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In Partnership with Towson University
As Towson University students, the three of us knew that the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) was affiliated with Kennedy Krieger, which sparked our interest. Before our full-time internships with MCDD, we were unfamiliar with the mission or the core functions of the MCDD. To gain a better understanding of our role as MCDD interns, we spoke with a former MCDD intern, and learned that we would be exposed to a variety of projects that contribute to the core functions of the MCDD, such as pre-service training and preparation, community services, research and evaluation, and information dissemination.
We also learned that each of us would be able to individually tailor our internship experience based on our interests, which is unusual in undergraduate internships. Highlights of our internships included researching and learning about resources in communities throughout Maryland, working with self-advocacy groups, working directly with families and individuals with special health care needs through the “Family Perspective Experience” in partnership with Maggie’s Light, Inc., and attending a variety of statewide conferences and trainings.
These opportunities allowed us to gain knowledge and first-hand experiences that will be beneficial to us in our future professional careers. The primary focus of the Family Perspective Experience is to gain a better understanding of the challenges and complexities families caring for children with special health care needs encounter on a daily basis. We also learned the importance of networking internally and externally regarding services, resources, and information that help families and individuals with special health care needs. Our internships required us to work productively and independently, though the MCDD staff was always available when needed. The skills we acquired while working for MCDD will be vital for our success in the professional world, regardless of the career path that we each choose.
The overall experience has broadened our minds to think more about accessibility, resources, and how to enhance quality of care and life for families and individuals with special health care needs. Individually, we each have become more comfortable in working not only for, but directly with, individuals with disabilities, and have come to understand the important concept of “People First.”
This article is authored by Samantha Bonvegna (Health Science, Towson University), Renee Nelson (Health Care Management, Towson University), Kara Paseka (Health Science, Towson University).
For more information about internship placements between Towson University and the MCDD, please call 443-923-9555.
MCDD News & Updates
Passage of the Equal Employment Act:
A free resource that provides access to information and support for individuals and families living with developmental disabilities.