Sunday, August 28, 2011

Week Two

Week two was fun and tiring. Teachers actually gave lectures and there were no free lunches. However, in one of out classes we had to build the tallest structure we could out of marshmallows and toothpicks and then do an activity analysis on it. I still think my group should have won because nowhere in the contest rules did it say it needed to be freestanding. There was a lot of reading for the week. Most of it was pretty basic. All the classes seem to be focusing on what is occupation and why is important to life. We have started to delve into how to find a client's occupation also.

This week we also got our research groups. I got lower of the pack choice of groups, but I ended up getting my second choice. I was lucky. We meet with our mentor tomorrow, but from what I understand we will be working with African American girls with HIV/AIDS to evaluate life skills interventions to see if they help the girls comply to their medical needs.

One other interesting assignment I have this semester is a wellness journal. We are suppose to set at least three goals to improve our health and monitor them in a journal once a week. The is journal is a tool to help us adhere to our goals. We also have a wellness buddy to keep us accountable. I was going to try and improve my health this semester anyways, so this assignment is just an added incentive.

Next week is the first quiz, but there is also Labor Day weekend. I'm finally starting to settle down to life here and getting to know my way around, but I will be happy for a trip home.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Week One Check

So I have successfully survived my first week of class. It was a little misleading because two full days were orientation, and one day only involved going over a syllabus. This coming week we will get a little more idea of what the workload is like. One interesting assignment we had was to read the 1966 Slagle Lecture. Every year AOTA has a Slagle Lecture at the conference that is given by someone who has creatively added to the profession. The one in 1966 was given by Elizabeth Yerxa. She led a movement to critical analyze the body of knowledge that occupational therapy encompasses. It is a very inspiring lecture and has many valuable quotes, but one that really stuck out to me was, " Occupational therapy begins when everybody else has given up". It really struck a cord with me because often the people I am working with will be discouraged because of personal beliefs, previous assessments, family's beliefs, and/or societal beliefs. It will be my career to get them and the community to believe in these people again. Here is a list by AOTA of all the Slagle Lectures if you would like to read them.

Another assignment I had was to read the OT Practice Framework. This lays out some of the general terminology and processes that are used. Right now it seems pretty basic but as we delve deeper into it I am sure it will mean more.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Occupations

So I have turned in my first official occupational therapy school assignment. It was to write a tweet (in e-mail) of our occupations. She made it tweet length so that we did not go crazy and really evaluated what was important to us. I personally felt like I could fit a lot in a tweet, but maybe that is because I am from the millennial generation. Here is mine:

I’m a daughter, sister, citizen, volunteer, student, southern, fighter, techie, foodie, niece, cousin, grandbaby, American, activist, blanket collector, Yellow Jacket, Braves fan, spiritual person, reader, blogger, board game lover, and a shopper.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Let the Good Times Roll

First of all welcome any new readers from PediaStaff, which is a metablog as well as a business among other things. Their blog is geared towards speech, physical, and occupational therapists. I am a Georgia girl who just started occupational therapy school today. I had been volunteering in the worlds of hippotherapy and special needs camps.

The first day of class will be tomorrow because today was just orientation. We were first introduced to the faculty and then to each other. The health center came in and told us about their services. Then the second years came to talk to us. They took questions and offered up some things to do around town. We each had as second year that was partnered with us. They brought us gifts. Mine was super sweet. She brought me a lot of candy, highlighters, a clipboard, and sticky notes among other things. She as well as many of the second years said the first few weeks will seem easy, but then October will hit and stress will build. The second years had just came back from camp and were very close. They seem to enjoy the program even though the lows. Then we had lunch. The last order of business for the day was going over the different policies. Not the most exciting thing, but it is over. We finished with questions. I was surprised by how many were on fieldwork and dressing for class. Fieldwork seems so far away, but it is definitely something everybody is excited about. Apparently, in fieldwork it is best to be flexible and they suggest going out of state. That surprised me, but they want us to learn the different laws. We have one teacher that does not like you to wear jeans to class, but mostly we can wear whatever unless we have a guest speaker.

