News and Notes

OT student doing research with child


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News and Notes …

National board exam pass rate 100 percent … again 

For the second consecutive year, all occupational therapy students who earned a degree from UW–Madison and took their national board examination passed on their first attempt. 

The OT Program at UW–Madison is certified by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association. Graduates of the UW program become certified occupational therapists upon successful completion of the national certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). 

MOVE workshop opens eyes 

The Occupational Therapy Program hosted therapists and teachers from throughout the state Feb. 28 to March 1 for a two-day MOVE workshop at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery on the UW–Madison campus. 

MOVE —or Mobility Opportunities Via Education/ Experience —is designed to promote independence for children and adults with motor disabilities. The MOVE curriculum aligns well with occupational therapy ideals that there has to be a purpose, or meaningfulness, to what someone does, says Associate Professor Elizabeth Larson. She has coordinated the effort and led a local initiative to raise awareness of MOVE after experiencing first-hand the power of the program. 

“I first learned about MOVE when I was hired to work as a consultant to the program in several classrooms in Los Angeles,” Larson says of work she started more than a decade ago. “Children in this program left their wheelchairs outside the classroom and practiced sitting, standing and walking throughout their school day. I observed the power of this intensive and purposeful practice. One six-year-old girl we worked with went from frequently being curled in a fetal position, to climbing stairs and sitting for bathing and dressing. This was a huge help to her mother in her everyday life.” 

In the fall of 2012, Larson was invited to present a talk on the MOVE curriculum to the occupational and physical therapists of the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD). Due to interest generated among MMSD’s therapists, they began a work group to study the curriculum and evidence supporting MOVE. That work led into last winter’s MOVE workshop, and the Madison schools are planning to start a pilot MOVE project with preschoolers. 

Schneider nets national recognition 

Mary Schneider, a UW–Madison professor emerita of kinesiology (OT) and psychology, was honored with the 2013 Virginia Scardina Award of Excellence from the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. 

The award recognizes a clinician who has developed sustained commitment, excellence, and/or innovation in sensory integration and brain-behavior relationships in the practice of occupational therapy. It was presented at the 93rd Annual American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Conference in San Diego on April 27, 2013. 

Also in April, Schneider was honored with the UW– Madison School of Education’s 2013 Excellence in Diversity Award. This award honors school faculty and staff who have made significant contributions to campus climate toward building a diverse and equitable School of Education. 

In the words of her nominator, Associate Professor Ruth Benedict: “Dr. Schneider is clearly a champion of diversity efforts within the School of Education and has demonstrated excellence in the recruitment, training, and retention of faculty, staff and students. If we all embraced her vision of a ‘diverse, global and interconnected’ world it would truly be a world of peace and acceptance.” 

Building global bridges 

It’s more than 7,400 miles from Madison and takes a full day of plane travel, but the ties between Taiwan and the UW–Madison Occupational Therapy Program have been growing — strengthened by graduate students from Taiwan and a visit by UW–Madison faculty. 

In November 2012, Associate Professor Elizabeth Larson traveled to Taiwan to give the keynote lecture and a day-long workshop at the 30th Annual Conference of the Taiwan Occupational Therapy Association. 

She also presented a series of lectures and seminars to students and faculty at National Cheng-Kung University. 

Larson stressed that the trip was a learning experience for her, too. 

“It was very interesting to learn about how occupational therapists are trained and practice in Taiwan,” she says. “The models of service delivery and reimbursement for services differ from the U.S. models. OT services have typically been delivered in hospital or clinic settings and paid for by public health care services. There is a very strong drive by occupational therapists in Taiwan to move to more community-based services. This was a dominant theme in our discussions about practice and how it could change.” 

To attempt to bridge any cultural gaps, Larson employed the assistance of several UW–Madison graduate students in preparing her talk. Ruby Chen and Cara Chen translated all the slides; and Vanessa Eisch allowed Larson to use a video case study of a client to illustrate the use of occupation-based practice with an individual recovering from a stroke. 

“It’s interesting to see how ideas we teach here translate or don’t translate across cultures,” says Larson. “Ruby and Cara helped me to understand some of the differences between the U.S. and Taiwan. In some cases they really had to work to find a word that meant the same thing. For example, I used Dr. Pierce’s word ‘mind shift’ to describe a the shift in thinking to occupation-based practice, there was no equivalent word for this idea.” 

To better illustrate how this might look, Larson used video case studies. “I thought that Vanessa’s video clearly showed how even in a hospital setting you can use activities meaningful to the client,” says Larson, whose talk was published in the Journal of the Taiwan Occupational Therapy Association in June 2013. 

As UW–Madison and its School of Education have supported increasing efforts for global connections, the UW–Madison’s OT Program is exploring partnerships with occupational therapy faculty at universities in Taiwan. 

Bartling, Ausderau co-author cover story for July 8 OT Practice magazine

The cover story of the July 8 OT Practice magazine was co-authored by UW–Madison’s Katie Bartling and Karla Ausderau. 

Bartling is a second-year occupational therapy student in the MS-OT program, while Ausderau is an assistant professor with the Department of Kinesiology’s Occupational Therapy Program. 

The article, “When it’s okay to play with your food: Providing sensory experiences around mealtime for children with gastrostomy tubes,” examines how families can incorporate children with gastrostomy tubes into mealtime routines, and provides helpful suggestions about providing sensory experiences with food to assist in readiness to transition to oral eating. 

• In addition, associate professors Ruth Benedict and Elizabeth Larson, faculty members with the Occupational Therapy Program, were featured in the April 22, 2013 issue of OT Practice magazine for a story headlined, “The Power to Empower: Occupational Therapy’s Many Roles in Supporting Families of Children with Physical Disabilities.” 

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