Community Partnerships & Service Learning

During the second semester of academic coursework, graduate occupational therapy students will engage in the planning and teaching of a 7 week community based service learning experience. They will apply theoretical constructs and frames of reference in the design and implementation of direct occupational therapy service interventions with community partners.  Students will be placed in one of four sections that are serviced via the clinic, which are described below.
 
Pathways to Success
 
Pathways to Success is a program that provide opportunities for people who have experienced a brain injury or with mental health concerns to take classes in an academic environment. For some individuals, this process is a stepping stone to higher education. For others, it is a way to develop improved community living skills. The goal of the program is to promote the acquisition of academic skills and self-confidence, the “pathways” to improved career opportunities and independent living. The 2016 semester classes included “Creating a Healthy Lifestyle” and “Finding a Job: The Basics,” and "Creating, Building, and Restoring Personal Relationships."
 
Transitions
 
Transitions is a program for young adults with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) who are planning to attend college or are interested in pursuing a college education.  Many individuals with ASD are interested in returning and/or entering college but are anxious about transitioning into this unfamiliar role.  Participating in Transitions is a perfect opportunity for these young adults to “test the waters” of entering a college, being on campus, socializing with others, and learning to fulfill course responsibilities with support for time management, study skills, course assignments, group projects and navigating the campus environment.
 
Union Senior Center
 
Kean OT has an exciting collaboration with the Union Senior Center, in which students provide programming for older adults who live at home, and attend “The Monday Club” at the senior center weekly. Students combine the results of thorough research on the needs of this population with a survey given to group members in order to determine which topics to cover throughout the 7 weeks. In the spring 2014 semester, programs included exercise such as chair yoga and Tai Chi, education opportunities in the community, exploring new leisure activities, relaxation techniques, and a tour of Kean’s new OT Clinic.
 
Young Athletes Program
 
Young Athlete Program, a division of the Special Olympics, is a sports program that supports the physical and developmental needs of children with intellectual disabilities, aged 2 ½ to 7 years. It provides an introduction to sports and offers families opportunity to share in the success of their future athlete. The once a week, seven week program is held each spring on the Kean campus. Fun activities will be provided to help foster the development of various fundamental skills, such as jumping, kicking and catching, but will be introduced over an extended period of time to help facilitate learning.  YAP is designed for families to play together so that they can practice the skills at home. Young athletes must participate with a parent or caregiver.