News & Events
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Congratulations to Kean OT's 3 Minute Thesis Winners!
The OT department swept the Kean University 3-Minute Thesis Competition on April 25th! Eric Gingsburg took home the People's Choice award, Monica Franklin was runner-up, and Teressa Cali won with her presentation on health perceptions of older adults in the community. Congratulations to all! Go OT!
2017 AOTA Annual Conference and Centennial Celebration
From Thursday March 30th through Sunday April 2nd, Kean OT students, faculty, and alumni came together to attend the 2017 American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) national conference and to celebrate the 100th year of OT as a profession. Check out the pictures below of the Kean OT family enjoying, learning, and presenting at this year's conference!
Celebrating 100 years of OT at the Kean Alumni Reception with past and current students.
Dr. Knis-Matthews with Kean Alumni Danielle, Marlee, and Katie at poster resentations.
1st and 2nd year students excitedly awaiting the start of the opening ceremony. Time to celebrate!
Dr. Jennifer Gardner and Kean alumni presenting their research on the sensory preferences of wellness center members.
Geraldine Pagaoa, Thais Petrocelli, Dr. Knis-Matthews and 2nd year students present on the clinic's academic fieldwork program.
Dr. Claire Mulry and students Mark and Alex presenting their research on community mobility for older adults.
First year students Chrissy, Olivia, and Feby meeting Michael Iwama, the creator of the Kawa Model!
Dr. Mariann Moran presenting research on comparing a goniometer with an app on a smart phone.
Thais Petrocelli, Academic Fieldwork Coordinator presenting on
"Starting a Successful Fieldwork Program in an Academic Community-Based Clinical Setting"
Older Adult Prom
On Saturday, October 29th, the Kean University Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) held their first annual Older Adult Prom. It was a fun filled day of adaptive games, crafts, adaptive equipment trivia, and of course food and dancing! SOTA was so excited to collaborate with community partners to run this event and looks forward to hosting another prom next year!
Program Information Session
An information session for prospective students will be held on Monday, November 14, 2016 at 5:00PM on Kean University's East Campus (215 North Avenue in Hillside, NJ). Room location TBA.
SOTA Advocates for OT and Walks for BIANJ
On Satuday, September 24th members of Kean's Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) attended the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey's (BIANJ) Walk for Brain Injury Awareness at Saddle River County Park in Paramus. SOTA members spent the morning speaking about the value of OT and how it can impact individuals with brain injury. They then joined the rest of the community in a walk to spread awareness for brain injury. SOTA raised nearly $1000 for this walk, with the proceeds benefiting individuals and families affected by brain injury. Go SOTA!
Clinic's Paint Possibilities Class Featured in Union News Daily
On April 26th, the OT clinic hosted an adaptive painting class for individuals living with a brain injury. The class was created by our OT students and modeled after the popular Paint Nite and Sip and Paint classes. Paint Possibilities was taught by a graduate Fine Arts student while our OT students provided a variety of verbal, visual, auditory, and physical adaptations for participants as needed. Thank you to Elana Knopp for writing such a wonderful article in Union News Daily. Check it out here: http://unionnewsdaily.com/uncategorized/24217
SOTA Hosts BFF Breakfast for Families of Children with Autism
On Saturday April 23rd, Kean OT students and members of our Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) participated in the annual Breakfast for Families event. Families living with loved ones with Autism were invited to have breakfast and hear a lecture by our wonderful guest speaker, Elizabeth Duffy, OTR. The children participated in fun games and activities facilitated by our student volunteers. What a way to celebrate OT month!
7th Annual Kean University Young Athletes Day!
On Sunday, April 17th, the Department of Occupational Therapy hosted the 7th Annual Young Athletes Event at Harwood Arena on behalf of Special Olympics New Jersey. Over 50 families and young athletes enjoyed the sport and play program with the help of 175 Kean student volunteers! Check out some photos below of some athletes enjoying the day and our OT student volunteers. These photos were captured by our Kean student photographer, Melissa Mercado.
For more pictures, see this link, courtesy of Special Olympics NJ.
Community Partnerships & Service Learning: Spring 2016 Courses
Every spring semester, our first-year OT students participate in a program called Community Partnerships and Service Learning in which they are tasked with implementing occupational therapy interventions for community partners under the supervision of licensed and/or credential professionals. Several courses for various populations are being offered this spring. Check out the flyer below or click here for information on each class.
