“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)

SPOTeurope

You can follow the Sense-Aware team on Twitter: @senseaware_SW

Hop over to our forum or social media pages to chat or ask questions about the Sense-Aware project, or to tell us about your own project. 

Facebook/Twitter: @SPOTeurope

Top Tips for Surviving as a New Student!

As we approach a new year of study, we at SPOT have been reflecting on how we feel now versus how we felt on our first ever days as Occupational Therapy students. Personally, I still feel nervous, excited and unsure of what to expect but now I have a network of peers to share those feelings with and previous students to receive tips from! With that in mind, we’d like to share some tips for brand new students about to embark on their first year studying Occupational Therapy!

(Erma Bombeck, 2017)

 

  • Occupational Balance. You’ll learn about this in lectures but possibly have none in real life! It’s so easy to get bogged down with studying and forget to make time for your leisure activities! Get involved in student activities, go for long walks with the dog, or just trot off down the pub! Whatever it is that you enjoy doing, and helps clear your head, make time for it. It’s so important.. and will also help you feel fresh for studying!

 

  • Be Organised! If you have a smart phone, get your email set up on it so you don’t miss key information! If you know you’re a procrastinator, schedule in study time.

 

  • Know Your Learning Style. Find out your learning style using tools such as the online VARK Questionnaire (VARK Learning Limited, 2017) or Honey and Mumford (1986) online learner questionnaire (ELN, 2015) to understand how you learn best. I found this useful in determining the most effective way of note taking in class. It also helped me understand those who do things differently to me. (Links to online questionnaires can be found in the reference list)

 

  • Seek Help! Most universities offer extra financial help and creche’s, as well as academic help like writing skills and maths, which anyone can access. If you’re having difficulty, seek help early rather than struggle alone, you’ll be amazed what’s on offer!

 

  • Get Feedback. Whether you do worse or better than you anticipated in an assignment, get feedback from your marker. They will always say something surprising that will help you in future assignments.

 

  • There Will Be Ups and Downs. It’s OK to have doubts and not to love every lecture on every topic. Don’t give yourself a hard time for this, but do share these feelings with your support network to get some perspective.

 

  • Wider Reading. When I was last studying, most information was spoon fed to me by teachers. University is different. It can be tempting not to do the wider reading your lecturers recommend but reading research, getting involved in twitter conversations etc is how you develop a greater depth to your knowledge.

 

  • Use Social Media. Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc all help you develop your voice as an OT, meet inspiring people and discover areas that excite you.

 

  • Don’t Be Intimidated. Whether you’re a mature student or fresh out of school, you’re all in this together and all have something to offer. Talk to people of different ages and backgrounds as well as those you share similarities with. There’s a lot to learn from everyone!

 

  • Take Opportunities. I missed a lot of opportunities in my first-year due to thinking “I’m too old” or “I’m just a student, I don’t know enough.” OT’s are wonderful people and most are excited to hear student voices and support student led initiatives. If you have an idea, share it!

 

  • Be Proud of Yourself! You’ve got into university, you’re doing something new, you’re following your dream. Take a moment to tell yourself well done!

  (TheLatestKate, 2015)

 

If you have any tips, share them with us via:

Twitter: @SPOTeurope

Facebook: @SPOTeurope

 Or on our forum: https://www.spoteurope.eu/OTforum/

Don’t forget to use #OTStudentTips

 

References:

Erma Bombeck (2017) You Can Do It. Available at: http://www.oecnhs.info/listynum-you-can-do-it-quotes-tumblr.html (Accessed 5 September 2017)

Honey, P. & Mumford, A. (1986) The Manual of Learning Styles. Maidenhead, Peter Honey.

The E-Learning Network (ELN) (2015) ‘Honey & Mumford Learner Types (1986) Quiz’, Available at: http://resources.eln.io/honey-mumford-learner-types-1986-questionnaire-online/ (Accessed 5 September 2017).

TheLatestKate (2015) Available at: http://thelatestkate.tumblr.com/post/124386559149/the-thing-you-can-do-it (Accessed 5 September 2017).

VARK Learning Limited (2017) ‘The VARK Questionnaire. How Do I Learn Best?’ Available at: http://vark-learn.com/the-vark-questionnaire/(Accessed 5 September 2017).

 

 

 

LOOKING FOR NEW BOARDMEMBERS

Do you like to work in an international context? Do you want to enrich your CV? Broaden your (international) network?

SPOTeurope is a community with members from all over Europe in which we exchange knowledge and practices about the OTworld. It’s a community by students for students.
At the moment SPOTeurope is LOOKING FOR NEW BOARDMEMBERS and maybe that’s you! Experience and affinity with ENOTHE is a pre.

What’s in it for you?
You will co-work with other enthusiastic OT students from all over Europe, which will expand your network. You will also acquire new knowledge about happenings within the OTworld. And it really enriches your CV!  It will approximately take up four hours of your time.

Are you interested?
Please send a motivation letter and a description of yourself (max 1 A4) to: info@spoteurope.eu

For more information, go to our website www.spoteurope.eu or our FB/Twitter @SPOTeurope.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us by sending an email to: info@spoteurope.eu .

