OT students lead presentations on pedestrian and bus safety
Dec. 16, 2013 - The occupational therapy program is on a mission to help kids be safe and have fun doing it. In September, more than a dozen occupational therapy students led presentations on pedestrian and bus safety.
"In the field of occupational therapy, we work with persons after they've had an injury, illness or when they have a disability," said Tracy Van Oss, clinical associate professor of occupational therapy in the School of Health Sciences. "But we also work with people of all ages for health promotion and to prevent injury in the first place."
On Sept. 27, the Student Occupational Therapy Association led an interactive workshop for three- and four-year-olds at St. Aedan-St. Brendan Catholic School in New Haven. The OT students explained how to safely ride the school bus and reviewed safety precautions for walking and riding in the car.
"It was very interactive," said Claire Marren, a sophomore occupational therapy major from Brick, N.J., who helped lead the workshop. "We had pictures, stickers, coloring pages and a short movie. The kids seemed really engaged."
On Sept. 28, OT students attended Yale Youth Day, a yearly event for children in the New Haven area to play sports with student-athletes and coaches. The OT students talked with the kids and their parents.
"Throughout the morning we handed out pamphlets, coloring books, and provided other information about keeping kids safe when they are crossing the street, what to do when they see a strange dog, and other tips for staying safe," said Alexandra Delayo, junior OT major from Cranford, N.J.
"Many of the children at this event were from the New Haven area and walk to school every day, so the information was really useful to the population," said senior Kerrin Walsh of Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
The programs are part of the initiatives by Safe Kids Greater New Haven, a branch of the international non-profit dedicated to helping to curb preventable injuries among children under age 14.
"It's a benefit to get the OT students involved in these programs," said Van Oss. "Eventually, when they graduate and are practicing in their own communities, I hope they will not just work as a therapist but also give back by educating people on how to prevent injuries. Being part of these programs helps the Quinnipiac OT students learn the wellness piece. We target youth to teach them safety so that we don't end up treating them for injuries."
"As a student, I think that service opportunities that bring you out into the community to apply your learning are the most beneficial experiences," said Walsh.