Student and staff experiences and achievements

Celebrating the diverse interests, initiatives and achievements of occupational therapy students, staff and alumni of the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at Southern Cross University.

Work experience at Camp Jabiru in Western Sydney

by Melissa Chapman
Occupational therapy student (2014)

"Each year the call goes out for occupational therapy students to assist at Camp Jabiru. The camp is run by Sensory Gym in Western Sydney and is headed by a fantastic team of paediatric occupational therapists. Children who experience challenges associated with understanding and responding to sensory information attend this camp with the objective of having a typical adventure camp experience. Various supports are provided to enable participation in camp activities. So what does this look like? Activities include launching off a giant swing, soaring through the treetops on a flying fox, balancing precariously on a high ropes course, canoeing down the river, hurling spit-balls at a target, exploring the depth of sensory caves, and much more. This experience has been a great opportunity for me as an occupational therapy student, to develop my knowledge and practice in responding to the sensory needs of children whilst having a ball. I've had the pleasure of attending Camp Jabiru a couple of times and have found the experience invaluable."

Disability support worker in powerchair sports

by Dan Wray
Occupational therapy student (2014)

"My involvement with Queensland power wheelchair sports began as a second-year occupational therapy student working part-time as a disability support worker. Every second Saturday in Brisbane I assisted a teenager and his brother, both of whom use wheeled mobility, in playing a variety of sports (hockey, rugby, soccer and balloon soccer) and participating with other children and adults. Two years later, as I am soon to graduate, I can proudly say that I have been a part of the growth in the sports, in particular the new Gold Coast power chair football competition Powerchair-Football Gold Coast. My roles as a coach, referee and timekeeper have helped shape the occupational therapy student I feel I am today, and the professional therapist I am soon to become. Additionally, the young man I have been involved with since 2012 represented Australia in Rio Di Janeiro, at powerchair football in association with the World Cup. I admire his achievements incredibly, and feel proud to have been involved with his journey. Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association has more information about wheelchair sports in Queensland."

Volunteering at a Red Cross orphanage in Vietnam

by Dan Wray
Occupational therapy student (2014)

Throughout my time in Da Nang, on the South Central Coast of Vietnam, "I worked as a volunteer at a Red Cross orphanage. The orphanage accommodates children from 0 - 14 years of age, including children with disabilities. As a final-year occupational therapy student, I carried out a wide range of tasks. What the children enjoyed most was just to play - which anyone can do! As well as the Red Cross orphanage I spent time elsewhere teaching English to students also without family or whose families were enduring serious economic hardship. I also managed to raise $600 and negotiated with a local builder to build a shelter for one of the orphanages where the children can play outside on a nice day, rather than having to stay inside when it's hot. I cannot speak highly enough of how well I was welcomed and encouraged during my stay. I am forever grateful for my experience in the CSV program in Da Nang. The program urgently needs more volunteers. Visit CGC Volunteers Association. For students thinking of volunteering in children's services overseas it is important to thoroughly check out the organisations and services."

Living a Good Life: Personal support networks

Staff research project (2014)

'Living a Good Life: Personal support networks' is the title of a documentary DVD series that was produced following a five-year ethnographic research study of the personal networks of people with a disability. It was the initiative of Southern Cross University academic staff Michelle Donelly and Louise Whitaker, together with colleagues Anne Hillman, Roger Stancliffe and Trevor Parmenter at University of Sydney and Marie Knox of the Centre for Disability Studies. The DVDs provide first-hand accounts of people with a disability, their families and other personal network members exercising choice and control in their lives. Read more about Living a Good Life...

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