Name: Patricia “Patty” Eitemiller
Title: Infant Development Specialist
What is it that you do on a day to day basis?
I work as a developmental services provider for an Early Intervention program governed by Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. We serve children birth to age three who has suspected developmental delays, or a diagnosis which will likely have an impact on their overall development. As a developmental services provider, there are many facets to my job. I am part of several two person teams along with physical therapists, speech therapists, and occupational therapists that completes full developmental assessments of children referred for services. I also provide individual developmental services with the child and their parents/caregivers in the child’s home, daycare, or any community setting the child typically spends time. A large part of what I do is educating parents and caregivers with developmental strategies to help their child progress through activities they already are doing on a daily basis. I also lead a weekly community, inclusive playgroup allowing the children I see an opportunity to participate in a structured group with their same aged peers.
What are your favorite parts of your job?
I love the fact that I am not behind a desk all day/every day. A large part of my day is spent traveling from home to home so as you can imagine each day is different. I love being able to see a child do something for the first time that their parent or caregiver may not have thought was possible. And the relationships I am able to develop with families as we work together to help their children.
How did you get into your field? Was it something you always wanted to do or something you discovered bit by bit?
I knew early on that I wanted to work with children, but I did not aspire to be a teacher. I took a psychology class in high school and enjoyed it so much that I decided to make it my major in undergrad. While still completing my degree, I got a job at a residential school working with children with significant developmental delays, serious mental health issues and other emotional and behavioral challenges. It was there I began to wonder if the lives of the children I was working with would have been different if they had received services earlier in their lives. It was then I learned about Early Intervention and realized that was the direction I wanted to take my career.
What aspect of your work most surprised you? (Either in a good way or a bad way.)
That’s a tough question. I think how much I truly love what I do surprised me a little in the beginning.
Does your education (high school, college or graduate degree) matter in terms of the work that you do today?
Yes, in order to work in my position I have to have a graduate degree in Early Childhood Special Education or a related field. This field is constantly changing and evolving and there is always so much more to learn so continuing education is helpful as well.
What environmental factors have the greatest impact on your job satisfaction? (For example: co-workers, compensation, company culture, flexibility, work/life balance, etc.)
Flexibility. Though technically I work in an education field, my job, unlike traditional teachers is 12 months a year. I travel a lot so being able to take time off during times when most others are not traveling is a nice perk.
Any career advice you’d like to pass along to others? (My audience is comprised mainly of adults in their twenties and thirties.)
Find something you love doing, but remember balance between work and life outside of work is so important so that you can continue to love your job… 🙂