Clinic Summer Camp Featured in NJ People & Families Magazine
This past summer, the Kean Community Cares Clinic hosted a "Steps to Your Future" summer camp for teens with Autism. The camp provided a 3-day college immersion experience to give participants a glimpse of college life. The teens slept in the Kean dorms, attended classes, did their own laundry, and cooked their own meals, all under the supervision of liscensed occupational therapy faculty. Each camper was paired with a Kean OT student to help him/her learn everyday skills and become more independent. The camp was featured in NJ People & Families Magzine's Fall 2015 issue. Check out the article here!
Intensive Therapeutics' Monday Night Bowling with NY Giants
On Monday, November 2nd, Kean OT students joined NY Giants players in volunteering at Intensive Therapeutics' 6th Annual Monday Night Bowling fundraiser. The event, hosted by Giants Linebacker J.T. Thomas, was held to raise money for a playground at Intensive Therapeutics' new location in West Caldwell.
Intensive Therapeutics is a 501 (c) (3), non-profit, charitable organization that provides group and individual occupational therapy services to children with autism and hemiplegia. The organization was established in 2005 to address the needs of families who wanted individualized services by licensed professionals in a non-medical environment. Scott Matthews, founder and executive director of Intensive Therapeutics, is a Kean University alumnus.
Hill Day 2015
On September 28, 2015, Professor Mariann Moran accompanied our occupational therapy students to AOTA Capitol Hill Day in Washington D.C., where occupational therapists from around the country united to advocate and lobby for their profession. The goal of this annual event is to ensure that policies support therapists' practice as well as client access to services. This year, AOTA asked participants to focus on OT's unique role in the healthcare system, its distinct role in the mental health field and the need to be included in mental health legislature, and enhancing the importance of rehabilitation research at the NIH. Kean University's occupational therapy students had the opportunity to participate in this advocacy event. Our Kean University OT students are shown below with the AOTA president, Dr. Virginia Stoffel and outside of the Capitol.
OT Students Rock the Research Day Competition!
As a part of Kean Research Day 2015 this past April 2015, 2nd year Occupational Therapy students participated in the Three Minute Thesis competition in which they presented their yearlong research projects to the Kean University community. The OT students won three awards during this tournament-style competition. Leanne Suero earned 1st place, Leora Ohevshalom took 2nd place, and Theodora Church was awarded the People’s Choice Award. Research Day 2015 was a great success for the OT department and wonderful means to advocate for the OT profession.
OT Department Hosts 5th Annual CarFit Event
The Department of Occupational Therapy hosted its 5th annual CarFit event on Wednesday, June 10th 2015 at the Nathan Weiss Graduate College. CarFit is a fun, free, and educational event that gives mature drivers the opportunity to fit the safest, and most comfortable "fit" for their vehicle. The event was coordinated by OT department professors Dr. Jennifer Gardner, Dr. Claire Mulry, and Dr. Mariann Moran. 31 Kean OT students became certified CarFit technicians.
OT Clinic & Program Highlighted in Cover Story for ADVANCE
The April 2015 edition of ADVANCE for Occupational Therapy Practitioners, a well-known OT magazine, featured a cover story on our Kean University Occupational Therapy Community Cares Clinic and OT program here at Kean. The cover story presents student and faculty perspectives on the benefits of the clinic, how and why the clinic was developed, the clinic's mission on fulfilling the needs of the community, and how the clinic is integrated into the coursework of the students here at Kean. The article can be located by clicking here.
SOTA: Funded Group of the Year
The 1st place title of "Funded Group of the Year" was awarded to the Student Occupational Therapy Association!
Kean OT faculty, students and alumni traveled to Nashville, TN to present at and enjoy this year's AOTA conference. Several students also had the opportunity to meet occupational therapists, Winnie Dunn and Linda Kohlman!
SOTA Hosts BFF Breakfast for Families of Children with Autism
The Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) recently hosted their annual BFF breakfast at Kean, inviting families of children with Autism to come and enjoy a delicious breakfast while also meeting and learning from other families. The student volunteers arranges several fun activities for the children, while parents listened to guest speaker Kerry Magro, an acclaimed speaker, author, and Autism advocate. You can read about Kerry's experience at Kean and watch a short video clip of his speech by clicking this link!