We have the following openings:

BLOGGER
As blogger you are responsible for writing an refreshing blog once every month about hot topics in the OTworld. This can be an expert interview, a masterclass or something entirely different but interesting.  Next to the monthly blog, the blogger maintains the continuity of the OT-links subpage of the SPOT website.

For this position it is important to try to stay up-to-date about the actions and activities undertaken by occupational therapists and to be able to transform these notions into well written blogs.

PR & SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR
As the editor of the social media you are responsible to keep the Facebook and Twitter up to date with all the news, blogs and happenings around SPOTeurope.  Additionally you will share interesting posts and tweets from other occupational therapy related activities.

For this position it is important to have knowledge about Facebook and Twitter. You also have to be able to communicate in a good way and know how to write short interesting and stimulating posts.

ADMINISTRATOR WEBSITE & FORUM
As the administrator you are responsible for maintaining and refreshing the SPOTeurope website in general and keeping the forum up to date.  This means for example to keep discussions going at the forum and help new members get around. You will also make sure the website looks it’s best.

For this position knowledge about WordPress and MyBB is a pre but not required.

 

 

 

KOEK

We are two occupational therapy students who are curious about prewriting skills of children in other countries and how other OT-students become acquainted with these during their education.
In this blog we write about a Dutch assessment which we were introduced to when we had to screen the prewriting skills of children. We will also share our experiences of this assessment with you. Finally we have some statements we would like to discuss about.

KOEK
We like to write a blog about a Dutch assessment the KOEK. The KOEK is an assessment developed by Hartingsveldt van MJ, Cup EHC, Corstens-Mignot MAAMG (2006). The name KOEK stays for ‘The Short Observation Occupation Toddles’ and is developed for children in pre-school. The English version of the Koek is the SPOT (Screening Prewriting Skills Occupational Therapy) The spot has been developed for: 5 and 6 year old children with mild fine motor problems or 5 and 6 year old children showing even milder problems or children that could not be diagnosed with DCD.

The SPOT aims in offering a guideline for observing fine motor skills in preschoolers. The SPOT is a tool for observation with the emphasis on quality of the performance. It has been developed to be used by occupational therapists to assess whether a preschooler has reached an acceptable level of writing readiness. The SPOT can be used to evaluate fine motor problems in preschoolers as well ( Hartingsveldt, 2006). For the SPOT is no special training needed but a profound study of the manual is necessary. The assessment can be done in 30 minutes.
Components SPOT:

Continue reading

COPMI (Children Of Parents with a Mental Illness)

Following a question on the forum, a discussion has arisen regarding the Children Of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) Australian initiative.

For those of you who are unaware of this, please find below a link to the COPMI website and some journal article titles regarding COPMI to get you started.

http://www.copmi.net.au 

-A “Snapshot” of Australian Programs to Support Children and Adolescents Whose Parents Have a Mental Illness Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal 2009, Volume 33, No. 2, 125–132

Evaluation of a resilience-based intervention for children of parents with mental illness 2008 The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists

We would be keen to hear your experiences of how your country works with clients in this situation? 
– Do you involve children of parents with mental illness in your therapy/ intervention? 
– If so, how do you do this? Do you use specific assessment techniques or interventions?

Or is this an area you feel should be explored more by Occupational Therapists and other healthcare workers in your country

We look forward to hearing your responses!

OT24Vx

ot4head2

If you haven’t heard of OT24Vx you’re in for a treat! Well what is it you ask me? I’ll quote the website and let them explain:

It is a free, online, 24 hour conference for occupational therapists.
OT = Occupational therapy
24=24 hours
Vx=Virtual exchange

Whilst acknowledging the value of global connections for occupational therapists, we noticed that many OTs miss out on traditional avenues of connecting at conferences due to cost and time required. For some OTs a conference could cost as much as a whole year’s salary, but the need for equitable access to knowledge transfer opportunities is vital in a profession that continues to grow. In a world where technology is becoming more and more ubiquitous many occupational therapists are gaining techno-confidence. Thus the idea of designing and delivering a 24 hour free real time online conference for knowledge sharing was born.
We chose World OT Day in 2010 as our first OT24Vx and following its success we have run one annually since then. The  OT24Vx has run in collaboration with the World Federation of Occupational Therapists since 2014.

You can read all about it at their website and learn what you can do to prepare yourself for the upcoming conference in November!

You can also follow the team on twitter!

Sarah Bodell, Susan Burwash, Anita Hamilton, Angela Hook, Karen Jacobs, & Merrolee Penman

ENOTHE

Last fall at enothe 2014 at the HAN university Nijmegen we had two meetings. At these meetings there were students from all over Europe. Our plan was to build a European student platform. With the use of a voting system we’ve decided on the form and purpose of this platform. We want a European network where we can talk to each other and learn from each other. For this to happen we’ve decided we need a website with a forum.

And now there is one.

Welcome

Willkommen

Bienvenue

Welkom