Meet Shannon Flaherty. Shannon is a third-year student in Drake's Occupational Therpay Doctorate (OTD) program and will graduate in 2022! In her last year of the OTD program, Shannon had the opportunity to complete a doctoral capstone experience at A Horse Connection in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
Mondays and Tuesdays were spent completing office work and personal objectives. Wednesday through Sunday was spent working with clients of varying ages and diagnoses utilizing equine movement as our tool during OT sessions. Additionally, I had the responsibility to help care for the horses and clean up around the barn, as well as work on my own mental health by loving on/riding the horses!
Wow, there have been so many rewarding aspects of my doctoral capstone ranging from developing my skills as a practitioner, coming to love/be interested in working with the pediatric population, and getting to experience my own mental health benefits from working around horses. However, as I am filling this form out, I would say my most rewarding experience is getting the news that one of our new clients who has been coming for a little over a month now just pulled herself up from sitting to standing all on her own for the first time ever after her therapy session that night!
I would say what attracted me most about Drake’s OTD program was the distance to home and the professors!
My career goals have remained the same with my passion for working in the geriatric population. I am also highly motivated to start my own practice, within the next 5-10 years, utilizing the equine movement of horses via hippotherapy Occupational Therapy!
Drake prepared me in many ways for what it means to become an OT practitioner! I had the hands-on experience as well as the education in various areas of practice within OT taught me so much.
Go with the flow and enjoy your experience. There were a few bumps in both my personal life this year and throughout the capstone experience that I have just had to learn to adapt and overcome!