http://www.supportivelivinginc.org

Supportive Living Inc.

Neuro-Fit Intern

May - August 2021 • Lexington, MA

What I liked

SLI's Neuro-Fit Assisted Exercise Program is an evidence-based exercise class designed for people living with functional limitations caused by a brain injury or other neurological condition. Each session features aerobic exercises to improve cardiovascular fitness, functional exercise to improve strength and mobility, as well as challenging balance and gait exercises. Interns are responsible for designing and executing exercise programs, and provide one-on-one instruction to help participants work towards specific and individualized fitness goals. I enjoyed the freedom this internship allowed me to explore my knowledge and interests. I was provided with a portfolio for every participant I worked with, and a basis for an exercise program that they typically follow. I was given the opportunity to conduct my own research and alter their exercise program to experiment with what was and wasn't effective for each participant given their brain injury and specific needs.

What I wish was different

Prior to the start of the internship, I wish the program had required us to conduct some prior research about the brain injuries we would likely be working with. We were given a presentation on each of these injuries during orientation, but during my first few exercise sessions I felt a bit lost not knowing the specific deficits I should expect to encounter, and how to alter exercise programs according to these deficits.

Advice

For every participant you work with, take the time to know their story. The most effective and meaningful exercise sessions were those that enabled each participant to engage in an activity that brought them joy. Mental health is equally as important as physical health in a field of this nature. Taking the initiative to learn about what brought each participant joy allowed me to cater an exercise program specifically to their wants and needs.
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Fitness and Research Intern at the Brain Injury Wellness Center

June - August 2018 • Lexington, MA

What I liked

It was a wonderful learning experience. It was a great work environment, and I was able to form close relationships with many brain injury survivors. I was given a lot of freedom and agency, and so I was able to learn a lot about brain injury and exercise. I also had a lot of choice in which programs I was interested in working on; all interns had to work on the exercise program, but we could tell our supervisor if we were interested in other programs. Therefore, I also worked on the cognitive, expressive arts, mindfulness, and horticulture programs, which was a lot of fun.

What I wish was different

I wish there were more bonding activities for interns, and I wish we had more training on brain injuries. We did learn a lot, but as someone very interested in psychology and neuroscience, I wish we had opportunities to learn more.

Advice

Don't worry if you aren't a fitness expert. That was my biggest concern coming into this, as a lot of this job is helping people through fitness programs. However, you will have a lot of time and help in learning about fitness training. Instead, apply to this job if you are interested in brain injury, and you want to form close relationships with brain-injured individuals. Apply to this job if you are willing to be flexible and learn a lot.
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