Working with children with disabilities in China in order to benefit therapeutic outcomes and also teach and train therapists and caregivers has been a yearly project for Pacific University staff and students since 2008.
Since 2009 the project has grown and continues to develop. In 2010 a Pacific team of OT and PT professors spent five days at the (Third Military Hospital) TMH and two days at the Social Welfare Institute (SWI) providing trainings. The first visit by recently graduated OT students, a current PT student and a special education professor, along the OT and PT professors, was made in 2011; this group spent five days at TMH and five days at SWI.
This year, 2012, saw the first visit made by current OT students and, because the team had grown so large, it was split into two travelling groups. Pacific’s first group, which included two OT students, and OT and special education professors, travelled in the spring, spending five days at TMH providing staff trainings through hands-on observational and didactic teaching, and five days at SWI, providing further training to caregivers and therapists. Pacific’s second team will travel in July 2012 and will follow-up on trainings and information provided in the spring, as well as making in-roads to establish an early childhood degree curriculum. Both teams worked together to create teaching material, such as a feeding and positioning poster for infants with cleft palate, and gather donations of toys and dress-up clothes for children at SWI.
Although the size and level of detail has developed from the original 2009 visit, the overall goal of the project remains the same, and that is to continue to provide collaboration, education, training and support to caregivers at SWI and TMH in order to increase children’s educational, physical, cognitive and social outcomes. Although much work has been completed and progress made by Pacific’s team and by our partners in China, there is still progress to be made and new avenues explore. It is with this understanding and spirit that Pacific, with our partners in China, will continue to meet yearly and cultivate the project to support children with disabilities.
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