Finnish Occupational Therapy Students’ pop-up in shopping centres

Published by Maurane, on behalf of authors First Year Occupational Therapy Students from Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland.

In this study module we worked on assessment of motor skills. To be able to evaluate clients’ motor skills we had to understand the anatomy and physiology of the upper limb of a human being. Therefore we deepened our knowledge of upper limb muscles, and both motor and sensory nerve systems.

We used various measurement tools to assess clients´ occupational performance. Based on the Model of Human Occupation Theory, we tested different skills that include motor, process and both communication and interaction skills. We got to see what assessment in occupational therapy means in practice. We organized a pop-up in the shopping centres of Turku and assessed upper limb motor skills of passers-by. On the same occasion we got to spread the word about occupational therapy.

 

Assessment tools we studied and used in the pop-up

Purdue pegboard test

Occupational therapy students are testing each other with Purdue pegboard-test.

Purdue pegboard test measures manual dexterity and eye-hand coordination. There is a specific board with two parallel rows with 25 holes where cylindrical metal pegs are placed by the patient. The first part of the test starts with the dominant hand. The client has 30 seconds to place metal pegs to holes as fast as possible. Then we count pegs, and the client repeats the test with the other hand. Second part of the test measures working with two hands together, client has 30 seconds to put metal pegs to two rows.

For the third part of the test, client has to put together four metal parts : pegs, trays and collars in a specific order for one minute. The assessor counts all the assembled parts and the client gets one point for each part.

Minnesota rate of manipulation test

The client is testing Minnesota rate

Minnesota-rate measures the speed of gross arm and hand movements. It assesses the hand-eye coordination, and both unilateral and bilateral manual dexterity. The complete assessment includes five tests : placing, turning, displacing, one-hand turning and placing and two-hand turning and placing.
Client can practice each test before the start of the assessment . Then they repeat each test at least twice and performed while standing. This assesses both accuracy and speed. Score of each test is time, in seconds, required to complete the chosen number of test trials.

 

Nine-hole peg

This test measures finger dexterity. It starts by asking the client to take  pegs from a container, one by one, and place them into the holes on the board, as quickly as possible. Then client have to remove the pegs from the holes, one by one, and replace them back into the container.
Client have to use only one hand at the time. Assessor starts the stopwatch from the moment the participant touches the first peg until the moment the last peg hits the container. Both hands are tested, dominant hand first.

Jamar-test

Jamar-test measures a grip strength of hand. Client and assessor sit face to face. Client have to to sit up with their back straight and keep their arm in 90 degrees. The arm is not allowed to touch the body. The press is meant to be quick and strong. The client repeats the test twice for each hand 30 seconds between the presses. Results are then compared to Finnish average in their age group.

Moberg pick up

Moberg pick up test assesses functional sensibility. This test involves picking up, holding, manipulating and identifying everyday objects. The client gets 10 standard objects which are the same temperature example metal. The test starts by naming the 10 objects. After that the client picks up the objects and puts them in to the box, first with their dominant hand and then with the other hand. The same is done next blindfolded. After that the client has to identify the objects blindfolded and put them back in to the box. Assessor times the test with a stopwatch.

Box and blocks

The idea of the Box and blocks test is to measure the gross manual dexterity. In the test there is a two-parts box, there are 150 blocks on one side of the box and the other one is empty. Thus the client moves blocks with one hand to the other side of the box. Client start with their dominant hand and they have one-minute time to try to move blocks to the other side as fast as possible. The assessor then counts blocks, and client repeats the test with the other hand. They have 15 seconds to practice the test with each hand.

Pinch-test

Pinch-test measures pinch grip strength. The client uses three differents grips in this test; pincer grip, key pinch grip and three finger pinch grip. During the test the client sits on a chair and the assessor holds the pinch meter still so the client can do the test. The assessor tell her/him to sit up with their back straight and arm in 90 degrees. The arm is not allowed to touch the body. The client pinches the pinch meter as hard as possible. The assessor then compares results to Finnish average in client’s age group.

 

Nine-hole peg, Jamar, Moberg, Box and Blocks, and Pinch

Organizing a pop-up was a great opportunity for us to learn how to use these measurements. We recommend these kinds of events for all of you future occupational therapists!