Overall all the information was a little overwhelming, but it was good to be there. Everybody seemed to enjoy the program and I am glad to be part of the family. I'm ready to start learning.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Placebo Effect

So I found this fascinating video on the placebo effect through In web we trust (a site of geekery and science). Often many of the techniques that occupational therapists have not been scientifically proven to create a difference. That does not mean they do not work; it just means the technique has not been tested yet. It is hard for me at the moment to figure out how a placebo would work for occupational therapy. I believe most scientific journals currently compare a technique versus if no intervention was done or another technique working on the same thing to see what is better. We get our research group like the third week of class. I think I am the only person to get excited about research. I don't think I would want to do it as a career though. I could see myself having a research project on the side, but I don't think that is commonly done because research is so much work with getting the grants and finding test subjects.

Tomorrow is orientation. I am so ready to get this adventure on the road. I have meet some of my classmates throughout the week. We have been gathering information on the program. Each of us know little bits and pieces. It sounds like we getting a big (2nd year) to show us the ropes. It also sounds like our schedule is not set in stone, but changes a lot. Well in a few days all the gossip will become fact or fiction.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Attendance Policies

I have started to look over some of the syllabuses for my classes and as I have heard from other students there is an attendance policy. They explain that the attendance policy is in place because as professionals if we did not show up to work then you would be knocked down on a performance review or even fired. However, there are a lot of jobs where attendance at the workplace is not required as long as the work gets done. The policy just rubs me the wrong way because it does not allow me to make my own choices on whether I should attend class that day or not. Now I have always been a person to go class, so it is not an inconvenience just an irritation.

The other thing that surprised me was that I do not have a good idea of what most of the assignments are. I know they will be explained, but I had to stop looking because I was getting overwhelmed. It was just a reminder that not only will I be learning new material, but a different style is going to be used to teach it to me.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Explaining Occupational Therapy

What is occupational therapy? It is a question I have gotten a hundred times already, and a question I am sure to get hundreds more times. Explaining occupational therapy is probably one of the most frustrating parts of being an occupational therapist. One wants to explain its breadth, but also some specifics and that is not easy to do in an elevator speech. It is also important to explain occupational therapy because it is unknown properly by most and therefore in my opinion often underutilized.

Now taking all of this under consideration what do I actually say. Currently (with my limited knowledge of occupational therapy), my elevator goes something along the lines of:

"Occupational therapy is similar to physical therapy, but instead of working on range of motion we focus on daily living skills. Sometimes we will help someone relearn how to eat after a traumatic event or we can help people living with ADHD work on different techniques to focus."

In all fairness, it is a little dolled up for the internet. I am usually a little less formal. There are still issues to this explanation. First, I feel like I am degrading physical therapy by suggesting that they only focus on range of motion. I know they do a lot more, but I am making generalizations. I also feel like I am missing the community and environmental aspects of occupational therapy. We try to improve the functionality of the environment and community so that everyone can use it to their best potential. However, this is an elevator speech and not a lecture, and often this little blurb will open up more discussion. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them. How do you explain occupational therapy?

Now that I am here in the land of school I am so excited to get started. I went on an outing with a few of the girls in my class. It was nice to get to meet some people beforehand. I got some gossip about the program, such as we have a semi-formal. Who would of thought? It was nice to see the variety of people that came, but there was definitely a lot of similarity between us. It was interesting to hear different people's concerns. Some are already planning Fieldwork II in their head, but that seems so far off to me. One more week and then I will meet everybody. A little disjointed, but hopefully this blog will surely but slowly improve my writing skills.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Moving and Hippotherapy

Still in the process of unpacking. I thought the unpacking would be easier than the packing, but man was I wrong. It is nice though to finally use all the furniture I purchased over the summer. The internet failed to install the first time, but if you are seeing this than it finally worked or I gave in and went to Starbucks. It is amazing how non-enticing my computer is without the internet. It probably is a blessing that the internet did not get installed correctly the first time because I probably focused more on unpacking.

On Sunday, I volunteered at my last hippotherapy session. It was bittersweet. I love the kids and the staff, but to be honest the horses still terrify me a little. There were no words that could say how much I thanked her. I gave her a gift of a puzzle, Target gift coins (that she could use as pirate booty) and buy stuff with, and an activity book that I created with stuff I had found on the internet. She says coming up with new activities is the hardest part. She really seemed to enjoy everything, so it was a spectacular way to end things. While I am going to miss it, I think I am ready to start on my new adventure of occupational therapy school. Speaking of which, I am about to head out to dinner with some girls in the program.