85 days of OT placement

I thought there was going to be 100 days of OT placement and if somebody had told me at the beginning why there would only be 85, I would have never believed them. Unfortunately, I had to fly home to say goodbye to my Nan. My family are being so strong through all of this and I am so proud of every single one of them. This situation is one of the most difficult in our lives and all we can do is be together and support each other and my Grandad.

This is my reflective blog for my growth and development as an OT student and therefore I must explain how the past 3 months has changed me personally, as a student and as a professional. I have overcome challenges and barriers and been able to learn new therapeutic skills and build effective inter-professional relationships. Even my placement changing from 100 to just 85 days has shown me how to adapt whens needs must and my effective record keeping has made this process as smooth as it can be.

All in all, I am proud of myself and glad that I have achieved what I did on my final placement. A lot of it was made possible because of the support of my wonderful peer and friend, Sarah (she wouldn’t mind me telling you her name now), every challenge she helped, discussed and reflected with me and we overcame together. Every success with the children came because of effective practice with our team and every laugh came from the friendship we built over the three months.

If I was to have this time again, I may have planned my time differently to ensure I was always holistic. I think I assessed holistically and planned for holistic interventions but when it came to doing the interventions I focused on things that I saw as a priority. Did the children see these things as a priority as well? In some cases yes, in other cases I am not so sure. It is something I have evaluated on in my case study and something I will be aware of in my future practice. I think because of the short duration of the school day and length of the placement it was not realistic to achieve all of the children’s goals in 3 months but now I am in the process of writing a handover report that explains my recommendations for the children I have been working with. I am hoping that long term, with the recommendations made, their goals can be achieved.

I thank my educator, my friend Sarah, all of the staff team at school, my family, my boyfriend and everybody at Cardiff University that made this experience so fantastic. Without it, I wouldn’t have become the person I now am or the OT that I am going to become.

This blog has had more than 700 views over these past 3 months from all over the world and I thank everybody that has read, given me feedback and shared the journey with me now it has come to an end.

Day 85… (its the final countdown)

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That’s it, the final two weeks has begun, there still seems to be some much to do. I think its because all the different things I have started need closing or summarising or evaluating.

My case study is going well so far. I have nearly finished putting in all the content, I just need to add in a reflection at the end on my strengths and areas for development for my work with this particular child. I also need to add in the results of the Conner’s teachers rating scale. At the start of my intervention with this child, I asked their LSA to complete the scale so I could use it as an outcome measure, this week I will ask their LSA to complete it again and evaluate any differences in the score.

I have been playing with prezi.com today to put together the presentation for my case study. It is such good fun and more interactive than PowerPoint slides, I definitely recommend trying it.

Anyway, time for a break I think from the computer and I will return later tonight or tomorrow. No good for my ergonomics sitting on my plastic garden/computer chair all day.

NOTE TO FAMILY: So nice to hear you all together at home and so great to have more good news. Could be a very special Christmas yet!!

References

www.prezi.com

Day 84…

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Finished compiling our report for clinical skills today and a really nice ‘sensory diet strategies’ worksheet. I feel very tired now. The time here is coming to an end now, it sunk in today when I went to see the Erasmus coordinator to have the ‘certificate of attendance,’ signed and completed.

We have our case study presentations on Wednesday so my aim this weekend to have that complete. Although these case studies can be quite intricate, I find they really help consolidate everything you have done with a service user and it helps you to justify your clinical reasoning.

NOTE TO FAMILY: 84, that number is significant to a certain special someone. MRI results could not have been better today, now we are on a road to recovery! You are as strong as ever Nan! Love you.

Day 83… (OTNews & dyspraxia)

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Part of my plant looks dusty, dull and brown, whereas the other side is growing something completely new. I can relate that to my own development, I feel tired a lot of the time and on occasions it is difficult being away from my family (dusty, dull brown leaf), on the other hand, everyday I am learning something new, the things I already had knowledge on I am developing and new strategies and techniques are coming into use all the time (growing green stems). I feel like my observation skills have changed and now I know what to look out for, especially with children: posture, tone, speech, communication, play preferences, sensory preferences, ideation, relationship with others (teachers, parents, classmates), coordination, self  care skills, occupational preferences…. and so much more! At first it was difficult but know noticing all of these things feels natural.