Feel free to comment this blog and email me at blogger@spoteurope.eu if you have any question about this article. SPOTeurope board is approachable if you want to write an article on this blog, or become involved in this wide OT students network! – Maurane 

My international fieldwork placement in Trois-Rivières, Canada

Hi everyone, Maurane’s speaking ! Today I’m going to tell you about this amazing experience I’ve had last year : my international occupational therapy fieldwork placement in Trois-Rivières, QC, Canada.

When ?

I’ve been there from May, 5th to July, 18th, 2017, as a 2nd year OT student. For 8 weeks I’ve had an awesome placement, and then I spent 10 days road-tripping across Quebec.

Where ?

I was in Trois-Rivières, Canada, a French-speaking city. My placement took place in the local teaching hospital, especially in family medicine, pneumology, orthopaedic, urology, gastroenterology and vascular surgery departments, mainly with elderly people. Both of my supervisors were referent for several of the following departments, but they were attached to the rehabilitation department.

Why ?

I wanted to step out of my comfort zone experiencing something new, far from my country, my culture and my habits. I also wanted to get to know another way to provide occupational therapy services, especially in North America, OT birthplace.

What ?

I learned so many things ! On an individual level and of course professionally, this placement really impressed me. I feel this was the first time I really felt as an OT.

Personal development

Stepping out of my comfort zone and experiencing totally new stuffs alone was much rewarding. Indeed I had no choice but to cope with any situations in everyday life by my own. I’ve had issues with lodging in the first week I was there. I’ve had to move from my place, thus I had to look for another place to live. I managed this by my own, without my parents assisting me, and it went well ! Then I was pretty proud and I feel more confident now as I know that I’m able to manage this kind of situations by my own.

Moreover I met awesome people there. I took the time to get to know them and their culture, I discovered a way of life I didn’t know before, which got me think about my own philosophy and lifestyle. Even if they speak French and live in a western culture, I felt differences in people’s behaviors and values. In general terms I felt they were much optimistic about life ! I also met people coming from all over the world travelling during week ends. I became less afraid to start a conversation with people I don’t know, which is also an advantage in professional practice !

Professional development

I’ve had to adapt to a brand new health care system, professional environment, and culture in a short period of time. First, I gained confidence in my adaptative skills as I’ve had no troubles accommodating to this unfamiliar environment. Secondly I learnt working with great rigor. My supervisors were more demanding than I’ve had ever experience in France, especially about professional writings. I learnt to use accurate terms when forwarding information to other professionals, in both oral and written form. During this placement I also felt that OT practice was more evidence based than it is in France, as research is also way more fertile. Thus I understood the importance of developing research in OT in France as it’s essential to expand and enhance our practice.

======

Standing in front of the Cogeco Auditorium in Trois-Rivières.

I would never recommend you enough to travel and experience unfamiliar fieldwork placement settings !

Feel free to react and ask me any question you may have.

Email : blogger@spoteurope.eu // Twitter : @maurane_ctr

 

Working with refugees – Projects at the Health University of Applied Sciences Tyrol – Occupational Therapy Department

Published by Maurane, blogger, on behalf of Authors: Hartmann Victoria, Lukavsky Alexander, Röck Vanessa, Strasser Sophia

Picture yourself in our situation: you’re studying, on the weekends you’re hanging out with your friends and you see your bright future for yourself as an occupational therapist.

Suddenly, everything is changing – there is war. Your life is not like it used to be. In the blink of an eye, all your dreams are shattered. You’re surrounded by death and violence, and you have to leave your country. You’re not able to communicate in your mother tongue, you’ve lost parts of your occupational identity, you’re not allowed to work and, instead, you’re waiting for a positive response to your asylum request.

Life as a refugee can be difficult to imagine, but for almost 22,5 million people around the world, it is a terrifying reality (UNHCR, 2017). Refugees belong to a group in danger of occupational deprivation (Whiteford, 2000). Thus we, as occupational therapists, play a vital role in enabling them to participate successfully. Hence, the occupational therapy department from our university, the Health University of Applied Sciences Tyrol, undertook two projects alongside the Bachelor and Master students focusing on aiding in this transition.