OT Clinic & Department in the News
Three second year students, Danielle, Leanne and Alyssa, created a video to spread awareness about different populations that occupational therapists work with, including people who are homeless. This project was a part of their Administration, Supervision and Advocacy class, where students learn about the importance of advocating for clients and our profession. Check out their short video below!
OT Department students and friends are invited to attend an exciting workshop entitled "Sensory Enhanced Yoga for Self Regulation and Trauma Healing". This workshop is geared towards OTs and other allied health and mental health professionals. No yoga experience necessary! Please see the flyer for more details.
Congratulations Scholarship Recipients!
Six students in the Occupational Therapy Program received the Karen Stern Memorial Scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year. Pictured with Dr. Jennifer Gardner (far left) are the lucky recipients: Danna Lyons, Naomi Cohen, Ruth Ma, Zuzanna Dabek, Gonzalo Garcia, and Leora Ohevshalom. Congratulations to all of the scholarship winners and keep up the great work!
OT Department Hosts Continuing Education Course:
"Practices in a Complimentary and Alternative Medicine Within Rehabilitation Services"
Therapists from as far as Pennsylvania and OT students from Kean, Columbia, and Rutgers OTA program attended “Practices in a Complementary and Alternative Medicine within Rehabilitation Services” a continuing education course hosted by Kean University. This course presented the evidence behind the effectiveness of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Yoga, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Tai chi/qigong and NIA to decrease in physical and psychological symptoms, increase ability to relax, reduce pain and enhance ability to cope with chronic pain, improve cognitive functioning, improve self-esteem and ability to cope more effectively with short and long term stressful situations, and assist our innate healing capacity. Participants experience each of these modalities and left with the basic knowledge to apply these approaches into their treatment practice. Above, participants involved with a NIA session.
OT Department at the Cougar Color 5K
We had a fantastic turnout, including many SOTA members, at the Cougar Color 5K on Sunday, October 19th! The proceeds of this fun event will go towards graudate scholarships and research in health sciences, education, and other fields represented in the Nathan Weiss Graduate College. We even tied with the Speech Language Pathology department for 1st place in the Cougar Cup, an award given to the group with the most runners and volunteers. Congratulations to everyone who participated!
SOTA Students Participate in AOTA's "Hill Day"
On September 15th, 2014 members of the Student Occupational Therapy Association and Dr. Mariann Moran traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the American Occupational Therapy Association's annual "Hill day." This day gave Kean students the opportunity to advocate for the profession of occupational therapy alongside other occupational therapy students, clinicians, and educators. The "Hill Day" participants met with state lawmakers, offered solutions, asked questions, and listened to guest speakers all in the spirit of advocating for the profession.
SOTA students with Dr. Virginia Stoffel, President of AOTA
Geraldine Pagaoa Named Clinic Director
Geraldine Pagaoa, an adjunct professor for the Occupational Therapy Department at Kean since 2006, has recently been appointed director of the Kean Community Cares Clinic. "We are fortunate to have someone with Geraldine Pagaoa's level of expertise lead the new OT clinic," said Dr. Jeffrey P. Beck, Dean of Kean's Nathan Weiss Graduate College. "In addition to having a great background in the field, Geri has the dual advantage of being very familiar with Kean and the local community, all quite strong assets for our program going forward." To read more about this exciting news for the OT Department and clinic, follow these links.
Kessler Foundation and KUOT Team Up!
Dr. Claire Mulry with OT students, Alisha, Natanya, KF researcher Peii Chen PhD,Tarah, Leora and Melissa, along with Eun-Wha Jeong an OT from Konkuk University Medical Center in Korea
TraveLearn: Exploring Global Healthcare in China
In late May, a group of 11 graduate and undergraduate students studying Occupational Therapy, Nursing, Speech Therapy, Health Administration, Psychology and Counseling, led by Dr. Claire Mulry, assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, and Dr. Kathleen Neville of the Nursing Department visited China. The 10 day trip, spanning Beijing, Wenzhou, and Shanghai, was a part of a three credit graduate elective course that explored global healthcare and interprofessional learning. While in China, the group was able to gather and share information in various healthcare settings including community clinics, large hospitals, schools for children with special needs and Kean's sister university, Wenzhou Kean. Dr. Mulry and Dr. Neville each had the opportunity to speak to their medical peers about their practice areas, which offered all parties a chance to exchange insights regarding healthcare from both countries. During the visit, students and faculty were also able to visit sights such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Pearl Tower, and were hosted to a special dinner by the president of Wenzhou Kean.
