NYU selected the Department of Occupational Therapy's Shanteria Carr as an exceptional student to highlight among the more than 18,000 graduates in the Class of 2021.
Dr. Shanteria Carr currently works as an occupational therapist for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). She chose to pursue her clinical doctorate in Occupational Therapy at NYU Steinhardt because of the program’s flexibility. “The program allows practicing practitioners to work full time while managing courses,” says Shanteria. “I was able to select specialization courses based on my clinical area of pediatrics practice and leadership, which allowed me to develop my skills as a clinician further.”
Although her courses were online, they were streamed live in real-time, which meant she could still foster relationships with professors and engage with other doctoral candidates. In addition to her schoolwork, Shanteria conducted research that ultimately led to the development of educational resources for parents. After graduation, Shanteria plans to transition to providing early intervention services through community-based programs as an occupational therapist in Newark, New Jersey. She will also start a career in academics to continue her research on the eradication of health disparities within the healthcare profession.
Read the full interview with Shanteria.
What inspired you to become a pediatric occupational therapist?
I initially encountered children with disabilities in 2008 while working at a daycare. Many of the children had developmental delays. They were from low-income communities whose families had challenges navigating their child’s disability and accessing the proper resources. Once I found out about the occupational therapy profession, I was captivated by the holistic approach occupational therapists use to increase children’s engagement in daily activities. Engaging with the children and families from the daycare shaped my professional trajectory. It led me to become an occupational therapist with a desire to provide meaningful intervention and resources to minoritized children and families to improve their quality of life in all aspects.
How have your studies at NYU impacted your current work in the DCPS?
During my studies at NYU, professors continuously encouraged us to practice reflexivity within our clinical practice. This process helped me critically examine my role as an occupational therapist and improve my clinical skills to provide adequate services to the children and families in the DCPS. From my education, I have adopted a strength-based approach to evaluating children and increased my utilization of health literacy principles when educating children and families. These changes have strengthened my ability to identify and build upon a child’s abilities versus focusing on their limitations or disabilities.
What did your doctoral research focus on and what resulted from that research?
My research focused on identifying effective interventions to teach parents about development for children ages 3–5 to increase the early identification of children with developmental disabilities so children and families can get the services and support they need. From my research, I developed educational resources for parents that cultivate a deeper understanding of how children develop and provided parents with activities at each age to foster development. The purpose of the educational resources is to empower parents to advocate on their child’s behalf when delays are detected and make appropriate referrals for occupational therapy services within the school system.
Q&A profile courtesy of NYU Central – access the original article and meet more recent graduates from across the University.