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  APRIL IS OT MONTH!

Occupational therapists (OTs) working with children strive to optimize a child’s occupational performance. Children span the age range of birth through adolescence. Just think what a variety of occupations you were engaged in during this period of time in your life. Consider how these occupations become increasingly complex during childhood and how they formed an important foundation for the roles you play as an adult today. The primary occupations of children are considered to be:
 

  * Play
  * Activities of Daily Living (feeding, toileting, dressing, grooming, mobility)
  * Learning and school performance
  * Vocation or performance in a workplace      

(Center on Human Development and Disability, Clinical Training Unit, University of Washington. October, 2012)

School-based occupational therapists are part of the educational team, providing services for students, and training caregivers and school staff to facilitate carry-over of skill practice for the young child or student. Occupational therapists also help develop resources for adaptations and modifications and for inclusive practices. 

Occupational therapists and physical therapists in Regions 5 & 7 have collaborated over the past several years, working on strategies to use movement to promote learning readiness and to enhance classroom experiences for all students. We know our littlest ones learn through moving and exploring, but evidence shows movement and learning continues throughout our lives. Check out this video for more interesting information about movement and learning for older students: 

Click here for the movement and learning video

Happy life-long learning from your on-the-go Occupational Therapists, 

Carol, Katie, and Sheila!




An Advantage of Aging in Minnesota

 

By Valorie Arrowsmith

Minnesota is often cited as a good place to live, and here is one more factor that can be added to that positive list.  Public colleges and universities in Minnesota have a special fee category for older learners.  It is called the Senior Citizen Discount, as mandated by the Legislative Statute 135A.52.  A resident, aged 62 and older, may enroll for college credit courses at a reduced fee.  In the case of the Anoka Ramsey Community College, the fee is $20 per credit, with the addition of $17.50 in administrative fees. At the University of Minnesota, the cost, even at the graduate level, is $10 per credit, with no administrative fees assessed. 

A reason to bring this to the attention of the community is that a recent story from the “New York Times” printed in the “Star Tribune” on December 28, 2014 (Ellin, p. A10), reported about how Baby Boomers are choosing, electing, guiding, and participating in their retirement care.  Researchers say that increasing age does not preclude creative growth (Sasser-Coen, 1993) and Baby Boomers are among those who are insisting on a creative retirement.

One feature of the story talked about the college-based retirement communities in which residents must take 450 hours of classes during a calendar year to qualify to live in the senior living establishment. There are about two dozen such university and retirement home relationships in the country.  The idea of continuing education for older populations is not that far removed from the Nordic folk high school model founded by Danish theologian N.S.F. Grundtvig, or of the thousands and thousands of study circles found in Sweden, a place of heritage and cultural connections for many people in the region.

Supply and demand may be at work here.  Baby Boomers are demanding more control over aging. Concurrent with such initiatives, researchers who specialize on aging and creativity say that it is important to be open to experiences in order to be considered creative.  This openness to experiences has proven to be a major predictor of divergent thinking, everyday creative activities, and achievements (Silvia, et al., 2009).  Certainly a college class would invite students to be open to new ideas, and provide opportunities for divergent thinking.  Mental stimulation would also be fostered.



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