The Only University Occupational Therapy Clinic in the Tri-State Area
The recent completion of renovations to Kean University’s Nathan Weiss Graduate College included the creation of the Kean Community Cares clinic. This clinic, the only university occupational therapy clinic in the tri-state area, will provide occupational therapy services to residents of all ages in Union, Essex, and Hudson counties. The provision of these services by Kean Community Cares will foster a relationship between Kean University and local residents by meeting the community’s health and wellness needs while contributing to the academic and experiential learning of Kean University’s Occupational Therapy Program students. To learn more about the creation of Kean Community Cares and the services that will be provided, please read the full article featured by New Jersey Business. Additional information about the clinic can also be found by opening the “Kean Cares Clinic” tab located to the right of this page.
Occupational Therapy Department Chairperson, Dr. Laurie Knis-Matthews with third-year occupational therapy students (picture from NJB article)
CarFit Hosted Once Again at Kean University!
SOTA Event: BFF Breakfast for Families of Children with Autism
Dr. Mariann Moran Wins Award
Kean OT Students Achieve AOTA Gold Membership
Industrial Design and Occupational Therapy Collaboration
Global Healthcare TraveLearn to China
SOTA Featured in TOWER Newspaper
Kean University Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) was recently featured in an article for the Kean TOWER Newspaper, highlighting their recent donations to PAR FORE. Be sure to check out the full article here!
ACOTE ACCREDITATION & REPORT
Volunteers Needed! Young Athletes Program (YAP) a division of the Special Olympics
Enter your design for the 2014 Maddak Awards
Held in conjunction with the upcoming AOTA conference in Baltimore, MD, the Maddak Awards invite Occupational Therapists and students to submit products they have invented or adapted to assist people in participating in their meaningful occupations. Cash prizes are awarded for 1st-3rd place in each category (professionals and students), as well as a special People's Choice Award. Entries will be judged by a panel of volunteer OT professionals. For full details and instructions on how to submit your design, visit the Maddak Awards website. If you are planning to attend the AOTA conference be sure to check out the winners of this exciting award!
SOTA Featured in The Cougar's Byte
Best Jobs in Health Care 2014
Forbes recently ranked Occupational Therapy as on their list of "Best Jobs in Health Care" for 2014. Please follow the link to access the entire list, and to see where OT has been placed!
Brandon Meyers Monday Night Bowling Benefiting Everyday Kids with Special Needs
New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association 39th Annual Conference
Walk Now for Autism Speaks!
On Sunday, October 20, 2013, over 30 members of the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) of Kean University gathered to participate in the Walk Now for Autism Speaks fundraiser. The 2 mile walk, which took place at the beautiful Nomahegan Park in Cranford, NJ, helped to raise funds for Autism spectrum disorder research, as well as to promote awareness of this condition. The members of the SOTA team walking for Kean University raised over $2,000! Thank you to all of those who participated in the walk and contributed to this great event!
Kean University SOTA volunteers at Nomahegan Park
To view more pictures from the event, please click here!
Kean Students Participate in AOTA's Capitol Hill Day 2013
Twenty three (23) Kean University Occupational Therapy Students and faculty attended the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) 2013 Hill Day in Washington, D.C., on September 30, 2013. More than 700 politically active occupational therapy practitioners and occupational therapy students from across the United States descended on Capitol Hill to make their voices heard during the profession’s annual advocacy event. Energized by record setting participation levels, practitioners from across the country highlighted the profession’s most pressing legislative priorities, including eliminating the Medicare Outpatient Therapy Cap and educating Congress on the role of occupational therapy in mental and behavioral health.
“Attending Capitol Hill Day with my fellow classmates and professors was truly a rewarding experience. Not only were we surrounded by 750 other passionate occupational therapy students, practitioners and AOTA board members, but were also able to help shape the occupational therapy profession for decades to come through our advocacy,” said Zuzanna Dabek, a Kean University occupational therapy student. "I am incredibly proud to be a part of the Kean University Occupational Therapy program and plan to continually use the leadership and advocacy skills KUOT has instilled in me."
