probably been the most difficult aspect of my work so far. Dealing with this tension on a case-by-case basis for the last 20 years has left me fascinated by issues of professional ethics in child and school psychology, especially in the case of special needs children and this is one of the areas in which I would also like very much to publish in the future as I continue to cultivate my professional sensitivity and leadership abilities.

At this stage in my career, I have a well-developed understanding of the growing demands put on school systems due to governmental requirements and complex, ever-changing societal issues.  This has and will continue to increase the need for school psychologists with exceptional capacity to deal with numerous complex issues simultaneously. I have always had a strong sense of motivation and responsibility to stay current in my field and I believe that XXXX’s PsyD Program represents the ideal platform on which to continue to grow in every way, particularly as a professional psychologist. I feel strongly that, after earning the PsyD, I will be able to realize my fullest potential as a school psychologist based on my experience of almost 2 decades of discovery of my old children's need for involvement in special education, on top of my professional responsibilities and advocating for friends and family members on how to navigate their children's needs. I have developed great empathy for and an understanding of the day-to-day issues faced by special needs students and their families and I look forward to sharing some of my most memorable experiences in class discussions at XXXX.

My current job is an excellent fit for me while my children complete high school and I earn my PsyD. After we complete these hurdles, however, I hope to transition to a position of greater responsibility that will enable me to put my leadership skills to fuller use in the area of program development; and I hope to teach at some point in an institution of higher learning. In the same way that attending college is now a natural next step for many of the students with whom I work, becoming a professor of psychology on a college campus will be my natural next step forward, all of us snatching victory together from the jaws of defeat.

I thank you for considering my application to your distinguished program.

 

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