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Allied therapist makes the most of skills at home and abroad

Iris Sauceda worked in retail and was in and out of school for years before completing her degree and starting a career in occupational therapy. From day one on the job, Iris knew she’d found her calling.

“It takes caring, the right personality and extensive training to do this,” Sauceda says. “But you also have to have the desire to help others.”

Sauceda has been with Allied since 2005, working in nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities and, most recently, in a school setting. Before joining Allied, she did early intervention home therapy through District 211 in the northwest Chicago suburbs. She also spent 3½ years running the psychosocial program in Spanish for St. Mary’s Hospital in Chicago, leading rehabilitation programs for adults with disabilities.

One of Sauceda’s favorite applications of her skills, however, takes her far from Chicago. A native of Honduras, she spends as much time as she can volunteering in her home country.

“Since I do a lot of work in my country, I take summers off,” she says. “Allied has really matched my scheduling needs. Their flexibility is one of the greatest things about Allied.”

Because Allied frees up Sauceda’s summers, she is able to volunteer in Honduran areas that lack adequate access to therapy and rehabilitation. During her most recent trip, Sauceda and other volunteers held a four-day therapy clinic, providing more than 40 children with assessments, treatment planning and parent follow-up instructions.

“In Honduras, kids with disabilities and diseases really don’t get therapy,” Sauceda says. “There are no physical therapists or occupational therapists.”

Before her Honduras trip this summer, Sauceda is keeping busy working with her students, who have mild to moderate physical and developmental disabilities, including Down syndrome and autism.

“I love my work because I care about the children and the people I serve,” Sauceda says. “I look past their disabilities and see my students for who they are. That helps me gain trust and helps them have fun with therapy.”

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One Comment

  1. Manju
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    A psychologist sent me an email, in reonspse to this blog post. She makes some wonderful points and it is worded so eloquently. I so appreicate her comments: I would make a strong recommendation before assuming that the partner of someone who is having sex addiction problems has co-sex addiction issues. I think this fits for some and not for others. I think it can be very damaging to blame someone who has been victimize by lies and deceit. I have now heard from several therapists who work with individuals with sex addiction and their partners that they use polygraph or private investigators to re-establish safety and trust. At least one therapist told me, that she always uses polygraph because she cannot believe what the sex addict tells her until she gets the results back. So, I don’t think it is scientific or fair to then turn around and say that the spouse should somehow have known. I also think that Shirley P. Glasses work on affairs supports the notion that the tendency to trust a spouse or significant other over time increases and that sometimes partners can lie about affairs quite expertly. So if people can lie about affairs that well, they also can about other types of behavior related to sex addiction. Since I work with trauma a lot, I regularly see the effects of victim blaming with people who have been assaulted in various ways, particularly sexual assault. I think there is a tendency for many people, including therapists, to feel frightened by how easily these things really can happen to any of us and there is a counter-activation (counter-transference) that occurs and there is a risk that therapists can seek some explanation or blame for why clients were victimized. In my experience, clients are willing to look at whatever role their own development and life experience might be effecting their choices in life or their inability to move away from harm, etc., but this needs to be done later in the work and not with the assumption that it necessarily plays a huge role in what happened. With being victimized or betrayed all we can do is reduce risk, not prevent it. That is my humble, or not so humble opinion.