Highlights of the conference for Kean University OT students were meetings with Congressman Albio Sires (NJ 8), Congressman Donald M. Payne Jr.( NJ 10), Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ 7), Congressman Scott Garett (NJ 5), Congressman Rush Holt ( NJ 12) as well as legislative aides to Senators Menendez and Gillibrand and Representatives Frelinghuysen (NJ 11), Smith (NJ 4), Pallone (NJ 6) and Pascrell (NJ 9) to discuss eliminating the therapy cap (S. 367/HR. 713), occupational therapy’s role in mental health practice (HR. 1037), supporting rehabilitation research (S. 1027), and funding for special education.
To read more about this trip, please visit our full featured article on Kean XChange!
Kean University Occupational Therapy Students Walk for Thought
SOTA Kick Off Carnival Supports Embrace Kids Foundation
Photo 1. Zuzanna Dabek, Alana Jogan, Dr. Mariann Moran OTR CHT, Dr. Mary Falzarano OTR, and Michael Moran, Photo 2. Pie throwing, Photo 3. The DeRiggi Family, 4. Caitlyn Gall and Beatrice Alexis
Check out our new Occupational Therapy Clinic coming soon to Kean!
Occupational Therapy: Career Boosted by Affordable Care Act
CarFit Event at Kean University
Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges
The Department of Occupational Therapy would like to congratulate Occupational Therapy students Angel Andujar, Kimberly Baglieri, Christopher Curcio, Kayla Den Bleyker and Jennifer Long for their achievement of the Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges 2013 award. This very prestigious honor is presented to faculty nominated students whom demonstrate participation and leadership within school organization and extracurricular activities, community involvement, future leadership ability and/or potential, and a high GPA. Once again, congratulations to Angel, Kimberly, Chistropher, Kayla, and Jennifer on their national recognition of outstanding achievement!
Kean Hosts the Special Olympics New Jersey Young Athletes Program!
Occupational Therapy in Top 10 of 2013 Best Healthcare Jobs!
An Act of Kindness
KU Scholarship Recognition Ceremony
KU Occupational Therapy Department Sweeps Awards at the NJOTA Conference 2012
Susan Paradise, Educational Specialist for JFK Center for Head Injuries, will be presenting "Brain Injury in Students" at Kean University on Thursday, November 1, 2012. This event is a great opportunity to gain knowledge related to both Traumatic Brain Injury and pediatrics.
Second Annual New Jersey Disability Pride Parade and Celebration
Friday, October 5, 2012 in Trenton, NJ. This will be a great community service opportunity.
Special Olympics Young Athlete Program
The Department of Occupational Therapy would like to recognize Professor Claire Mulry's contribution to the field of occupational therapy. On November 19th she presented at the JFK Professional Development Series. Over 60 occupational and physical therapists were in attendance. Click here for additional information.
TherapyEd NBCOT Prep Course
"Networking for the Centennial Vision"
Kean University - Union, NJ
October 1 and 2, 2011
NJOTA Conference - photos by Millie Gonzalez
"On Saturday, August 20, 2011, JFK Medical Center and Kean University’s Department of Occupational Therapy collaborated to host a CarFit Technician Training and CarFit Event. CarFit is a free, fun and educational event that offers older adults to be “fitted” to their vehicles. Community resources and education are also provided to meet the national health objective of decreased injuries to older persons. Twenty-one volunteers were trained as CarFit Technicians by Professors Claire Mulry and Jennifer Gardner and CarFit Instructor Susie Touchinsky from Genesis Rehab. Ten graduate occupational therapy students from Kean University and five occupational therapists from JFK Medical Center were trained as Technicians, as well as representatives from AARP and the local community. CarFit attendees left with increased understanding of their personal vehicles, driver safety, community resources and occupational therapy" (Jennifer Gardner).
CarFit Event, 2011
April 14-17, 2011
Over 40 students and faculty members attended the AOTA annual national conference on April 14-17, 2011.
Department of Occupational Therapy Exemplifies OT Month
The Department of Occupational Therapy (OT) at Kean University received two awards at the 2011 American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Annual Conference held April 13-17, in Philadelphia. In addition, several of Kean’s OT faculty partnered with former graduate students to present research posters.