Projects

In 2016, the project’s aim was about “building a space and a place for encounter” by furnishing and decorating an “encounter room” together with the refugees living in a refugees’ home in Innsbruck, Austria. Once we got to know each other, we worked in three different groups: sewing, woodworking and gardening. At the project’s conclusion, we celebrated our shared results with lots of traditional food and music. After the project, we reflected upon our experiences and presented them to our professors and fellow students. Furthermore, there was a scientific evaluation of the project, wherein the students, as well as the refugees and the project leaders, were invited to semi-structured (and focus group) interviews.

In 2017, the first focus was on creating a positive experience of encounter between students and the refugees. Our aim was then to identify the resources and competencies of each participating refugee to enable him or her to engaging in meaningful occupations and, in doing so, to contribute to the so- called “Tyrolean compass of competencies” – a project in the Austrian province Tyrol. Within the context of the project, we gathered information regarding the refugees’ interests, resources, and competencies, as well as their occupational roles and accomplishments and summarized them in a document. To finish off the project we also made a presentation in front of the students, the professors, the stakeholders and the participants. This opportunity was also used to hand over these documents to the participants in a formal context.

Benefits

We, the students, really appreciated the projects. By gaining our first OT working experiences in our first year of studies we strengthened our identities as future OTs. Furthermore, we were able to build a connection between practice and theory (occupational science, OT-models, community-based practice, professional reasoning), and we now have important experience with cultural sensitivity and exchange. We improved our teamwork and organization skills, learned to be flexible, to work with the available resources and to communicate without speaking the same language. Apart from the professional context, we had the opportunity to meet inspiring individuals and even make new friends. Some of us are still in contact with the participants, meeting regularly and arranging dinners together.

Not only were we, as students, able to benefit from the project, but also everyone else involved. We received positive feedback from the people whom we worked with, including social workers and volunteers from the refugee home. We enabled the participants to use their identified resources to find new perspectives and to open up new possibilities. They had the opportunity to take part in meaningful activities and subsequently get out of occupational deprivation, all whilst having the chance to improve their German-language skills and gaining insights into our culture, values, and especially the value of women in our society.

Sustainability

A very gratifying aspect is the sustainability of the project. Beside our newly-gained learning experiences, the project enabled many students to participate in their first fieldwork placements working with refugees. Additionally, there was a publication and dissemination of knowledge (Wetzelsberger, Pasqualoni & Costa, 2017), whilst serving as a good example of practice for the OT community.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we’d like to point out that projects like this not only support students to develop their professional skills, but also help refugees to overcome occupational deprivation. It is our view that there are still a lot more ideas and opportunities for occupational therapists to enable refugees. Although there are a lot of other essential professions in this field, we believe that it is very important to work as an OT in this area because we can add a unique skillset.

We hope we could give you an insight into this field of practice and would like to end with a quote from Helen Claire Smith (2005) in the BJOT, where she wrote that “there is no excuse for allowing our anxieties to halt us from offering the same services that we would do for any other client group“. So: “feel the fear and do it anyway” (Jeffers, 1997 qtd. in Smith, 2005).

Hartmann Victoria, Lukavsky Alexander, Röck Vanessa, Strasser Sophia
Health University of Applied Sciences Tyrol – Occupational Therapy Department

CONTACT

Student group: Vanessa Röck vanessa.roeck@edu.fhg-tirol.ac.at
Project conception & continuation: Dr. Ursula Costa ursula.costa@fhg-tirol.ac.at

References

Whiteford, G.E. (2000). Occupational Deprivation: Global Challenge in the New Millennium. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63(5), 200 – 204.

UNHCR (2017). Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2016. Retrieved from http://www.unhcr.org/5943e8a34

Smith, H. C. (2005). ‘Feal the fear and Do it Anyway’: Meeting the Occupational Needs of Refugees and People seeking Asylum. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(10), 474–476.

Wetzelsberger, B., Pasqualoni, P.P., & Costa, U. (2017). Creating a place and space for encounter: Collaborative action taking within a cooperation of people seeking asylum and project report for the Tyrolean OT association.

Innsbruck: fhg – Health University of Applied Sciences Tyrol.

