Natalia Anzaldua at AOTA Conference with sign

Natalia Anzaldúa

McAllen, Texas

Birth Place
Monterrey, Mexico

Undergraduate Major

Why Occupational Therapy?
Originally my mind was going into special education and helping out in school, but it never felt like it was enough. Special education teachers do so much, but I felt like there was always something more you could do to help these kids out.

When I found out about occupational therapy, I was like, 'This is what this is what I want. This is what I need.'

If something's impeding from you being able to do something meaningful, then occupational therapy can help, whether that be, I don't know, walking or riding, or getting your hair done, or putting on makeup, or just like talking to people, understanding your emotions, like regulating yourself, anything. I'm so excited that whatever brought me to occupational therapy, kept me there. 

Life in the Nation's Capital
D.C. is the capital of the U.S., and you notice once you get here... Everyone's doing something. The way people talk over here is more respectful, welcoming, and very forward. It changes your mindset.

This is where change happens.

Being here in D.C. at GW, with such a diverse cohort, is really nice to see everything and all the different viewpoints. I have friends who don't just look like me and don't just think like me. So, I find it very interesting to make these friends and understand where they come from and what their story is.

Volunteering at the White House Easter Egg Roll
I got a little heart warmed when I got to see all these children and all these parents who were so excited for egg decorating. I would grab the eggs and bring them to them— because going up to a table surrounded by children and parents can be really intimidating for some folks. 

Just seeing the stress in the parent's shoulder, trying to hold their backpack, or wheelchair, or carrier, and saying "Thank you so much. I love what you guys do, creating great things, and you have helped my child in such a way." I would talk to the parents as well, like,

'This is the first year, we're making history. This is awesome to be in the White House and getting to change some activities... It's a step in the right direction.'

Future Goals: Advocacy and Education
I have always known I wanted to work with children and the dynamic they have with their parents in a clinical setting. We don't really talk about how to educate their parents on what it is we're doing, like, if they should be doing the same thing at home.

I want to do my capstone on interviewing a bunch of parents and their children getting occupational therapy... and see if we could get some sort of educational pamphlet. Sometimes these parents don't even get a pamphlet about what their children's diagnosis is, or if it's even curable. Sometimes they think they're going to be cured, and it's like, "Has no one told you? Your child's going to live with this the rest of their life. You guys are going to have to adapt." So, personally, I don't know exactly what, but I want to work with children and parents in that clinical setting.

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