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TODAY news for Thursday, December 14, 2006

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Occupational therapy students help with Healthy Neighborhoods

The team that helped with the occupational therapy booth poses for a photo. Fifth from left is Robin Guice. Standing next to her (sixth from left) is Chantel Harper, a fellow senior MOT student, who coordinated the booth.
The team that helped with the occupational therapy booth poses for a photo. Fifth from left is Robin Guice. Standing next to her (sixth from left) is Chantel Harper, a fellow senior MOT student, who coordinated the booth.
On Sunday, October 8, the Social Action Community (SAC) Health System held its “Healthy Neighborhoods Celebration” fair on the grounds of SAC–Norton, one of its primary clinics.

SAC Health System serves a population federally classified as a medically underserved area (MUA), where the majority of individuals do not qualify for state and federally funded health care, but also cannot afford private health insurance.

Helping out at their own booth at the fair were students from the master of occupational therapy (MOT) program in the School of Allied Health Professions.

The fair was publicized in neighborhoods where there are high rates of school dropout, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, and drug/alcohol impacted births.

Chantel Harper, a senior MOT student, coordinated the occupational therapy (OT) booth.

“At the fair,” relates Ms. Harper, “we met a group of four young boys who all explained that they were fathers, or soon will be.”

Ms. Harper was given the opportunity to promote learning at an early age to these young fathers and fathers-to-be, which could make a life-changing difference for their children.

The OT booth representatives were able to hand out kits, donated by First Five, which give parents ideas of activities they could do to promote learning.

“I kept thinking,” Ms. Harper continues, “that this is so typical of the occupational therapy profession.”

Ms. Harper hoped that parents, by visiting the OT booth, would consider becoming more active in the development of their children.

Robin Guice, a fellow senior MOT student, recently attended a workshop titled “Handwriting without Tears.”

During the health fair, she and other students provided children and their parents with age-appropriate handwriting activities, based on her workshop experience.

Ms. Harper noted a high level of interest among the parents who stopped by the OT booth.

“The added benefit of promoting occupational therapy in the community was awesome,” Ms. Harper says.

By Larry Kidder, MA

TODAY news for Thursday, December 14, 2006