“Improving Pediatric Occupational Therapy in China” is the fifth IPP sending multidisciplinary teams from Pacific University to China. In the past, IPP groups have worked on implementing changes in the orphanages at a microsystem level of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory. The microsystem level gave this IPP project a good head start, however, many suggestions have been difficult to implement, as there is a lack of skilled knowledge in regards to disability and pediatrics in the orphanages. This year, we spent time re- conceptualizing and reevaluating how to create a more sustainable and impactful change. The new goal is to view this project from more of an exosystem level; a level that takes into consideration a more global view point. At this level, we will be focusing our efforts more globally by making a change at the educational level (those who provide support to the children in the orphanages) rather than attempting to implement changes directly in the orphanage. Our vision is to create a pediatric certification program for occupational therapists in China who have a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation. This will allow an opportunity for therapists in China to further their education within the pediatric population.
Recently, Pacific has created a partnership with Sichuan University. Together, the goal is to develop a certificate program for currently practicing occupational therapists in China to specialize in pediatrics in order to serve those with disabilities. The first step in providing this certification program is to write a grant to support the funds and necessary resources required. Short-term goals to support our grant writing process included collaborating with team members and faculty advisor, Sandra Rogers, PhD, OTR/L, on completing the Logic Model to guide the researchers in understanding the direction needed for the grant writing process, completing a white paper in order to prepare future China team members to begin the grant writing process and the creation and implementation of the certification program.
The proposed certification program would include online training with a focus in specialized pediatrics courses, as well as at least one two-week internships at an orphanage for children with disabilities. The certification program would include online courses such as: Early Intervention in Pediatric Practice, Issues in Autism Evaluation and Treatment, Assistive Technology, Motor Control and Motor Learning Principles and Intervention, Treatment & Evaluation of Pediatric Feeding Issues, Pediatric Evaluation, Advanced Pediatric Issues and Trends, Seating & Positioning in Pediatric Practice, and Sensory Integration Treatment and Evaluation (refer to the White Paper for a detailed description of the curriculum). Additionally, the certification may include in-class lectures 5 from professors from Sichuan University, Pacific University, and possibly Hong Kong Polytech.
These short-term goals will lead to therapists recognizing the need for occupational therapy or rehabilitation therapy in orphanages. Implementing this orphanage internship experience would create a model for all orphanages in China to hire at least one full-time therapist per orphanage. The ultimate long-term goal is to improve disability awareness in children with disabilities in China and improving the services that they receive. This project serves as an opportunity for students to provide education on acquired skills and knowledge and a chance to learn and become more culturally diverse and globally competent as future occupational therapy practitioners.
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