Not everyone can find their passion through work and inspire others. But Nakiea Spaulding has been lucky to discover both through her job at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Spaulding, 40, has worked at the Perlman Center in Children’s Hospital for 15 years. “For the first 13 years I worked in pathology as a lab runner,” she said. “But for the past two years, I have found that my real passion is working with the children and their parents at the Perlman Center.”
The Perlman Center is a team of physical, occupational, and speech therapists that center their lives on the complex therapy, developmental, assistive technology and care coordination needs for children with cerebral palsy and other physically limiting conditions.
Spaulding is in charge of calling parents to remind them of their child’s appointment. She also picks up and delivers the mail for the Perlman Center and helps distribute evaluations.
“Nakiea’s optimism never ceases to amaze me,” said Anne Wendell, employment support specialist with Project SEARCH. “She is very confident, and is always willing to try whatever is thrown her way. She is so independent and has required very minimal support in the past four years that I have worked with her.”
Being in a wheelchair herself, Spaulding finds it easy to connect with the children and their parents through a mutual understanding of what life is like living in a wheelchair. “Nakiea has a wonderful rapport with the children,” said Wendell. “The parents see Nakiea as an inspiration, and someone that their children can look up to.”
Spaulding finds her passion through motivating parents to not let their child’s disability stop them from reaching their dreams. “My favorite part about my job is inspiring the parents that one day their child can live out on their own and get a job just like me,” Spaulding said. “I encourage the parents to show their children that the sky is the limit.”