AOTA conference 2011
The first award was the “You Are the Future Award” for increasing awareness of occupational therapy through the Youth Athletes Program (YAP) offered on campus last month for the second year in a row (see story above). A program of New Jersey Special Olympics, YAP is geared toward children 2 ½ to 7 years old who have intellectual disabilities. As a result of volunteering for this event, Kean students from various departments engaged in a real-world experience working with the children and their families while learning about collaboration and about each other’s profession.
The second award was one by the graduate students. They received the silver level “Membership Circle Award” because more than 85 percent of Kean’s graduate students joined AOTA’s national association; a demonstration of their increased professionalism and commitment to their chosen field.
Faculty and staff from the occupational therapy department were further represented at the AOTA conference when Drs. Laurie Knis-Matthews and Mary Falzarano presented a poster, Peer Teaching: The experience of four occupational therapy graduate students. In addition, Falzarano and former graduate student Chrissy McCormick, M.S., OTR, presented a poster, Defining Professionalism:
Voices of Pediatric Occupational Therapists. Associate professor Jennifer Gardner and former graduate students Kelly Lawless, Anthony Castronovo and Megan Hess also presented a poster, titled Wellness Recovery Action Plan and Sensory Modulation: Wrapping “Sense” Around Recovery.
Special Olympics-Young Athlete Program: April 18, 2011
On November 22, the first year students were privileged to have Carleen, representing the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) come speak to them about her experience living with mental illness. Carleen represented NAMI NJ's program called In Our Own Voice which empowers mental health consumers to tell their stories in an effort to decrease the stigma of mental illness. Carleen courageously shared some of her personal coping strategies, support systems and future goals. She also provided the students with specific suggestions for them to incorporate in their future careers as occuaptional therapists. Learning about Carleen's life story helped the students see the real-life person behind their textbook examples. The students left the lecture inspired by the idea that there is no limit to any person's achievements and success. For more information about In Our Own Voice, please contact Jill Zwick at 732.571.2136 or IOOV@naminj.org.
Maria Perez was awarded the New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association (NJOTA) award, honoring the contribution of a non-occupational therapist to the profession of occupational therapy. Assistant Professor Mary Falzarano and student, Penina Kroll,were in attendance when Mariann Moran, OTD, CHT, a Kean alumnus and the current president of NJOTA, presented the certificate to Maria.
Mariann Moran, OTD, CHT teaches the Splinting, Orthotics & Prosthesis course, and recently hosted the second year students for a fieldtrip at her hand therapy clinic, Accelerated Hand Therapy. The students received a detailed tour of the clinic, the modalities and machines, and then completed case studies in which they had to determine which modalities were appropriate for each diagnoses. The students were able to try out the various modalities on each other such as paraffin, fluidotherapy, and ultrasound. Mariann and another OT certified in advanced modalities, administered the TENS electrotherapy and neuromuscular electrical stimulation so the students could better understand their clinical value.
Richard Stockton University
Students and faculty members attended the NJOTA annual state conference on October 23-24, 2010, hosted by Richard Stockton University. The 2 day event offered educational and dynamic lectures, workshops and presentations on a variety of occupational therapy topics. Kean University graduate occupational therapy students and professors participated in the presentations as well. Jennifer Gardner, MS, OTR/L, Assistant Professor in the department of Occupational Therapy, presented a poster titled, "WRAP and Sensory Modulation: Client-Centered Tools for Recovery," with Kean University occupational therapy students, Anthony Castronova and Kelly Lawless.
Mary Falzarano, PhD, OTR, Assistant Professor in the department of occupational therapy presented a workshop entitled, “Design for Dwarfism: Interdisciplinary Collaboration with Occupational Therapy, Interior Design and Industrial Design” with Kean University faculty and staff, Manual Divino, M.Arch. Interior Design, Assistant Professor, Matt Johnson, MID, IDSA, Industrial Design, Adjunct Professor, and Maria Perez, Director of the Center for Professional Development.
Over 75 Occupational Therapists and mental health professionals from across the tri-state area were privileged to attend a dynamic lecturepresented by Tina Champagne M.Ed., OTR/L, the OT program director at the Institute for Dynamic Living. Ms. Champagne is also the chair for the AOTA Mental Health Special Interest Section. Held on March 16, 2010, the Occupational Therapists of the Mental Health Partnerships of New Jersey and the Metropolitan New York District hosted their 4th annual one-day Mental Health Workshop, titled: Weaving Sensory and Trauma-informed Care Approaches in Therapeutic Practice. The conference committeeacknowledges Kean University for graciously hosting the event.
