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Robert and Kathryn Vizas

Alexa Ellis works with children with support from the Michael J Vizas Graduate Practicum Fund

The Michael J Vizas Graduate Practicum Fund established by Kathryn and Robert Vizas provides support for students in the Department of Psychology by funding work with children with learning disabilities in K-12 classrooms, in clinical settings, or in the community.

Alexa Ellis is working on a Masters of Science in Psychology.  She discusses her work with children:

Tell us about the child you worked with this summer?

This summer I had the opportunity to work with a boy named Sam (not his real name) who is 11 years old.  Sam has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and struggles with poor verbal skills, coordination, energy and attention span.

Although Sam is 2 years behind in his schooling, he is a very smart kid who is eager to learn; he loves playing math and card games, specifically Skip-Bo, and he has an amazing sense of humor.

Why are you interested in working with children with learning disabilities?

I strive to make a difference in their lives, and with the opportunity I had this summer, I not only got to make a difference in Sam’s life, but he also made a huge difference in mine.

How did this experience change the way you approach your future career?

This experience of working with Sam inspired my interest to work on mathematical cognition and achievement in children with learning difficulties. Ultimately, I hope to make an impact in the special needs education system.