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Testimonials of Prior PSY 3338/HON 3339G Course Participants

 “..At the beginning of this class, the only expectation I had was gaining knowledge and experience in working with a population I wasn’t familiar with. I knew it would be a great opportunity to be outside of the classroom and gain hands-on experience. After taking this class, my expectations were met and exceeded. Not only was I able to learn a good amount about the intellectually disabled, but I also was able to interact with the population and learn about each person individually. I learned how every disorder has its range of symptoms which affect each person differently. I was also able to understand and experience the varying living conditions ID people reside in and how different the care can be at each facility. A side of the class I was not expecting to gain an understanding in, was the court system. It was very rewarding to me to be able to observe hearings at the Austin State Hospital, which involved a variety of mentally ill individuals with diverse clinical diagnoses. I was amazed to learn the only way for an individual to be involuntarily committed to ASH was if they were a danger to themselves or others. I also enjoyed seeing how the psychologists, psychiatrists and lawyers discussed these patients and treatments hey believed to work best for them… In conclusion, this class was an extremely rewarding experience due to the amount of information I was able to learn…No matter what graduate school I end up at, I know I will choose a career which benefits others and helps to improve their overall living conditions.” - CM

“This semester I had the privilege of serving as an appointed court visitor for the Travis County Probate Court. While my duty was to inspect the residential conditions of mentally disabled individuals, to make sure they were receiving adequate care under their court-ordered guardians, I learned so much more; including the fact that as an able-bodied individual, I have a civic responsibility to empathize with fellow human beings that happen to be intellectually disabled. Humility, awareness, empathy, and discipline are among the many attributes that I have gained from this experience. I visited multiple wards around the city of Austin, and each of them had a different story…. I think service-learning is so important, and I’m very glad I was able to participate. I plan of utilizing everything I gained from this experience- empathy, discipline, humility, knowledge, appreciation, and professionalism - in my academic, social, and professional life. I will also make sure that I constantly step outside my comfort zone, and look deeper into issues faced by people different than me.” - BG

“..My learning experiences in this class have been unmatched. There is nothing like hands on experience to get an honest feel for what it takes to do what a job requires. I came into this class excited and that excitement never left. I enjoyed absolutely every bit of the course…..okay okay, maybe not filling out the paperwork, but who likes paperwork? It was a necessary part of the process and had to be done. I feel proud to have my name on those cases. I feel as I contributed to our incapacitated population and played a part in the checks and balances process to ensure wards are being cared for and treated humanely, that they are receiving the medical care they need, and that they are safe and secure. Participating in this class reaffirmed my passion for social work and decision to pursue my masters in social work. I am ready! Thank you for this unforgettable opportunity.” - KMB

 “..I am grateful for the opportunity, and experience I gain through this course. As a court visitor, I was the eyes and ears of the court, and the voice of the individual under guardianship care. I utilized investigation and interview skills when gathering information in order to file the Court Visit reports, and served as observer and advocate for ID wards. The role as court visitor is a serious contribution to the individual and community, and one I strongly encourage those who are considering the career fields of social work or family law to undertake...” - SB

” …This class also gave me the opportunity to experience real-life situations that involve people who have mental health disorders as well as intellectual disabilities. My academic and professional plan is to become a clinical psychologist. The Court Visitor program was an invaluable experience because it helped me understand more about what it is like being in a professional situation where it is crucial for me to help and encourage others in many ways. This course gave me a stronger reassurance that helped me to really know that I ultimately want to become a clinical psychologist and give therapy to those who suffer from mental disorders.” - CM

 “After completing my court visits and attending the ASH hearing, my overall knowledge of the ID population grew and I gained the confidence I was lacking in continuing to pursue with my career plans. The hands on experience alone was very helpful, but the most valuable aspect of this class was the networking opportunities to talk to other professionals and gain their support. This class has advanced my personal goals to the next level and help me end my undergraduate work with confidence to strive for a professional career in a field I am passionate about being a part of. “ - EE

 “Being able to participate in the court visitor program with the Travis County Courts has been an incredible experience that not only has taught me many skills, but has also left me with memories. Adults living with ID people do not have much of a voice in today's society, and it absolutely breaks my heart to think that someone out there could be taking advantage of them because of that. Having the opportunity to make sure these individuals are being treated correctly and that all of their needs are being met was truly a privilege.”  - CJ

 “…I gained valuable experience and knowledge from my participation in the Court Visitor program. I had a lot of fun making each visit. I loved being able to bring a ray of sunshine and happiness to ward’s day just from my visit…This experience had given me new perspective on those with special needs. I always understood to treat people with special needs just as I would like to be treated, but what I have learned is that not everyone they come in contact with will have the same mindset as I do…There are many challenges that my classmates and I discovered about providing care and protection for incapacitated individuals. I am very appreciative of the opportunity I was given to bring joy to lives of those with special needs as well as act as a protector for them. Thanks to this course, it has been a wonderful and unforgettable semester.” - CB

 “In this course I have gained a lot of experience in interacting with incapacitated people and improved my professional social skills. It helped me work through my shyness and be personal with the wards. It made my day when one of the guardians told me that “I was a natural” when it came communicating with her son. Prior to the course, I was really uncomfortable when it came to talking on the phone with strangers, but after this class, I am a natural at it now.  I also learned how to use time management effectively. My favorite from the course was being able to read a clinical diagnosis prior to a visit and then putting a face and a personality to the disorder. After the countless psychology classes I have had where we read about different disorders, this class was the most eye opening as we got to be in the actual field and interact with people who have disorders. I also enjoyed being able to pinpoint the symptoms in my head that I was noticing and comparing them to the diagnosis of the ward.  Being able to observe the court hearings at Austin State Hospital really impacted me. It made me see that those who were committed to mental hospitals were people just like me who have wants and needs, they just have some limitations that they need to work through. What I expected to learn from this program met my expectations and beyond.  I learned about disorders, care system for ID people, how to communicate with wards and professionals, and so much more. Even though not everything went as planned or expected, this was definitely the best class I have ever taken at Texas State.”  - AA

 “..I learned so much in this class, and I honestly feel that it made me a better person. I also was not prepared for the emotions I would be faced with. It broke my heart walking into some nursing homes or group homes, seeing the quality of care these individuals were receiving, and feeling like I couldn’t do anything about it.  It really got me interested in perusing a career in advocating for these individuals. I learned far more than I ever could have hoped to learn. Not only did I learn about the system, but I also bettered my communication skills and my confidence level increased. I was very nervous at first, but as I continued conducting the court visits, I began to gain more and more confidence in myself…This experience has influenced my profession plans drastically. I have always been interested in going to law school, but this class definitely sparked my interest even more. It made me interested in the law side of things, and showed me that this is a way I can make a change in the lives of so many. I am so glad to have had this experience” - AJ