Special Olympics-Young Athlete Program
Kean University’s Department of Occupational Therapy (OT), in collaboration with the special education, therapeutic recreation and physical education departments, hosted the Special Olympics New Jersey Young Athletes Program (YAP) to introduce children with intellectual disabilities to the world of sports on April 18. More than 140 young athletes, their families and Kean University volunteers gathered in the Harwood Arena for the inaugural event. Among the special guests was Mayor Chris Bollwage of Elizabeth, N.J., who welcomed the attendees, and Kean’s Cougar mascot, who interacted with the young athletes. The YAP is designed for children ages 2 ½ to 7, and serves as the foundation for play, fun and future participation in the Special Olympics program for people ages 8 and older.
Kean students, faculty and staff assisted the young athletes and their families to navigate eight sports activities targeting specific basic gross motor and visual-perceptual motor skills necessary as a foundation for the child’s main occupation – play. Children learned how to control their movements to participate and play sports, as well as how to follow directions. True to its intended form, the YAP at Kean focused on and applauded the young athlete’s specific abilities and aimed to provide activities that the young athletes could do at home with their siblings and parents.
“Our students demonstrated such genuine concern and professional understanding that the young athletes and their families were comfortable with the individualized adaptation of each activity,” said Mary Falzarano, assistant professor of OT and chair of Kean’s YAP committee. “And the school spirit abound as volunteers arrived on campus Sunday morning donning Kean gear, enthusiasm and professionalism in their chosen field of study.”
“Overall, the YAP program was truly a success, not only for the young athletes, but for all of the students who volunteered,” said Penina Kroll, community service chair of the university’s Student Occupational Therapy Association who helped bring the YAP program to Kean. “In preparing and running this program, students from various disciplines worked together and learned from one another on how best to accommodate these young athletes.”
On October 8, 2009, the Occupational Therapy department participated in the university-wide Awareness Festival. The department ran an eye-catching booth on Cougar walk promoting both the OT program at Kean and the profession of Occupational Therapy. The theme of the booth, “Tools for the Adventure of Your Life” demonstrated some of the “tools of the trade” employed by Occupational Therapists. Information was presented to prospective students on the role of OTs in the rehabilitation process, generating much interest in joining the field of Occupational Therapy.
On Wednesday November 4, 2009, Kean University’s Department of Occupational Therapy welcomed Dr. Rebecca Dutton as a guest lecturer for the program’s first year graduate occupational therapy (OT) students as a part of the Foundations of Occupational Therapy course. Dr. Dutton is an occupational therapist who specialized in stroke rehabilitation and holds a doctorate in Educational Psychology. She has recently authored the book, “My Last Degree: A Therapist Goes Home After A stroke”. She was a professor of Physical Disabilities at Kean University foreleven years. Dr. Dutton suffered a stroke 5 and one half years ago and during her lecture she shared her personal journey of her return to meaningful everyday living. Throughout her lecture, she explained how the art and science of occupational therapy can positively impact the life of a stroke survivor. In doing so, she imparted her occupational therapy knowledge, experience as a stroke survivor and wisdom to the students, future occupational therapists.
Dr. Dutton infused both her expertise and a warm sense of humor to explain her first-hand experience of surviving a stroke and how she coped with its aftermath. She impressed upon the students how important it was for her to stay in her own home and the realities she faced in order to achieve a functional and safe level of independence. She shared specific strategies she used to function throughout her day: The Backwards Rule, Cheating Safely, Memory Aids and Small movements that make the hemiplegic hand functional. Dr. Dutton stressed that as an OT we may be able to assist a person with a stroke to develop movement in the affected arm and hand. The stroke survivor may then be able to incorporate the affected hand into daily tasks leading to an increase in participation and independence in functional activities. Dr. Dutton’s lecture provided the students with a unique perspective on life after a stroke as well as serving to inspire the future OT’s to make the most of their activity analysis of the person, occupation and manipulation of the environment in order to improve a stroke survivor’s ability and quality of life. Through presentation of real examples and personal stories, the students gained a deeper understanding of how a stroke can affect every aspect of one’s life, and the integral role that an OT can play in the recovery process.
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