OS/OT Student Blog
A Day with Celebrities →
Nov 21, 2013, by Clarissa
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Life at the USC OS/OT Division has been really eventful and exciting. So many things happening to update you on! It was hard but I am picking the 24th annual Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Symposium at USC occurred a couple of week ago to hone in on today. This year, the symposium focused on research on Sensory Integration (SI), which is a specialty practice area of occupational therapy. SI theory is the manner in which one’s neurological system organizes sensation from the environment for participation in occupations. Dr. Jane Ayres, who was actually a faculty member at USC, developed SI theory!
I’m currently learning about SI in my pediatrics immersion and see it practiced in my fieldwork – it was really great listening to what the big names in SI and pediatrics had to say about it based on their research. Presenters included Drs. Jane Case-Smith who wrote our pediatrics textbook, Lucy Miller who created an assessment tool (Miller Function and Participation Scales) that we learned about in class, my neuroscience professor Barbara Thompson, and the chair of our division Florence Clark. It was so cool seeing and learning from the people whose tools we use in school and practice! It really hit home just how renown the presenters, which included USC faculty, are and how lucky I am to attend such an amazing school where opportunities like these to learn are readily available. Practitioners in the audience were snapping pictures of the panelists – they are celebrities!
Here is my very own paparazzi shot of the presenters and also a photo of me and my fellow student ambassador Kate! I’d take breaks from my part-time job title of “paparazzo” (Yes, I had to Google the singular form of paparazzi) to visit her.
Friends and Tiffany & Co. →
Oct 23, 2013, by Clarissa
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This weekend, I got to share my passion for running with some of my friends in the occupational therapy program. After class last Friday, we packed into a car and drove up to San Francisco for my fourth Nike Women’s Half Marathon.
Sharing the seven-hour drive to and from San Francisco made me realize how much I will miss being around my classmates when the school year is over. The last year and a half has gone by so fast and I can’t believe I only have a little over one semester left to spend with some of the warmest, most supportive, driven, and fun people I know. My classmates inspire me to be a better person all the time, both professionally and personally.
As you can see, one of the reasons I love the program here at USC is because of the people in it – students, staff and faculty. I’ve always had competitive school experiences, and it amazes me how much OTs support one another’s successes. I remember our late night study sessions in the library our first summer here and we still debrief one another about our fieldwork experiences. Through this program, I know I’ve made some lifelong connections and friendships.
Friendship isn’t the only thing that’s forever – so is Tiffany & Co. One of the best things about the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco is that our “medal” for completing the race is a Tiffany’s necklace presented to us on a silver platter by a fireman. Another awesome shared experience to add to the list? I think so. Pictured below are two other USC OTs, Megan and Colette, with me and our fireman!
Oct 18, 2013, by Clarissa
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Last week, I got to spend every day with kids, yay! At USC there’s one full week out of the first three semesters that the students spend at fieldwork and I’m at a school-based pediatric site this semester. I went with my clinical instructor (CI) to several schools for most of each day and then to a clinic for about two treatment sessions before wrapping up. It was really great meeting all the kids that my CI works with, observing her treatments, participating in partial treatments, and also trying out my fine motor toolkit! I practiced documentation too, which wasn’t too stimulating, but I’m still grateful since it’s a necessary part of clinical work.
Anyway, back to the fun stuff! As you read, last week I created a fine motor toolkit and I used it to implement treatments on a few of the kids with fieldwork. My favorite activity was one I call Tennis Ball Monster where I used a tennis ball with a slit cut into it for the mouth and with a face drawn on. I then instructed the child to squeeze the tennis ball so the mouth opens and it can eat pom poms! This is to trick the kid into doing several things on my hidden agenda like hand strengthening, practicing a particular grasp that would eventually help the kid with writing, developing the arches of the hand, and work on thumb opposition which is integral to several types of grasps. Like my pediatrics professor says, “The trick is to outsmart the kid.” Muahaha.
Seriously, though, the creativity is one element of occupational therapy that I love. We’re all motivated in different ways and I love the challenge of tapping into what intrinsically motivates each client.
I don’t know about you, but my fine motor toolkit would be motivating to me, even now! Look at all the animals and colors!
Whirlwind Week →
Oct 4, 2013, by Clarissa
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Oh, what a tornado of a week! We started off with a midterm on Monday for Health Promotion and Wellness, I made and brought in a fine motor toolkit and took a midterm yesterday for Pediatrics, and the write-up for the fine motor toolkit is due midnight tonight! Of course, I miscalculated my exams and assignment due dates and bought tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland the weekend prior to this craziness. It’s my planner’s fault really.
On a positive note, making my fine motor toolkit was such a fun project! I had a great time creating activities with toys and objects to help kids at my fieldwork site develop fine motor skills. I can’t wait to try out my toolkit on them during our full week of fieldwork next week. I also worked at a launch event last week for Interacting with Autism, an online resource with documentary-like videos that invites website visitors to interact with various topics. The launch event was so cool! There were various poster presentations, lectures, and musical performances by the Miracle Group which is a fine arts program for children with autism. I was so impressed with their musical abilities!
All right, it’s time to go back to the grind. The important thing is that that I’m somehow surviving this madness, thanks to caffeine, great study buddies, fun assignments, and epic study breaks. Now, if only those study breaks didn’t include running into my nemesis yet again.
All Work and No Play? No Way! →
Sep 27, 2013, by Clarissa
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I have two midterms and my fine motor toolkit for the pediatrics immersion due next week, so this week has been madness with studying, various extracurriculars, and fieldwork. I enjoy everything I do, though, which at least makes it merry madness.
I’m having a great time at my Level I pediatric fieldwork site. I am currently placed in a school-based setting and see children in various elementary schools throughout the day, as well as in clinic. This week, my clinical instructor reviewed my ideas for my fine motor toolkit and I was mind-blown by how creative pediatric occupational therapists can get with simple, everyday objects. Am I going to become that creative?
It also definitely helps relieve midterm stress when fun is incorporated into our curriculum! Since play is a major occupation for children, we do activity analyses of play to learn about treatment strategies utilizing play as motivation. For us, this means learning while playing! Whoever said classroom time has to be all work and no play?