Some of Alicia Wimmer’s favorite moments from her January Field Period at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Philadelphia are of playing with small children inside their classrooms.
Of course, with occupational therapy, each kind of “play” has a purpose.
For one little boy, moving water between cups helped exercise and strengthen a deformed arm. Manipulating Play-Doh was a common activity for others. And pumping arms and legs on swings inside a therapy room was crucial to calm and focus other children so they would be able to concentrate on schoolwork in class.
But therapy holds a greater challenge when the child working with an occupational therapist is also deaf or hard-of-hearing and relies on ASL (American Sign Language) to communicate.
Recipient of the annual Spiritual Exploration Field Period grant, Brandon Cohen is eager to see, hear, smell, taste and touch everything he can about the diverse offerings of the country of Israel, and the roots tying it to his family.
An occupational science major at Keuka, Cohen will receive $500 towards his January 2011 Field Period trip to Israel with the Birthright Kesher organization. Cohen will travel with approximately 40 other college-age individuals whose mothers are all Jewish – a requirement for participation.
Spiritual Exploration Field Periods can involve work or service in churches, missions, hospitals, or religious organizations that aid the needy, either in the U.S. or overseas; or exploration into a student’s own spirituality. The award is funded by an Institutional Renewal Grant from The Rhodes Consultation on the Future of the Church-Related College.
Beyond just exploring the roots of Judaism, Cohen, of Marlboro, N.J., said he wants to learn about Jews, Muslims, Christians and “how it all connects.”
In American Sign Language (ASL) classes, junior Alicia Wimmer can get away with the occasional whisper or verbal request for a clue about the correct sign to use from those who can also hear and speak.
Come January, the occupational sciences major will be forced to communicate with nothing but signs when she completes a Field Period at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Philadelphia. That’s because nearly everyone at the school, from students to faculty to administrators, will be deaf or hard-of-hearing.
Wimmer was awarded a $2,000 Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Scholarship for her 2011 Field Period, and despite her occasional nerves, she’s looking forward to the “culture shock” likely for this Field Period.
The experiential learning scholarship is named for the late Brown, a member of the Class of 1963 who spent her junior year as a Norton Scholar in Switzerland. It assists students pursuing Field Periods that will surround them with a new cultural experience.
“It’s a different culture I’ll be immersed in for every day for a month,” Wimmer said. “From my understanding, most deaf schools try to aim for deaf instructors for the deaf students, so my primary communication technique is going to be ASL … I’m going to have to crack down and use any means to get across if I don’t know a certain sign.”
In her application essay, Wimmer wrote that while she wasn’t traveling to another country, “I will be entering into an entirely different culture complete with a different set of rules as well as a different language. I will need to adapt to their culture and community since I will become the minority upon entering their environment,” she said.
“It goes both ways,” she explained. “We have stigmas about deaf people and they have stigmas about hearing people.”
Wimmer said she will shadow the occupational therapist at the school to observe the differences in OT techniques for those students who come for assistance in a disability in addition to their hearing impairment(s).
“I want to be able to compare how the deaf OTs are able to do their treatments and how they handle people. I’m assuming it’s going to be similar in that we’ll be doing [various] treatment techniques in terms of their [the students’] functionality in every day life, but it’ll be extremely different because I’ll have to communicate without words,” Wimmer said.
Wimmer said she’s excited to bring back any new therapy techniques she learns to her classmates and instructors on campus.
She’s not sure if she will pursue employment at a deaf school after graduation, but will be paying close attention during this Field Period to see what touch points are shared between occupational therapy and sign language.
“My goal,” said Wimmer, ” is to see if I can someday mesh the two together.”
Ribbons were cut on the doors of three, new occupational therapy (OT) labs Tuesday, Dec. 7, as students, faculty, staff and guests celebrated the grand opening of the state-of-the-art facilities in Hegeman Hall.
Construction of the labs took place in the summer, thanks to funding from the Booth Ferris Foundation ($150,000) and George I. Alden Trust ($43,000). While the open house marked the formal opening, upperclassmen in Keuka’s OT program have been able to use the labs since the start of the fall semester.
Calling for a joint cheer, Carolanne Marquis, chief operating officer and executive vice president cut the first ribbon, followed by junior Emily Conrad, a resident of Geneva, and Carrie Roberts ’03, who serves as an OT at the Keuka Lake School in Penn Yan. (more…)
For students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in health-related fields, state-of-the-art equipment isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity.
Thanks to grants from two foundations, students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in occupational science and master’s degrees in occupational therapy (OT) at Keuka College will make seamless transitions from the College lab to real-world OT settings.
The College received grants from the Booth Ferris Foundation ($150,000) and George I. Alden Trust ($43,000) to develop “a community living skills lab, pediatric play lab, and a clinical skills lab,” said Vicki Smith, professor and chair of OT.
By Jean Wannall, professor of occupational therapy
Each year, the month of April each is set aside as National Occupational Therapy Month. Throughout the month, the OT division and the two OT organizations, Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) and Pi Theta Epsilon (PTE), help sponsor many activities that promote “Living Life to Its Fullest.”
As part of the promotion, senior OT students displayed poster presentations about their Level I Fieldwork experiences to faculty and underclassmen. Each class level completed an assignment relevant to their level of education. This is a great opportunity for the various levels of classes to come together and celebrate the wonderful things that OTs are doing in the field.
Professor of Occupational Therapy (OT) and Natural Sciences Thomas Dickinson died suddenly March 20 at age 49.
A celebration of his life will be held Thursday, March 25 at 2:30 p.m. in Keuka College’s Norton Chapel. A reception will follow in the lower level of Lightner Library.
Dickinson joined the Keuka faculty in 1995, after relocating to the area to finish his Ph.D. studies at Pennsylvania State University. An Eagle Scout, he was a 1978 graduate of Queensbury High School, earned a B.S. degree in 1982 from Syracuse University, and an M.S. degree in 1986 from Barry University in Miami, Fla.
“Dr. Tom Dickinson was a great teacher and mentor,” said President Joseph G. Burke. “He epitomized everything that is great about our Keuka College faculty. He will be deeply missed by our entire faculty, our student body, and the many graduates who had the opportunity to be his students.”
By: Peter Talty, Professor of Occupational Therapy
Problem-Based Learning (PBL) can be an excellent way to engage students in subjects from art history to zoology (A to Z), and just about every discipline in between. PBL was initially implemented in medical schools and has become a mainstay of instruction for schools of nursing, social work, engineering, veterinary medicine, business, law, dentistry, education, and numerous others.
Editor’s Note: This is the inaugural edition of our Fast Class video series, which showcases faculty and staff members discussing their areas of interest and expertise.
Like many college students, sophomore Mary Nicholas has several interests, and she changed her major to reflect those interests.
When the Geneva resident enrolled at Keuka as a psychology major, she wasn’t sure what field of work she wanted to pursue, but she knew she wanted to help people.
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