Monday, November 15, 2010
So, I'm on my pediatric fieldwork now and I LOVE IT!
I have an incredible supervisor! She is patient and answers each and every one of my 3 million questions thoroughly. She brings me resources and samples regularly and I'm reviewing and learning from all the material.
The kids have disabilities that range from cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, autism, ADD/ADHD, mild Sensory Processing Disorder, handwriting and developmental delays. What's interesting is that a lot of the time is spent on paperwork, at least more than I expected. My supervisor is very gracious because during that time she takes breaks from paperwork to answer my 3 million questions per day.
My supervisor is awesome about allowing me to experiment, play with, joke with and work with them. I love working with them! One of the kids said to me, "Hi, I'm Boy X. What's your name?" I told him my name is 'Ms. Kim' to which he promptly replied, "What grade are you in?" It took everything in me to keep from laughing. Because I'm 'novel and new' the kids love working me and none of them are shy.
I had the opportunity to sit in on an IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting and it was incredibly interesting! I had to sign the IEP paperwork, as an OTS of course, because everyone present has to be acknowledged. A variety of professionals were present--the psychologist, special education teacher, classroom teacher, case manager, occupational therapist (of course), Speech Language Pathologist-- and the parents were there. I felt that some of the language was a little too technical for the parents and I made a mental note to always remember to speak simply and clearly and explain everything when talking to people who are not occupational therapists. What is simple and common knowledge to me may be technical mumbo-jumbo to someone not in the field.
A lot of our therapy takes place in odd locations due to lack of space, including the hallway, closets, the classroom, backrooms in the library and other super small areas. Each area is distracting and exceptionally visually or aurally stimulating. I don't know how the kids can concentrate, given their occupational needs, and I'm always amazed at the kids' ability to concentrate with so much 'business' going on.
I've noticed that performing standardized assessments can be a bit challenging because the kids don't have the attention span, patience or focus to complete the assessment. So, the evaluations that I've witnessed use creative tools and simple/clever games and tasks.
So far, I love working with small children. I'm still learning how to really analyze their grips, posture, sensory needs or aversions, speech, gross and fine motor skills and a host of other things. I'm really working on being more observant to their abilities and delays.
The other thing that I did in honor of participating in something new every month was visit a talk by a man who was born without arms or legs! Yes, it's true. I went to a church with my classmate and we sat for 30 minutes and listened to Nick Vujicic tell us about Jesus Christ, the Gospel and living nearly 30 years without limbs.
He wrote a book that you can purchase from his website or from Amazon entitled Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life. When we go on break in December, I'm going to purchase this book. I really enjoyed listening to what Nick had to say and I'm looking forward to reading his book.
One of the most interesting things was his wheelchair. He drives it with his 'flippers,' as he calls his feet, and he was very adept at maneuvering through the aisles. Nick was born with a rare disease called Tetra-amelia. From an occupational therapy point of view, he talks as if his daily occupations and functions have not been affected. I can neither confirm nor deny this as I have not evaluated him, obviously, and I choose not to place my own limiting beliefs on him. According to him, he's done tons of things--played golf, surfing, scuba diving, tons of things. You can view pics of all these activities here. And, of course, you can always Google him. Google knows everything...
You can find more information about Nick and his book by clicking here--Lifewithoutlimbs.org.
'Bodark Arc.' Of course, while we were on the tour we didn't get this view. The staff part of the bow is a row of orange trees. The string part of the bow is a beaten down path that turns into a bridge that crosses parts of the pond. The view from one end the tree grove to the other is absolutely incredible! I REALLY wish I had my camera that day.
The 'House Divided' sculpture. This pic shows the 3 entrances, all of which lead to the same area since 1/2 of this structure is cut off by the diagonal wall. If you look closely you can see part of the wall.
So you know I'm committed to trying something new every month. I didn't post what I did in October so here it is! First, I went on an art tour. I don't know if I every mentioned this but my school has the largest outdoor sculpture park in the United States--Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park. Interesting, huh? Well, the last tour was in mid-October, it was free, so I went. I was the youngest person there, which was great. I invited my entire occupational therapy class but no one came :-(
Of course the tour group made all kinds of humorous comments about my youth because the tour was loooong--a little over two hours on foot and we didn't even see everything! I met a gentlemen who was 83 years old! He and I talked the entire time. He was incredibly talkative, open and friendly. I like talking to seniors because they always have something interesting to say.
Anyway, the tour gave me a new appreciation for sculpture and other art forms and I will definitely attend another tour. I wish I had taken pictures because the fall backdrop was absolutely GORGEOUS. The tour guide was excellent and gave an excellent review of each piece of art.
The most interesting part of the tour was the 'House Divided' piece which was a large white building, similar in shape to a barn. You could actually walk inside this piece. As the website describes, "When we step inside we are surprised to find the structure has, in fact, been divided in half, diagonally. Three entries to the outside create an uncomfortable space with no corners. Fully half of the structure has been rendered useless." The artist does not offer an explanation of the piece but rather leaves the interpretation to the viewer.
Our tour guide stated that someone once suggested that since the piece illustrates a complete waste of space with a diagonal wall with no doors to the other side, is titled House Divided, gives reference to Abraham Lincoln and is in Illinois, then one possible meaning could be the incredible amount of talent and skill wasted and lost by slaves who were never allowed to reach their full potential and contribute to society.
Their was an eerie silence as that statement sunk in and of course everyone turned and looked at me since I was the only brown skinned person on the tour. But walking into that piece and feeling and seeing how the space is completely useless and wasted by that diagonal wall really stuck with me.
I really enjoyed the tour. I wish more of my classmates would have experienced it with me.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
DID YOU VOTE TODAY?
The answer HAD BETTER be YES! I got up nice and early this morning to vote. Well, it wasn't quite so nice since it was still DARK outside. It was waaaay before the crack of dawn, the sun was still sleeping. But I performed my American privilege and voted. For me, voting is a pretty serious matter and I do whatever is necessary to get to the polls.
No offense to any American white males out there who may be reading this but I must say this: If you are a minority or a woman and you did not vote you deserve a SPANKING and you should be sorely ASHAMED of yourself. A lot of people busted a lot of sweat and tears for this PRIVILEGE and RESPONSIBILITY and I believe it's disrespectful not to vote. So, you had better have a pretty darn good explanation for not going.
While at the polls and talking to the people checking my paperwork I got a little teary-eyed thinking about the privilege of voting. I'm serious, I was really holding back some tears. I thought about my grandparents who didn't have this privilege when they turned 18, how proud they must have felt the first time they voted and how, amazingly, 75 years ago I would have been spat upon for coming within 15 feet of a polling place.
Voting is simple yet powerful act.
It made me happy and proud to be able to say I voted today.