State Fair OTA Students Develop New Device for CHS Aquatic Therapy
Since 2012, the Center for Human Services (CHS) has teamed up with State Fair Community College (SFCC) to provide Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in their field by assisting with the aquatics therapy classes. Courtney Boyle, Alyssa Wienberg, and Carly Eades are the students assigned to CHS this year. The trio is graduating from SFCC in December and will sit for their boards in February 2019.
The Missouri Health Professions Consortium OTA one-plus-one program combines general education, professional-level coursework, laboratory practice, and clinical fieldwork. The 80 credit hour program prepares students to practice as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant after meeting certification and state licensure standards.
Each year, students assisting with CHS must come up with a project that aims to benefits the clients they serve through therapy. When discussing the project Alyssa shared, “We wanted to come up with something that would get the clients involved. We wanted to create something new and interactive.”
The group created an interactive floating therapy game board, inspired by Pinterest, which focuses on developing a variety of skills. Carly added, “We wanted something that focused on hand-eye coordination, balance, range of motion, trunk control, and stability. This allows us to have a fun alternative to the therapy sessions we have been providing, but still focuses on the core aspects that traditional therapy aims to accomplish.”
The game board is constructed out of PVC pipe and pool noodles, allowing it to float in the water. The board is paired with a basket of light weight balls of assorted colors. The simplicity and universal function of the board allows for games like tic tac toe, cognitive color coding, directional motor function, and more. “I really didn’t realize how much of a role water can play in the therapy process until we began this project,” Alyssa stated.
Courtney also added, “Aquatics gives you a different look at alternative therapy options. It opened my eyes to different potential treatment options for a variety of clientele and rehabilitation needs.”
The OTA students are returning to classes in the fall and have finished their two-month stint with the CHS, but the project is still being utilized. Janet Proctor, Aquatics Coordinator for CHS, stated that the tool has been an excellent addition to therapy sessions. She shared, “The game board has been used already with both adults and children. They enjoy it and have fun, but it also assists them with concentrating on the task at hand.”