Developing an awareness project

Recap of methods used during a workshop by French OT students

On Sunday March, 18th I took part in a workshop with 16 others French OT students, to learn and start to develop an awareness project about difference. This was one of the many workshops who happened during the 12th WEF of UNAEE, a training meeting of 2 days for OT students, who takes place every year in one of the 24 OT Schools in France.

This workshop was held by Marie, UNAEE’s board member, William, president of Sibsters, and Camille who’s also from Sibsters. If you don’t know UNAEE yet, you can have a look at this former article on the blog.

About Sibsters, it’s a young French association, created by William and a friend of his 2 years ago. Sibsters aims to promote and inform about differences, as today many people are left out of society because of their disabilities, origins, sexual orientation, gender, appearance, etc. Thus Sibsters organises events and uses the hashtag #LaDifferenceInspire that means #DifferenceInspires to promote and communicate about difference.

In this article, I’m going to recap methods we used and ideas we had during this workshop, hopefully it will inspire you to develop projects!

William, with the help of others OT students, identified a specific theme which was LSF, French Sign Language.  The main goal of our projects was to raise awareness about French Sign Language and the need of having basis about it, to foster inclusion of hearing-impaired and deaf population in society.

Choose a theme you care about, identify a need in society. As OT students you are aware of inclusion issues curtain population face of in society, then you can help their voice to be heard.

William, Marie and Camille then suggested 3 types of projects to us: a video, a happening and an event. My team and I choose video! You can do whatever you want: a flyer, a congress, a pop-up in shopping centre, a humanitarian mission, etc. Be creative!

Third step… go for it!

Here’s the method we used to pilot our project development: the Five W’s. These are questions whose answers are considered basic in problem solving.

  • WHO?
    • Who’s involved or will be involved in?
    • Who’s the project lead?
    • Who does our project target?
    • Who’s going to implement the project?
  • WHAT?
    • What do we aim?
    • What do we need to develop and implement our project?
    • Which means will we use to reach our goals?
  • WHEN?
    • When will it happen?
    • It’s also about temporal organization of project stages, creating a timeline is helpful.
  • WHERE?
    • Where will it take place?
    • Where the team will meet/communicate?
    • Where can we find resources?
  • WHY?
    • It’s important to wonder WHY before taking any decision!
    • Why this option rather than another one?
  • And we added a sixth question HOW? to the list.
    • How will it happens?
    • How are we going to manage each stage?

 

In just an hour, we managed to have many rich and concrete ideas! When the whole team brings its creativity it’s much simpler than it seems, then just go for it!

 

Hopefully this article inspire you to use your OT student and personal skills to develop an amazing awareness project, looking forward hearing your feedback and your experiences!

(Posted by Marlies on behalf of author- Maurane)

Introducing Me: Maurane!

Hi! I’m Maurane, the new SPOTeurope blogger!

Here’s a short blog post to introduce myself and tell you more about my role.

Introducing me

I’m a 3rd year student in Tours Occupational Therapy School. In France our curriculum is 3 years long so I expect  to graduate on July this year. I come from a little town 50 kilometres south of Paris, but I moved in Tours to study. It’s a really nice city; there are so many fun things to do and many beautiful castles around to see!

I really enjoy travelling in France and abroad! Recently I’ve spend a few days in Brussels, Belgium. Otherwise I’ve been to Amsterdam, Prague, Venice, London, Bournemouth, Seville, Granada, Cordoba, and I want to explore many more European cities! I speak French, English and Spanish a little.

Finally, I’m passionate about occupational therapy! Since I started studying OT I’ve never got bored learning, providing OT services and meeting so many different people.

My role in SPOTeurope: Blogger

As SPOTeurope blogger, I’ll post blog entries twice a month on Wednesdays. Through these blog posts, I want to share information, tips and tricks, projects, events, experiences, etc. with you. I’d like my articles to incite you to meet and connect with each other. Some of the blog entries are going to be written by me and some others by YOU, or other people related to occupational therapy.

As a European OT student, this blog is yours as well as mine! Indeed, you have the opportunity to write an article as guest blogger, about anything you want to share that may interest other European OT students! I’m here to support you, provide you advice and guidelines for you to write your blog post.

I’ll also manage the forum, where you’ll be able to discuss and chat about the blog post theme and anything you want about being an OT student in Europe.

