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My name is Zenshia Baker Dunn. I am a senior at the University of Vermont, studying exercise science. I am taking a gap year next year and then plan on attending grad school for Occupational Therapy with a specialty in pediatrics. I have been working with Vermont Adaptive for the past few years and have learned so much.
I have had a range of athletes with disabilities. As an instructor, every athlete learns in a different way and you learn to adapt and adjust your teaching to what works best for them. One of my most memorable athletes this year was a little boy I had every Wednesday. For the first lesson, we were on the snow for about 20 minutes and he did not want to learn how to ski. I had to build trust with him that I was not a “bad guy” and would be willing to work with what he wanted to do. For this lesson, I made dinosaur tracks with my helmet upside down because that is what he wanted to do. The following lesson I got him to glide around on the snow and learn how to stop. Each lesson he made improvements and when he would come back the next week he would have the muscle memory to keep doing it. Then we made snowmen as a reward. In each lesson we built trust, and I was able to get him to stay outside longer and take more runs down the bunny hill. By our last lesson, he was waving to me from the steps of the bus because he was excited to be outside and on the snow. During this lesson, I was able to get him to swerve around a course on the bunny hill and stop at the end. It was wonderful to be able to build trust with him and watch him improve so much from the first lesson.
To learn more about the internship program at Vermont Adaptive or to apply, go to: https://www.vermontadaptive.org/internships/