This afternoon I have been editing a dyspraxia factsheet my peer put together, it is very detailed and very interesting. We found so new information we thought would be relevant to include so I agreed to make the changes. I used a lot of information from Dyspraxia Foundation (2008) please have a look at this resource of strategies for the classroom it was very helpful.

Even more exciting, I have been included in this months OTNews. There is a short quote on something I said about placement and an explanation of the activity we did for OT week. See page 17, very proud moment!!

NOTE TO FAMILY: Every problems offers new possibilities for something wonderful to happen.

Reference:

Dyspraxia Foundation (2008) Dyspraxia – Classroom Guidelines. Available at: <http://dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/services/ed_classroom_guidelines.php&gt; [Accessed: 06.12.12]

Day 81…

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Today I wrote a final to do list until the end of placement, this includes returning my cutlery and packing my suitcase. This list has 41 items on it. It is going to be a busy 2.5 weeks.

This evening I have ticked off 3 items from my list, this included lots of reading and research, now I feel very tired, off for an early night.

NOTE TO FAMILY: Nobody could write a story of what it has been like to be in our family this week, I just everybody is on the mend now. Wish I could be closer to you, but just 41 activities left to do and I will be! Stay strong, remember to eat lots of food!

Day 80…

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So thats it, the final 20 days in my practical training to become an OT, am I ready? Has there been enough? Will I find a job? All the questions I am sure a lot of final year students are asking. All I know is, this placement has been a challenge, a positive challenge, this placement has made me grow, develop and expand and gain more new knowledge to support me to develop as an OT.

One part of my OT journey today was taking a creativity class with my peer. We completed a treasure hunt with the pre-prep children. Our clinical reasoning behind this was:

1. Practicing letter recognition – current scope for this weeks curriculum.

2. Team working – working together is a skill that can be challenging, playing team games is a good way to help children to develop this skill in a fun, non-obvious way.

3. Processing skills – the children needed to listen to the clue, take in the information, process it and use it to find the treasure/ next clue.

4. Stereogenesis – the children had to find the treasure inside the ball pool in the sensory motor room, therefore they had to search through the ball pool, until they found something that felt different (interpret different texture, size, shape).

The treasure hunt was a fun way to explore lots of new. I had lots of fun myself! Would highly recommend it!

NOTE TO FAMILY: More good news again, very happy! Cannot wait to be home and hug you all!

Day 79… (feeding back to parents)

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I feel I achieved  a lot in school today, one situation I feel is important to reflect upon is when myself and my peer fedback the results of the movement ABC to a parent.

We completed the Movement ABC with X on Thursday. X LSA has informed me that X mother wanted to know the results of the assessment as soon as possible. We were introduced to Mum by X LSA after school and invited her to have a seat in a quiet area at the school. Firstly, we discussed our role within school and what an OT is, then explained what the Movement ABC is and its purpose. Then we came to explain each area of the assessment and then X. I felt we explained clearly and we were able to clarify things one another was saying (me & my peer), the mum asked some questions and on occasion’s we answered and I felt answered well. On other occasions in which we did not know the answer to a question, we informed X mother that we did not know but would try to find out ASAP. Overall, I feel this discussion went well.

X mother asked questions such as ‘how does poor balance impact him in the rest of his life?’ I thought this was a really pro-active question and good for the mother to ask how a difficulty may impact his occupations. I was not expecting X mother to ask questions like as it seems more like a question we, as OTs, would ask a parent. However, it is great to know parents  are being pro-active and we were able to answer her question. We advised her that balance may impact activities such as dressing, bike riding and P.E.

Another question asked was, if we knew the reason behind the results of the movement ABC for X, for example, ‘Was it due to neurological difficulties or dyspraxia?’ We were unable to answer this question and tried to explain that the Movement ABC was an assessment tool only and would not give us a diagnosis.

Afterwards, I thought about this and I wondered why it was important to find out a diagnosis for X coordination difficulties. Then I tried to put myself in X mothers shoes and compared it to the situation with my Nan. I then realised, when somebody you love is unwell or requires extra support, all you want to do is know what is ‘wrong’ so that can enable you to understand how to help them and start making a plan. The interim time can be quite tiring and exhaustive, because not knowing brings with it an element of feeling as if there is no progress.

NOTE TO FAMILY: Communication has not been as effective as it has been previously today, but, we are still making steady progress. I wish I was at home with you all but only 3 weeks more now. Send my love and hugs to Nan and Grandad. Love you xx