Feel free to send me an email at blogger@spoteurope.eu if you have any requests for articles or if you may be interested in writing an article! Looking forward hearing your ideas

(Published by Charlotte on behalf of author Maurane)

HAN International Week 2018- Challenge your Borders. Health and Social Work in International Perspective.

What is International Week?

HAN University of Applied Sciences in Nijmegen (Netherlands) holds an annual International Week to promote the sharing of experiences and knowledge of internationalisation in the context of health and social care. There are over 125 workshops from students and professionals from around the world.

What did you do?

SPOTeurope and HAN international week share similar aims and values, so we were asked to come along and deliver workshops on the benefit of a European platform for Occupational Therapy (OT) students.

Myself, Marlies and Kina (one of our new MiniSPOT Coordinators), wanted the workshop to help students understand what SPOTeurope and ENOTHE are, as well as the benefits of internationalisation (check out our blog on the 2017 ENOTHE annual meeting). As always, we felt it was important for all students to feel that SPOTeurope is their platform as much as ours, so we were keen to hear their ideas for SPOT improvements.

As we are also setting up a ‘Mini SPOT’ at HAN, we brainstormed how people would like to be involved in this and the most effective ways to share information.

You can see our presentation here.

What were the outcomes?

At the beginning and end of the sessions we asked students what words spring to mind when they think of SPOTeurope. We were pretty pleased with what they came up with:

  Word cloud from start of session

    Word cloud at end of session

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are 3 questions we asked and the ideas students came up with:

1) What are the unique characteristics of OT and OT education in the Netherlands?

  • OT education is very practical.
  • Opportunities for specialisation (in the form of a taking a minor)
  • Entrepreneurship- HAN OT course is the only healthcare profession to receive this national award!

2) What would you like to know about OT in other European countries?

  • How does the healthcare system work? (As we can learn from each other’s systems!)
  • What does OT education look like?
  • What do other countries view as the principal element of OT?

3) What do you feel are the benefits of Internationalisation?

  • Distribution of research.
  • Understanding of different cultures (resulting in improved therapist/client relationship).
  • Exchanging ideas, information, problems, interventions etc will make us better therapists.
  • It can improve OT education.

 What were the benefits for students?

Students identified that they weren’t necessarily sure which features of OT were unique to the Netherlands. This opened up more questions about other countries and highlighted why internationalisation is important. We were all surprised to find how different our education is; for example, in the UK we have short placements (or internships) in each year of study, whereas the Netherlands have a 6-month placement in their 3rd and 4th year!!

It was also really nice to see that Occupational Therapy in both the Netherlands and England have the same emphasis on reflection, person centred practice and occupation, and we hope that’s the same across Europe!

What were the benefits for SPOT:

Thanks to the input from students, we have a better idea on what SPOTeurope should offer and how to improve students access to internationalisation. Their input on our ‘MiniSPOT’ makes us confident going forward with this new project, which will focus on intercultural activities in our own schools and neighbourhoods, not just internationally. These are just some of the ideas SPOTeurope will be putting in place soon:

  • SPOTeurope Instagram.
  • Country specific information on the website.

Ideas for SPOTeurope’s future!

Ideas for SPOTeurope’s future!

 

Thanks for having us HAN!

Check out HAN’s Instagram and website. #HANIW2018

 

Volunteering as an Occupational Therapy Student: My first experience using my OT skills alone in the big, bad world!

Published by Charlotte (site admin) on behalf of Author Orla.

OT student, Orla, outside ‘the window to knowledge’ children’s centre in Tirana, Albania

 

Tell us about yourself.

Hello, my name is Orla, I am Irish, and studying occupational therapy at Teesside University in the North of England.

Where were you volunteering?

After hundreds of Google searches, I decided upon a centre for marginalised children run by the charity Caritas on the outskirts of Albania’s capital city, Tirana. I volunteered here for 2 weeks in September 2017. The community was made up of minority groups such as Roma and Egyptian families who had moved closer to the capital in search of better opportunities. I was not expecting the levels of poverty I saw. The children lived in slums by a river that flooded every winter and they had no running water or the basics that I expected. ‘I am in a European country after all,’ I thought wrongly. The main aims of the centre were to give 5-18 years olds in the area the chance to gain an education, learn life skills, eat nutritious meals, and partake in sports and fun activities. The 8 members of staff included social workers, a teacher, and a doctor.

