Mary – Online OT Placement (University of Brighton)

Hello everyone, my name is Mary and I am a student Occupational Therapist from University of Brighton!

When I first learned that my last occupational therapy placement was to be remote with bOunceT, initially I was surprised and confused about how this would work…especially since at the services typical therapy sessions involve the use of sensory activities, equipment and a large trampoline – none of which I have access to at home. Nor could I ‘commute’ from one country to another! However, I was soon to learn that even though I am miles away in Eastbourne, I could still get involved with lots of different opportunities (clinical work and projects) with the organisation!

For the most part, I was heavily involved with talking to those parents and carers on the services waiting list (if you remember speaking to someone with a high-pitched American accent chances were, you were probably speaking to me!). I was able to work with the occupational therapy team during our weekly Caseload Chat and Waiting List meeting to learn about new referrals, those already on the waiting list – some who had already had an initial assessment, and others who did not have an assessment or first contact already.

I was given the autonomy and confidence to be able to use MS Teams and an email log in to contact families to conduct my own initial assessments, or follow up calls. With support, I created ‘Intervention Agreements’ that were like a summary of what was discussed between myself and a family, with links to more information about bOunceT’s range of services and other interventions (e.g. OT On Call, Coaching for Parents and Carers).

Also, I was able to learn about some sessions that children and adults with disabilities can access in Stirling, they look like so much fun! I was able to access clinical notes online and other online databases where the staff keep all their files and information.

Soon, I realised that I could still meet all my learning outcomes – and personal learning outcomes – by getting stuck into different work at bOunceT, with different members of the team…despite being in a different country!

Behind the scenes, I was very involved in creating some new content for the Meaningful Moments therapeutic play cards.

These are downloadable and interactive resources that not only give suggestions about different inclusive play activities you can do in different places (e.g. home, school, our therapy room, outdoors…) but the cards also reference the benefits you may get when engaging in these activities. This has been done in a very simple and cool way by using icons to highlight key benefits (from a physical, social and sensory perspective). One of the things I quickly learned was the unique selling point, and value of these resources, from an occupational therapy perspective was the fact they had a section to link what the purpose of doing the activity is; from a functional perspective that will help people in different areas of their daily life.

For instance, take a look at the outdoor activity of Ispy, where one partner picks and describes the features of an object, to their other partner, then the other partner has to guess what it is. Since the activity involves “scanning” or looking around, this same skill could be transferred to other daily tasks, like helping you look around your environment when out and about in the community (e.g. for cars and other people when crossing the street). Another purpose to this play was since the activity involves taking on different ‘roles’, sharing, and turn taking, it could help you be better at learning patience and turn taking skills with others (which is really helpful when trying to meet new people and make friends!).

So, you see my involvement in the creation of these cards was more than just coming up with an activity – it was also figuring out what benefits can participating in this activity lead to as well as finding ways to make the activity easier or harder (what we call ‘grading up and down’ in OT).

I have to admit it is quite a fun, but challenging, task. I appreciate activity analysis a lot more now!

Overall, even though I was behind a screen, I really enjoyed my time working with the bOunceT team. They have so much happening and going on at the moment, between adapting their ways of working to meet COVID restrictions, realising new ways of working to better support families – and of course launching new services and products. I really am excited to see what will be next for bOunceT! 

Thank you all for taking time to read my short blog about my placement experience! Mary 🙂

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