Making a Difference: Day in the Life of a Development Specialist

Noelle

Noelle Aubert graduated from Bridgewater State University in 2012 with a Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education and Sociology. She now works as a Developmental Specialist at South Bay Community Services.

Each and every day as a Development Specialist is special and unique in its own way. Just the other day, I got to witness the amazing privileges of my job after working consistently with a two-year-old boy diagnosed with Autism. For five months we worked on the use of sign language. On this day in particular my client finally used the sign for “more” without any prompting or assistance from me. I almost jumped out of my skin and screamed with excitement. I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm as I said to his daycare provider, “DID YOU JUST SEE THAT?!?!” She had also witnessed him use the sign and was just as happy and excited as I was. This was just one of my many proud and rewarding moments that I have had so far in my career as a Developmental Specialist and I can’t wait for many more to come.

I would have never have imagined I would have ended up in this career as I had always dreamed of being a teacher, all the way up until it was time to leave for college. As planned, I started my college career at Bridgewater State University studying Early Childhood Education double majoring in Sociology. I enjoyed college, especially my senior year where I spent my days studying learning strategies, tactics, and ways to differentiate lesson plans for young children based on their specific needs. I completed my pre-practicum in preschool and second grade, and student taught kindergarten and first grade. I came to know a multitude of different people including other teachers, children, and families. Behavior management, classroom organization, and differentiated lesson planning were only a few of the many skills that I acquired during this time; not to mention all of the children’s songs I learned.

After passing all of my MTEL’s and graduating with my Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, I was under the impression that my degree only allowed me to be a classroom teacher. That led me to start my career as a preschool teacher in Quincy, MA. In this very diverse area, I met children and families from many different homes, cultures, religions, and ethnicities. During the three years that I taught there, I collaborated with Physical Therapists, Speech Language Pathologists, Behavioral Therapists, and Developmental Specialists. Little did I know, in a short time, I would begin my career as a Developmental Specialist at South Bay Community Services.

In January of 2016, I left my job as a preschool teacher and accepted the job offer at South Bay and started my current position. Now my days consist of a car trunk filled with toys, a bag full of paperwork, and most importantly making a difference in the lives of each child and family I work with.

Each day starts off with me hopping into my car (with a large cup of coffee) and driving off to my first client’s home. When I get there, it’s a gamble of what kind of outcome I will receive from each child. It all depends on what has happened that day in the child’s life. For that hour that I am there “playing toys” with my client, the child could be learning a variety of different skills that are essential to their development. I may be working with a child on communication, whether it be getting them to use words, signs, or start to put 2-3 words together. The child may need help with their motor development, for example, walking. In this case, it may be an hour of encouraging a child to cruise along the couch with little support. In some cases, a child may need help learning to eat finger foods, so during my session, I encourage the child to use their fingers to eat desired food. All of these goals that I work on with the child are part of their IFSP (individualized family service plan) which the family and service coordinator create together. Many of these tasks may seem so simple to us but to these children the milestones are astronomical.

On top of working directly with my client, I also involve the parents or families. This could mean that I give mom a strategy such as using signs at home instead of words or giving a foster parent support on where to find ABA (applied behavior analysis) services for her foster child who has just been diagnosed with autism. All of these skills that I am teaching to my clients and families will be beneficial for them to know in order to participate fully in their daily routines and/or the community.

I am also a group leader of a toddler group at South Bay. The toddler group is similar to a daycare setting that occurs once a week for two and a half hours. Each child that is in the toddler group has qualified for Early Intervention services and is working on certain goals and outcomes. At toddler group, they have the opportunity to interact with other children and also work on these goals. The children get the chance to communicate with other children, learn independence, participate in circle time, sing songs, do art projects, and have snack with their peers. It is a great way to foster social skills and interactions with others.

In the short time of six months that I have been working at South Bay, I have already been rewarded in so many ways. Whether it be on Tuesdays at toddler group or Monday mornings working with my client with autism, I am constantly reminded that I made the right choice. While working with a team of other professionals, supervisors, and specialists who are always willing to offer their help in any way and learning new things everyday, I am seeing my efforts pay off in the lives of these children.

To learn more about Development Specialist positions and other rewarding careers at South Bay Community Services, visit http://www.southbaycommunityservices.com/careers/