 

What were your expectations before volunteering?

I was excited to observe and work along the long-term staff that have deep roots in the community and use my occupational therapy knowledge to support them when appropriate. I made sure to humble myself before beginning this project, being mindful that I was not going to ‘fix their problems’ in 2 weeks but instead encourage and assist long-term staff to continue to make a difference in the lives of these families.

What did you learn from the experience?
First thing I learnt was that I have a lot to learn. Obviously, applying your OT skills on placement when you have an educator to support you is much easier than being on your own. It gave me a taster of what my role-emerging placement could be like and now I know how much preparation will be required. Here are three occupational therapy skills I learnt about during my time in Albania:

 

The therapeutic relationship: music breaks through a language barrier

My biggest difficulty was the language barrier as I don’t speak Albanian. Two members of staff were able to translate but activities often got lost in translation and a new game may have formed before I even finished my explanation; the Albanian version of my activity! My personal favourite was conducting the Kawa river model with the teenage group, my poor translators!

Therefore, my method for establishing therapeutic relationships with the children and teenagers was through music; playing my ukulele and singing. Each morning, the younger children would sit in a line and one-by-one I would teach them chords on my ukulele and let them have a go. I would do the same with the teenagers in the afternoon and perform requested songs (Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber were popular). This quickly led to building relationships with the group without needing the Albanian language. It also encouraged patience and turn-taking as there was one ukulele and 70 of them! One morning was dedicated to an Ireland vs. Albania sing-song where I sang a song and then they sang one in response. It was a treat to hear their amazing voices sing complex melody lines that put our pop songs to shame. I will miss walking into the centre and hearing them shout ‘Orla, kitare (guitar)!’

 

Intervention Planning: leading activities with SMART objectives

In my past volunteering roles, activities had one purpose: to have fun. This time, I was looking through my new OT lens and began to shape these fun activities to have SMART objectives in line with the centre’s overall purpose. This meant facilitating activities that had specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goals. In practice, this was an optimistic ask as Albania has a more relaxed culture when it comes to timely goals. But they found it useful that the games had the purpose of developing positive skills and qualities. I focused on their interpersonal skills including communication, turn-taking, and team-work. A highlight was teaching the children the self-care occupation of brushing their teeth as I discovered none of them owned a toothbrush and toothpaste. I organised a donation from Ireland to purchase one set for each child and for the centre’s doctor to give a presentation on the importance of dental hygiene.

 

Assessing the whole picture: projects with holistic approaches are essential to break the poverty cycle

I admired how the centre looked out for the children in every aspect of their lives. For example, they adapted how they taught self-care occupations to how the children would carry them out at home, like using a cup of water to brush their teeth instead of a tap. Also, they realised that there was no point teaching self-care tasks if the parents were not also promoting them at home. Parent meetings were therefore set up, resulting in some great solutions to community issues such as litter picking groups. I loved seeing people that would never come together naturally in the same room making decisions to better their community.

This approach was broadened to all areas of the children’s lives. The social workers made sure the children weren’t treated differently at mainstream school (One day at the school gates, the Roma children were told by their teacher there was no space for them but the social worker fought their case) and were consistently meeting with the local government to try to organise running water and rubbish collection to the area. I am hopeful that when projects like this take a holistic approach to their population, poverty cycles can be broken.

 

What are your plans to keep in touch with this project?

I hope to virtually stay involved in the centre and help them when they need activity ideas to suit a child’s development goal. They now call me their ‘online therapist.’

 

Thanks for reading! What has your experience volunteering as an OT student, at home and abroad, been like? Feel free to ask me a question about this project (or just say hi) on SPOTs forum or on Twitter (@orlatheot).

 

ENOTHE Annual Meeting 2017

In October, Marlies (SPOT President) and I were lucky enough to attend the ENOTHE 2017 Annual Meeting in Zagreb, Croatia. It was a great opportunity to meet students and professionals from across Europe and learn about the different projects people are involved in.

