Support OT Students' Work in Romania
Sacred Heart University graduate occupational therapy students will be traveling to Romania from October 12-19 , 2019 to participate in a service learning trip. Here, OT students will provide services to children with disabilities in Romania, while also learning about the growth and development of the profession of occupational therapy in that country. Services for individuals with disabilities are limited in Romania and occupational therapy, as a profession, is relatively new. The students who travel to Romania will provide services to children with neuromuscular disorders and those with autism. These services will occur in two settings, a hospital and in a day center for autism. SHU students will also have the opportunity to work alongside Romanian occupational therapy students and staff, Romanian parents of children with disabilities, and the first president of the Romanian occupational therapy association.
This service program will specifically highlight the importance of play for all children, including those with disabilities. Service in Romania focuses very strongly on movement and skill, with little emphasis on play. Play is important for all children and working with items, such as switch access electronic toys, that can be activated without much motor ability. Students will work with and train the staff on site to use the toys and materials to promote play as well as motor function.
The OT students participating in this transformative service learning experience are volunteering their time, but also must fund their own travel expenses. The total out of pocket cost for the group is $6,000, which presents a significant burden. Every dollar donated through this campaign will directly offset the travel expenses for these students and help provide funding for toys and equipment that will be brought to the two facilities. Should the campaign exceed goal, all funds will be held in reserve for a future OT service learning project.
We hope that alumni, family, and friends will consider supporting this dedicated group of SHU Occupational Therapy students and allow them to make a difference in the lives of Romanian children with disabilities.
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ABOUT THE OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PROGRAM AT SACRED HEART
Founded in 2000, Sacred Heart University’s Graduate Occupational Therapy Program was the first in Connecticut to meet the Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education’s (ACOTE) requirement that all entry-level occupational therapy education programs award a post baccalaureate degree. The occupational therapy program is housed within the College of Health Professions along with physical therapy, speech-language pathology, athletic training, exercise science, healthcare informatics, and physician assistant studies graduate programs. Sacred Heart University is Connecticut’s only university that offers educational programs in occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology; the three core rehabilitation professions considered critical to restoration of patient’s functioning. Occupational Therapy participates with the other College of Health Profession’s programs and the College of Nursing to provide students with distinctive interprofessional learning opportunities that replicate the treatment team.