Terauchi an advocate for early childhood intervention

Ashlee Terauchi had a difficult time deciding if she wanted to major in education or law. She opted to pursue a degree in education and earned her B.S. degree from the University of Tennessee in 2006.

After moving to Hot Springs and following the birth of her son, Terauchi was introduced to the developmental therapy profession at her child’s preschool in Hot Springs.

“I was immediately drawn in because it entailed the aspects of law and education that I found interesting,” she said. “The facility director, who is a Henderson graduate, encouraged me to shadow and find out more about the field. When I look back, I am so thankful that I did.”

Terauchi soon enrolled in Henderson State University’s online developmental therapy master’s program.

“The convenience of class scheduling and the opportunities for online courses led me to choose Henderson over other options,” she said. “The coursework allowed me to balance a full-time career and my family life while pursuing a career in the field of early childhood special education.

“As a parent of a child with special needs, I am an advocate for early intervention, and I strive to make a positive impact on each child and family that I work with.”

Terauchi has been employed by Little Bitty City Enrichment Center and Little Bitty City Therapeutic Services in Hot Springs since 2011. She received her developmental therapy certification in 2013, then graduated from Henderson with her M.S. degree in 2014.

As a student at Henderson, Terauchi said, “I feel that the impact I hoped to make was well-marked."

She and her husband presented the PicTalk Toddler iPad app for children with autism and verbal communication delays at the Council of Exceptional Children. She also participated on a Henderson panel for parents of children with special needs where she spoke for and with other parents about the experiences they faced.

Terauchi was invited, along with her coworkers, to attend institutional meetings for collaboration with the Special Education Department and Developmental Therapy program for suggestions on the program.

“I feel that my experiences at Henderson opened doors for professional connections and growth while providing opportunities for me to build long-lasting friendships with my professors and others in the field,” Terauchi said.

“The opportunity to make an impact in the field of special education and early intervention is an undeniable privilege and journey of which I am blessed to be a part of.”

 She had this advice for anyone considering a career in developmental therapy: “Delve into special education law and learn the history behind IDEA, early intervention, and special education. In essence, it is my responsibility to apply what I have learned and continue to learn as I advocate for and educate the families and children with special needs that I have the privilege of working with.”