Our role was to hold a student forum to gather ideas about the future direction of SPOTeurope and the role of students in the ENOTHE, which we then presented at the end of the conference. We felt so motivated by the level of enthusiasm from students about SPOTeurope, and the support, ideas and honest feedback we received.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those of you who were there, know it really shaped SPOTeuropes future direction. If you weren’t able to be there, take a look at our presentation to see the student forum feedback and SPOTeuropes dreams and goals.

SPOTeurope will continue to connect students across Europe but now also aims to ensure the active involvement of students in developing OT education!

Thank you to everyone who supported us and continues to support SPOTeurope!

Introducing UNAEE- The French Occupational Therapy Student Nation Association

 


UNAEE is the French occupational therapy student national association. It has been created in 2006 to answer an important representation need.

UNAEE main goals are to defend OT student rights and interests, to represent them within decisive structures and to assist them for the best quality of studies.

UNAEE is independent and not affiliated to any political movement nor religion.

UNAEE federates and gathers every local association from every institute in France and is the only representative association for French OT student on national scale.

UNAEE is composed by 24 local associations. As a matter of fact every 2 542 OT student in France is member of UNAEE, benefits from its work and can contribute to its actions in various ways.

Each year, projects and events are led by a new national crew while politic is discussed with every local association through their administrator.

UNAEE initiates projects in the fields of representation, quality of life improvements, knowledge, studies, culture, citizenship, prevention, solidarity, international mobility and much more!

UNAEE  works  with  a  lot  of  other  associations  in  order  to  promote  OT,  accessibility  and destigmatize disabilities.

We’re willing to get to know more European OT students and share with them about our mutual wonderful profession. You can get news from us on Facebook or on our website.

Feel free to contact us on SPOT’s forum or at  vp-international@unaee.org too!

Comradely,Posted by Charlotte Walker on behalf of author Guilhem Montalbano.

 

“Sense-Aware.” Student Occupational Therapists Start Community Project!

Hello, we are two second year Occupational Therapy students at Plymouth University in the South-West of England. After attending the Royal College of Occupational Therapy conference in June, we were inspired to bring our learning to our local community in a creative way. This led to the development of our project ‘Sense-Aware’!

We both have experience with supporting people with Autism and associated mental health conditions. Currently, we enable young people to attend ‘Rooted’ – a group run by Routeways who are a local Plymouth charity supporting children, young people and their families to overcome disadvantage. ‘Rooted’ facilitates young people’s engagement in outdoor activities, gardening, baking and crafts whilst teaching them social skills and offering them emotional support.

Through attending the group with service users, we recognised that the premises did not have somewhere for young people to spend time when they felt overwhelmed or needed space. In line with Routeways current focus to make the group accessible for young people with Autism, we drew inspiration from a session at the conference on sensory-circuits; and decided to create the project ‘Sense-Aware’ to build this space.

The aim of the ‘Sense-Aware’ project was to research and fundraise for a range of sensory equipment, to educate others about the importance of supporting and managing an individual’s sensory needs within this population. The final aim was to set up a sensory room within the already existing ‘Rooted’ group to benefit those with Autism and facilitate their engagement in a range of activities.

After extensively researching, attending study days and meeting with professionals with first-hand experience in the field, we were able to ascertain a sense of direction for the project. This led us to the fun part – fundraising! We created a gofundme page, got up super early for car boot sales, baked lots of cakes to sell at group and trekked across Dartmoor, which all totalled over £500!! With this, we have managed to purchase lots of equipment and toys, but has also allowed us to create the possibility of staff, carer and parent training within sensory based intervention.  We have also recruited a regular volunteer, Alannah, who will provide 1:1 support for service users who would benefit from having that support in a group setting. Currently in the pipeline is the possibility of collaborating with a Paediatric Occupational Therapist to provide cost-effective assessments for sensory requirements, and provide clinical supervision for our team.

From our experience, we would like to encourage other students to act on their interests and not be discouraged by their level of study. This project has given us insight into our future career and provided endless opportunities. We are massively grateful for everyone who has supported us through this adventure. We would like to pass special thanks to Sam Turner, our lecturer and mentor throughout this process.

Written by Jade & Rachel from Sense-Aware. Posted on their behalf by Charlotte (site admin)

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