Day 20

Thursday

Today was brilliant, we didn’t do anything out of the ordinary but it was a great day for my learning. Although, it has dawned on me today how much I miss having an occupational therapist supervisor with whom I can reflect on my observations, particularly of analysis of motor and process skills and motivations for occupation. At least I have this blog, and I suppose it encourages me to think a little for myself.

We began the day with a craft exercise that I had devised. It involved each person drawing around their hands on a foam sheet of ‘paper’. They then cut out the hand prints and joined them together with a paper ‘double concertina’. The whole task was quite challenging as it required lots of bilateral movement and use of the non-dominant hand to draw the second hand print. I found it fascinating to watch – every young adult seemed to find or part of the task easy and another more difficult, but there was no uniformity in which part of the task was hardest for them. Some I expected to need lots of help to make the concertina, but after a quick demonstration they picked it up straightaway. Others needed continuous reassurance for that part but were easily able to draw their handprints and assemble the final item. With everyone a forward chaining learning process seemed to work, some liked to watch me demonstrate on my ‘one I prepared earlier’ and then replicate independently, whereas other preferred to have some assistance to start each part of the task before completing it themselves. As I say, it was fascinating, but I did have a moment of just wanting a more experienced occupational therapist there watching so that I could discuss all that I was trying to analyse.

The second part of the day was a slightly surreal leaving party for me. Although I have a week left on placement a lot of the young adults will not be in attendance after today, due to the bus driver’s holiday that I mentioned previously. I was given my final report/letter about my placement as my supervisor is also on holiday next week. It was lovely to read, but in some ways I was surprised that things like having good communication and being knowledgeable were praised, as I’ve wondered about the level to which my skills have crossed language and cultural barriers.

The group activity this afternoon was a drawing teamwork game. Everyone started with a blank piece of paper and began a design. We had music playing and when the music stopped we passed it to the person on the right who added their design (this worked well until we had a power-cut!). Eventually each person ended up with their own picture back, but with the contributions of 19 other people. I was very touched to be given everybody’s drawing as a leaving gift while they kept the one I had begun as a memory of my time with them. Definitely a *goosebumps* moment as each person presented me with their picture and shook my hand.

My supervisor and I then made some plans for tomorrow’s small group. We want to do some work on personal hygiene and so I suggested making a poster about each person’s morning self-care routine. Finally, I’m managing to incorporate some occupations other than leisure and education (productivity).

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